Rejection. No one likes it. In fact, we go to great lengths to avoid it. I remember standing in the cafeteria in high school waiting for the first bell to ring. Everyone had someone to talk to. Except me. My friends were absent from school. I felt alone. Like a reject. I wanted to cower in a corner, huddle in a ball and be invisible. But, I wasn’t even rejected, except in my mind.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Isaiah 53:3 (NIV)
Christ knew rejection. I think about all the ways I’ve rejected Christ. Not now of course. Before. Long ago. Except. What about last week. When I tossed and turned in bed trying to solve a problem that was out of my control. Choosing instead to wrap my fist around the illusion of control. Or when I made an excuse that was mostly true but not completely.
And that’s rejecting him. He is God. My Maker. Competent. Qualified. Ready and willing to comfort and strengthen me through whatever trial I’m facing.
Instead, I say, “No. It’s okay Jesus. I don’t exactly trust you to handle this. I’d better take care of it.” Me. A created being. Turning down the help and guidance of my Creator.
While I rejected Christ—he loved me.
I hate rejection. When I perceive you may reject me, I will withdrawal from you, so you can’t hurt me. But Jesus? His arms remain extended, never folded, closed in self protection.
He gives us an example to follow.
- Christ knew his identity was secure.
So he withstood rejection—to the point of death. When I know my value and worth squarely land in my identity as a child of God, I can open my arms in love, knowing nothing any human says or does will change that.
You can call me a chair as long as you want and it won’t offend me, because I know I’m not a chair. In the same way, you can insult or ignore me and I can remain unoffended because I know I’m loved and I matter. Those things you say—they aren’t true.
- Christ recognized the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.
“John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. (Acts 1:5,8)
Baptized means to be drenched, soaking wet. Does my life look like I’m drenched with the Holy Spirit? I’m not sure you can be drenched with the Holy Spirit until you let go of what others think of you.
I can risk rejection because I am never alone. The Holy Spirit is helping me, guiding me and loving me so I am full to overflow to those around me regardless of their opinion of me.
When I look back at the high school cafeteria I can re-frame it with the truth.
Everyone was most likely caught up in their own conversations, concerns, and even insecurities to even notice or care about what I was doing. Even if someone saw me standing there alone and thought I was a loser, it wouldn’t make me a loser.
Truth dispels shame.
Can you think of a time you felt rejected? How can you re-frame that experience to reflect truth?