At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 2 Timothy 4:16 (NASB)
Rejection comes in all different forms. A person can be rejected for a job, for a date, for a friend and even rejected as a parent and spouse. I have been on both sides of rejection, refusing to admit someone into my heart and life and I have also been rejected. Quite honestly, there were times I really didn't care that I was spurned. I simply picked up and went on in life. Then there were the other times...the times that I thought I would collapse in a heap from the pain. The times when it seemed my spirit was wounded beyond repair and my heart seemed to have been ripped from my chest and ground under foot.
The rejection that seems to hurt the most is the one that comes from a person in whom we have placed value and meaning. I wonder if there is anything more painful than being rejected in that way.
I have had a rash of counselee's who have been rejected by their husbands. Several of the women have husbands who have left them for someone else. Some of the men left because they did not like how Christianity changed their wives. The women are no longer interested in saying and doing the things they did pre-regeneration. I can relate to this, for my first husband did the same thing. I was deeply hurt by his treatment, and even more devastated when he actually left.
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, for your Creator will be your husband. The LORD Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:4-8 (NLT)
I found great comfort in this Psalm and while the Psalm is not being used in context, the words were a soothing balm to my soul during those very dark days. I claimed the Lord as my Husband and placed my trust in Him to care for me and my two young sons. I knew God had not abandoned me, His Word tell me He will never forsake His own (Heb. 13:5) so I placed my confidence in that truth.
I also learned though a study of the Scriptures that I was not alone in being rejected, that better followers of Christ than I had also experienced abandonment. Even Jesus was rejected by those He came to serve.
He (Jesus) was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3 (NASB)
And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. Mark 8:31-32 (NASB) (also see Luke 17:25)
No one is exempt from rejection or abandonment. It is a result of the curse of fallen mankind. It seems that we are doomed to be cruel to one another in this life because of what took place in Genesis 3. Mankind became completely self-centered and began to live to worship and serve only himself. We have carried that sin into the present age and are more than willing to throw others under the bus when it suits us. There is no other explanation for our hurtful actions.
The heart that is focused on self will serve self, worship self, and thinks of self before everyone else. Self-worship results in rebellion against God idolatry, selfishness, self-centeredness, hurting others, rejection of others, putting self first, and not caring for or about others.
What should be the response to rejection? What are we to do with all the other little satellite emotions that surround the original hurt?
The pain of rejection can only be righteously resolved through the application of biblical principle to the heart and life of the person who has been hurt.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31(NASB)
More tomorrow on this important topic!