Rejection. There is something profoundly painful in it. Today, it was professional. Tomorrow, it will probably be personal. I hate feeling unwanted, discarded and worthless. I don’t handle it well in any form. If I even think I’ve been slighted, I snap into 13-year old emotional (im)maturity and want to burn peoples’ houses down. When I get rejected, this “You can’t hurt me, I hurt you” attitude rears its obnoxious head. I then consider my options: do I make the person pay for hurting me? Do I actively get revenge? Do I passively crush their soul and “win” by making them feel so bad for rejecting me that they’ll never recover from the guilt?
Again, my questions are wrong because I still live as if I have something to prove. I still act as if I have to hang on and protect my significance and worth. Rejection isn’t about grinning and bearing it or pretending it didn’t hurt and asking for more. Rejection also isn’t a platform for shoving peoples’ noses in their own poo and telling them how bad they are for doing that in the house. Rejection, more than anything, is a place for companionship with Jesus.
Who better understood rejection? Who better still understands rejection? He experiences it from the most devoted of his friends. I don’t think Jesus tried to make himself feel better by saying, “They’re just threatened” or “They don’t like me because I’m so awesome.” I think he knew that rejection was inevitable in a world ruled by broken relationships. This would be the norm in a place where blindness, greed and legalism still thrived. His solution was to inaugurate the kingdom, regardless of who was on board.
Rejection is an opportunity—opportunity to know the wounded heart of God. It’s an opportunity to draw into the comfort and compassion of an experienced Savior. It’s also an opportunity to remember that no matter how good or wonderful, nothing satisfies here on earth. Not because people want to fail us, but because human relationships can’t satisfy—they weren’t made to.
Rejection is a window leading us to unmined corners of God’s heart. It only lasts for a moment, and if pride sidetracks us, the window will snap shut. Look while the window is open, no matter how acute the pain. Turning to silence or revenge blinds us to the call of Jesus to come near and experience Love. Humanity’s rejection of Jesus did nothing to stop the movement of Grace toward us. It is the same for me in my most worthless-feeling moments: rejection won’t stop the movement of grace toward me.
The pain is a window to intimacy with God. When I am cast aside, I am caught by arms I had forgotten were there.