The Bible says that Jesus came to his own, but his own did not receive him. He suffered rejection from the point of birth where boys were being killed to his last breath. Matthew 27:46 were the words of Jesus on the cross. In the painful moment, the question was not why he had to go through that pain. We do understand that in life, we go through difficult times. Though every difficult moment seems new to us, causing us to behave as if it is our first experience. The pain of Christ was not his focus on the cross, but worse than the pain was the rejection not only by men but also by his Father. He lamented on this since His only source of comfort at that moment was withdrawn.
Rejection has been the order of the day today. Unfortunately, no rejection has ever been easy to handle. It comes in various forms. For instance, we have parents who reject some children on the ground of their financial capacity. Those with much money are valued while others are set aside. A family friend shared this experience with the mother. When her children visited, she could give a bag of foodstuff to only one child who gave her more money while others could leave empty-handed. I have interacted with adults, both men and women, who were hurting because of such treatment. They did everything to try to win the approval of their parents to no avail, even at old age. Despite some having good families and living good lives, the past rejections hurt so much that they could not function normally.
Rejection also takes another shape in relationships. It is very painful to suffer rejection from a spouse or someone you are dating. Such rejection builds a stronghold in our lives such that it becomes difficult to trust anymore. The worst of this rejection comes especially from things that are beyond our ability to change. In the case of finances, we can always work hard to grow our financial lives. We can always advance education and interact with people at the same level of thinking. But, issues like our heights, background, deformed bodies etc., are beyond us. At times someone wakes up with their mood swings and confess not to love us any more or at times on the grounds of comparison. Whether it is happening for the first or tenth time, rejection is fresh and painful. There is nothing like you have now gotten used to rejection, and don’t fear it anymore. In fact, the more it happens, the more you become non-comital. Other forms of rejection include not getting a job, a friend that suddenly blindsides you with betrayal, a child who turns her back on your love etc.
There is no doubt that rejection causes an acute kind of suffering. It cuts lingering wounds that can splinter in many directions. It lodges itself deep into the memory, altering the way we see ourselves, others, situations, even God. Rejection attacks the very person that we are. It destroys our self-esteem and attacks who we are and our purpose in life. It is why it is one of the most common tools the devil will use to destroy a person’s life. Yet, God never wanted us to feel rejected or abandoned (Psalm 94:14).
On the contrary, he desires for you to know who you are and realise how deeply He loves, accepts, and appreciates you so that you can live out the fullness of what all he has ordained you to be. God’s Word tells us that without being rooted and grounded in the love and acceptance of God, we cannot experience the fullness of God in our lives (Ephesians 1:6, 8; Ephesians 3:17-9). It is because God made each of us with the innate desire to be loved and accepted as we are. Unconditional acceptance means so much to all human beings regardless of age.
People are seeking platforms where others can accept their thoughts and ideas. Social media has built and destroyed in equal measure the lives of many. Our social media platforms are at times full of what Socrates will call philosophers. In the context of marriage, Socrates said, by all means, marry. If you get a good spouse, you become happy; if you get a bad one, you become a philosopher. Many have become philosophers due to bad relationships, and social media is the place to spit all negativity. Many have suffered pain and rejection, yet we are trying to find consolation from them. What message do you expect to hear from them? All men or women are like that (wicked things done to you). Such individuals have glorified wickedness to the point that it is celebrated. Even in Christian social media platforms where you hope to heal, sharing your pains leads to more pain than relief. How can we tear down the walls of our tendency to repeatedly feel rejected and get rid of it for good? True, people will go on acting in unkind ways in this fallen world. But how do we disengage, for good, from being overly bothered by it? It is the question many should ask since rejection will be part of our lives until we leave earth.
SOLUTIONS TO REJECTION
The solutions offered range from Biblical to psychology. However, since we focus on developing Biblical content, we shall limit our solution to the Bible.
We shall discuss this based on the following guidelines:
1. Accept that rejection is part of life
2. Base your identity on God’s Word
3. Choose to please God in that circumstance
4. Don’t give in to people’s demands
5. Extend God’s love and acceptance to others
ACCEPT THAT REJECTION IS PART OF LIFE
I have come to appreciate that looking at the broader picture of life helps us expect anything and not limit our minds to what we always want. We have many examples in the Bible we can refer to of people who went through rejection. We have characters like Joseph (Genesis 37:12-36), David (1Samuel 29:6-7), Jesus (1Peter 2:4), Paul (Acts 18:1-6), and others in the scriptures who identify with us. Rejection is not a modern thing but very ancient. These individuals show us that our response to such issues matters more than the problem itself. Accepting is part of healing the journey. It is one thing for people to reject you and another to live in that denial of rejection. Denial of that fact keeps you fighting to be in a place you are not wanted and prolongs healing. It is important to accept and keep pursuing God’s purpose for you. Engage your mind and heart in pursuing the will of God.
BASE YOUR IDENTITY ON GOD’S WORD
God has a lot to say to you in his Word. He says that “You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise. (Psalm 139:2) I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31) For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27) In me, you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28) For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28) I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12) I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I knitted you together in your mother’s womb; (Psalm 139:13) and brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) I am not distant and angry but am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16) And I desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1) Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1) I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11) For I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48).”
CHOOSE TO PLEASE GOD
Many times we develop resentment and end up hating the people who hurt us. Joseph did not see his rejection as human initiated but saw God’s plan in that experience (Genesis 50:20). Some after they prosper, it becomes a platform to prove a point and inhumanly treats others. David could have put Saul’s army and family into a difficult and painful experience (1 Samuel 24:1-22). Still, instead, he remained very kind and gave out everything that belonged to Saul to his grandchild Mephibosheth (2Samuel 9:6-7). Jesus forgave and reunited with his disciples after deserting him on the cross (John 20:19-23). He did not hold any grudge, and we are called to act similarly—purpose to honour God even in rejection.
DON’T GIVE IN TO PEOPLE’S DEMANDS
Many have been tempted to do evil things so that they don’t suffer rejection. Some of your friends might pressure you into the ungodly way of life. It could be running away from your marriage, ending that relationship, avenging yourself and so on. Remain assertive in such situations and stand for what is truthful and admirable. What honours God might dishonour them or even be undesirable to people or even fail to appeal to you as an individual, but then there lies a decision on whom to pledge your allegiance. Stand on the principles of God’s Word, seek restoration with those who left you. They may learn from you and live to treat others well, but if you reject them in return, you may deny God an opportunity to glorify himself (Genesis 50:20).
EXTEND GOD’S LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE
It is one thing to be treated the way we wouldn’t love and another to treat others well. God desires that you love and accept people unconditional as he does with us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Therefore, don’t take people through the painful path you have walked. Instead, treat people as you would have loved to be treated (Matthew 22:39). If issues hold you back from showing kindness, ask God to come through and help (Ephesians 4:32).
Rejection is real and a tough thing to handle. However, we can overcome this as we seek to please God ad to abide by his Word. We choose who to define us and who to follow. Resolve to honour God in every circumstance. Treat humanity with God as God loved humanity and even sent his own Son to save us.