“Unfortunately, I don’t believe your article is a good fit for us at the moment…”
A short while ago I submitted an article for a possible publication. I felt like I had a really good shot. Days passed, and I received a notification for an email. My excitement turned to disappointment as I skimmed across the email and read these words.
No one likes being rejected. And yet all of us have faced rejection at some point in our lives. Rejection from a job you applied to. A co-worker or friend who suddenly blindsides you with betrayal. A child who rejects every display of affection. A parent whose approval seems to always be just out of reach. A spouse who comes home one day to say he no longer loves you. A suitor who breaks up with you for no specific reason.
Rejection stings. It cuts deeply.
Just recently, I was told by one of my daughters that she loves her dad more than me! No one likes being rejected even in jest!
I’ve faced my share of rejection over the years. And I wish I could say that I have handled it with grace at all times. But I have not. I have been hurt, angry, and upset. Sometimes I have said things in anger and other times I have given the cold shoulder. There is no doubt that rejection can be painful and harsh. It stays with us a long time, lodging deep into our memory and altering the way we see ourselves, others, and God.
I have a few random thoughts about rejection and how we deal with it. I hope sharing these musings will be thought-provoking for you too…
Rejection and Entitlement
When we are rejected, we feel hurt, which is understandable. But often we allow that hurt to fester and grow which leads to us becoming angry and offended. We get offended because we feel entitled. We feel we deserve the promotion, the great marriage, the well-behaved kids, the high-paying job, and so on. And when we don’t get what we feel we’re entitled to, we are offended.
Yes, it’s true, sometimes we did actually deserve those things that we didn’t get, maybe because of the sinful actions of others. But, often enough, we are offended because we believe we didn’t get what we should have got, especially when someone else gets it instead. Oh yes, it gets under our skin, doesn’t it?
But honestly, do we actually deserve anything good? “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”(James 1:17) Anything that is “good” in our lives is because of God’s amazing grace towards us. Grace is when God gives us the things we don’t deserve. So, I’ve been thinking: Is it right for me to feel entitled about anything at all?
Nope. Not at all. NEVER.
When we see ourselves rightly— as sinners deserving of nothing good— desperately in need of a Savior, the offense and rejection we feel from others does not have such a huge effect on us anymore.
Rejection and Insecurity
Sometime rejections leads to us becoming insecure about ourselves and our abilities. We shut down and don’t want to become vulnerable again to avoid the ugly sting of rejection. When my article was rejected, I was tempted for a minute to keep my writing to myself. After all I wasn’t any good.
But, how am I ever going to grow as a writer if I don’t put myself out there and take a chance? I decided I had better get used to the word ‘no’ because it sure wasn’t the last time I would be hearing it.
And that’s okay.
I don’t write for attention and approval. I write because I believe God wants me to. My ‘Yes’ to God is more important than any number of ‘No’s’ I receive from others.
Rejection and Identity
Rejection has a way of bringing our ‘idol’ or ‘identity’ to the surface. When we are not accepted into the university of our dreams after all the hard work we’ve put in, why do we feel so humiliated? Maybe because our self-worth was wrapped up in academic achievement. Why do we feel worthless and inconsequential when we are rejected by a spouse? Maybe because we found our identity in that relationship, in our role as a wife. Why are we heartbroken beyond consolation when we don’t get the promotion we fought for? Maybe because our job was the most important thing in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. All these situations are reasons to be upset and disappointed about for sure. However, disappointment and loss have a way of pointing out idols we didn’t even know exist. When our identity and worth is found in Christ, human rejection can only disappoint us to a certain extent. When we are absolutely certain of how precious we are to the God of this universe—when we truly understand what it meant for Him to sacrifice His beloved Son for us, human rejection can never destroy our worth. It may crush us for a time but it will never destroy us.
Rejection and the Gospel
The Bible tells us that Jesus is a high priest who can sympathize with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15), but what about the pain of rejection? Did Jesus truly experience this level of hurt? The answer is YES. Jesus experienced rejection in every aspect of His life on earth.
He was rejected by his family members. They rejected Him as Messiah. “Not even his brothers believed in him.” (John 7:5)
Jesus faced rejection from his community. The people of Nazareth, those he grew up with him “took offense at him” (Matt 13:57) He was “without honor” in his own hometown.
Jesus was rejected by those who were closest to Him. Peter, who so ardently professed his love for Him just a few days earlier went on to reject him not once, but thrice. Though He has predicted both Peter’s denial and Judas’ betrayal, in His humanness Jesus still experienced the hurt and pain of their heartbreaking rejection.
Christ’s sacrifice did so much for us. It saved us. It gave us a relationship with God the Father. But we often forget what His sacrifice did to Him.
It led to rejection from His Father. The One with whom He was in constant communion with since the beginning of time, forsook Him because of our sin that covered Him as He died for us.
It blows my mind when I think of it. Jesus chose to be rejected by His Father for a time, so we wouldn’t face eternal rejection from God.
For us believers, the solution to rejection is the gospel. It goes back as far as the garden of Eden, where man rejected God’s command, and sin entered the world. The wages of sin is death, but God in His mercy saved us from eternal separation and death by sending Jesus to take the curse of separation on Himself. The moment we put our trust in Jesus, God accepts us as His own. Acceptance is the opposite of rejection, and that’s what God did for us. Even though what we truly deserved was rejection and condemnation. And that my friends, is the truth of the gospel.
Friends, the next time we face rejection of any kind, may we remember that man’s rejection has no power over us, because we are ACCEPTED by the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raisedcwho is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 31-35, 37-39