Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected
There are so many ways that we experience rejection in life. The environments of family, employment, church, dating/courting and social circles all provide the backdrop of some the most painful experiences caused by human rejection. Christians might be resigned to expecting the world’s rejection. But what about when fellow Christians are the ones to reject us? Christ did not promise His followers exemption from sorrows in earthly life. What He did promise is that all our needs would be met, including: help, comfort, wisdom, guidance, strength, grace, healing and HOPE!
So when we find ourselves rejected of men, what is our response to be? Here’s a few quick points for what to do when you are rejected:
1. Give it to the Lord. It is upsetting to be rejected. It hurts! It’s unjust! How could they? Why did this happen to me? We ask these questions. We seek comfort or justice. The Bible tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord. Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved (Ps. 55:2). Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Despite the emotions of the moment, slow down and first pray. Tell the Lord about the details and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5). Be careful to first abandon your thoughts, worries, hurts and struggles to the Lord. Let Him give you His thoughts! He is the Wonderful Counselor (Is. 9:6). For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (He. 4:15).
2. Go to the Bible. Let your situation be a catalyst to seeking Truth. Fill your mind with God’s Word. The Bible tells us that if we seek God we find Him (Jer. 29:12-13). We cannot find our way out of the valley without God’s Lamp to guide us (Ps. 119: 105). Go over what God has promised and make a list. For starters, remember that God has promised:
3. Remember Christ was Rejected. When we experience rejection, we have taste of what Christ endured. We are identifying with Him through our sufferings. His own “earthly” family challenged His leadership (Jn. 7:3-5). People from His “home town” discounted His Identity and ministry (Mark 3:1-6). Many followers turned away from Him (Jn. 6:60-71). He was mocked by spiritual leaders and others (Mt. 27). Christ was betrayed by a close friend (Mt. 26:14). Christ was forsaken and denied when unjustly condemned (Mark 14:50; Mt. 26:69-74). Several of the people who had witnessed His righteous acts hated Him! They falsely accused Jesus of lying, being sinful and ultimately condemned Him to death. Today Christ is still mocked, rejected and misrepresented by His own creatures. We must accept that identifying with Christ includes taking up our cross and following Him. It is not “strange” for a Christian to partake in a portion of Christ’s sufferings in a fallen world. With God’s help, we can “extract” good out of bad (Ro. 8:28) and rejoice in knowing that we are going to see His glory and have His joy! And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me] (Mark 8:34). But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy (1 Pe. 4:13).
4. Recall that God is Sovereign. God is in control and fully aware of our circumstances (He. 4:13). The circumstances do not take Him by surprise (Mt. 6:8; Acts 15:18; Is. 46:9-10). What “so and so” did to us, God sees it. He is concerned about us. He is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)! God’s timing is not our timing (Ec. 3:17). Yet, God is just. No one “gets away” with anything before the Lord (He. 10:30). Remember that though we are finite and can only see the “now”—God is infinite, seeing all, past, present, and future. He is on the job, all the time (Ps. 121; Is. 50:8)
5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Being rejected, in whatever form, does not have to mar or dismember our life. It’s truly not our end! God is at work. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him (Ec. 3:14). Where there is life, there is hope that whatever has happened can be redeemed by the Redeemer (Is. 48:17). Sometimes God’s redemption is to do a new work, a new thing (Is. 43:19). Nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jer. 32:17). Nothing! And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Ro. 8:28). Somehow in some way, these experiences are guaranteed to work together for good for those that love God.
6. Realize Your Identity Before God. What does God think of you? A human’s rejection can make us feel very worthless and meaningless. Even when we know we belong to Christ, humans tend to make us feel horrible about who we are. Know what God says about His people. When we confess ourselves as Christ’s followers, we are:
- God’s child (John 1:12)
- Bought with a price and belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
- Chosen and adopted by God (Eph. 1:3-8)
- Redeemed and forgiven of all our sins because of Christ ( Col. 1:13-14)
- Made complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10)
- A Citizen of Heaven to Come (Phil. 3:20)
- God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
- Free from condemnation (Ro. 8:1-2)
(Read more from the beautiful scriptural outline: “Who I Am in Christ.”)
7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! In today’s world even some Christians and Christian leaders have cashed into many hollow “self-oriented” counterfeits to putting “shoe leather” to whole heartedly trusting, obeying and waiting on the Lord. After bad things happen, many people (professed “Christians” included) look for quick, temporary solutions of comfort. It is shocking how many seek comfort through eating, drinking (getting drunk), doing drugs, having a self-induced “problem” that can be labeled, drugged and pampered with therapy or medication, getting a new physical “image,” going on a spending spree, committing fornication, choosing to be a homosexual, abandoning a family, getting a divorce, aborting a child, casting off responsibility, etc. Very popular today, there are “over wrought and stressed” Christians that are turning to the Hindu entrenched Yoga or the practices of Buddhist Zen or some type of Eastern religious method of “redirecting”. We see many seeking counsel or comfort with self-interest (how can I please myself?) at the core. To sum-it-all-up, they go on a binge of self-gratification or just trying to get out from under the pressure of a tough situation. Such “man-made-efforts” ultimately lead to sin or actions that are blatantly an abomination to God! It has been falsely said, If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others. Christ said that if we want to follow Him, we will deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him (Mt. 16:24). He told us that if we love Him, we will do what He says (John 14:15). When we are focused on self, we hurt or neglect others too in the process of pleasing ourselves. Thus, we become as the very people who rejected and hurt us.
8. Resist the Attitudes! The typical human response to rejection is not Christ-like! Some turn inward and refuse to “give” again. Others grow hostile, sour and resistant. Some are just indifferent, apathetic and don’t care. Either way is sinful! Christians are capable of responding sinfully to others’ wrong doings (Mt. 26:41; Gal. 6). God has told us look to Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith Who endured the cross because He knew the joy that would come (He. 12:2). Only with the Lord’s help and by sincerely surrendering to Him can we overcome the impulses of the flesh (1 Cor. 10:13). Search the scriptures for Christ’s attitude when He was rejected and model Him. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:9).
9. Be Humble. Even when we are “done dirty”, as Christians, we have a responsibility to reflect Christ in our response to the circumstance. Use this time of sorrow (or anger) over being rejected to examine yourself before the Lord. Confess to the Lord if you have sinned in this situation (1 Jn. 1:9). Ask Him to help you to overcome your weaknesses—He will stand with you and strengthen you (2 Tim. 4:17; Is. 40:29). Allow the Lord to renew your mind with His thoughts (Ro. 12:2; Ep. 4:23). It takes humility to accept that God will vindicate even when it looks like that person is “getting away with it.” It takes humility to sort out your wrong doing from the other party’s, especially when you think yours was a smaller act. Ask God to give the grace and to enable you to be humble (Phil. 4:13). God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
10. Forgive. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt. 6:15).This one can be difficult! When we are innocent and the rejection comes from someone else’s sinful behavior, it’s a temptation to feel justified in nurturing wrongs. Without forgiveness, we are not following Christ’s example or commandment (Luke 23:34; Mt. 18:21-22). Forgiveness does not mean resignation or indifference. Forgiveness is a sacrifice, a denying our “right” to holding a grudge or mulling over the wrongs in our minds. We realize that in God’s sovereignty, He is All powerful to work out His will in this situation. But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mt. 19:26). When bad thoughts come up about that person—pray for them. Simply just ask that God’s will for that person to come to pass. Shake the dust from your feet (and your mind) and move on (Luke 9:5)! But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Mt. 5:44). And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25).
11. Wait on the Lord for Strength, Renewal and Healing. God has promised to renew the strength of His followers (Is. 40:31). He warns us not to grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9). Before doing anything rash—wait on the Lord (Ps. 27:14). It is often through tough times that some Christians “call it quits” and selfishly consider their ways better than their Creator’s Sadly many Christians have fallen away from the ways of Christ and rejected Him because it “didn’t work out like they wanted.” They think God failed them instead of realizing that God is a Faithful God that is an Ever Present Help in trouble (Deut. 7:9; Ro. 8:18-39). Any true athlete knows that in order to build muscle, you go through strenuous, consistent training and exercise. Those that quit the training course prematurely will never achieve their full potential in skill or development. They may never finish the course or win the race. The same goes for those that fall away when following Christ presents a tough route. Stay faithful to Him. Wait on the Lord. Trust Him. He can pull us out of a horrible pit and set our feet on a rock (Ps. 40). God is a God of Salvation (Ps. 68:20)! Those that are faithful to waiting on God’s perfect timing can testify that God is true to His word and does restore perfectly (Deut. 7:9; Jn. 3:33). Seeing God work is worth waiting for. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Pe. 5:10).
12. Trust God for His Promises Today and Get Busy With What’s Under Your Nose. The Bible tells us that when all is done, to stand and wait on the Lord (Ep. 6:13). Part of that “standing” is doing what’s under your nose. God has made us for work. Regardless of the situation, there’s going to be something in the “here and now” for us to do. It may be wiping window sills, putting up decorations, washing the car, taking out the trash or entering in information on an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever is on your plate—get up and do it. No one is going to do your work like you can. God has given you something to do now. An older woman once told me, “Keep in a routine. Discipline your life. Sweat if possible!” Above all keep anchored on the promises of God. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows our situations—every detail. He can make all things new (Rev. 21:5). He is the Master Creator; Our Savior, Provider, Redeemer and Friend. As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Pe. 1:3). For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God… (Ec. 9:1). Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
The Bible has told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30). We are warned not to seek after the world’s methods for deliverance (Is. 30:1-2). Jesus has told us that our situations are real and that He will help us! God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1). By seeking the world’s method of overcoming, we will find ourselves deluded and still in bondage. Seek Christ; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6)! One of His ways of “redirecting” our sorrows or hurts is to give to and serve others. Our needs are going to be met even when we are giving out to someone else’s needs. It may seem or feel like we’re being overlooked, but God is faithful and truly concerned about us. God has our lives in His Hands. We are not capable of changing most circumstances surrounding someone’s choice to reject us. However, we are capable of not rejecting God’s methods or His truth that is free to us. And we are capable of not rejecting the people He wants us to serve. If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Is. 58:10-11).