REJECTION! Just the mention of that word stirs emotions inside of us that conjures memories of pain and loneliness. For some, it might take them back to middle or high school when they were cut from the team or failed to land a part in a school program. Many will be reminded of that boy or girl that they were so in love with who broke their heart. Perhaps your parents were divorced and you took that rejection personally. Maybe you didn’t get into the college you wanted or perhaps you were rejected by a potential employer. We all have faced rejection in our life.
The bad news is we are probably not finished facing rejection. I know I am not. I have faced my fair share of rejection both in my teenage years and now into my midlife. Sometimes that rejection can be life altering like being fired from a job or losing your spouse. And sometimes, it can be more simple and basic like people you believed you could count on, forsaking you in times that you thought you really needed them. A few years ago, in the daily devotional I wrote called, 10 Minutes to Better Living: Daily Applications From the Life of Christ, I wrote an entry about how we should follow Christ’s example in how to handle rejection. Little did I know then that a few years later, those very words would be a comfort to me as I sought to take that advice and follow Christ’s example in handling rejection. Today, looking at Luke 4:14-30, we are going to look at how Jesus handled rejection. Looking at an exert from the devotional I wrote for the book, 10 Minutes to Better Living, we see some great lessons for us to follow the next time we face rejection.
At this point in His earthly ministry, things were going well for Jesus. Word had spread about His teachings and He was gaining popularity. But then He went to his hometown of Nazareth where people remembered Him as a child. They had nothing bad to say about Him, but since they knew Him growing up and knew His family, they assumed He was just “one of them.”
That day, He spoke in the synagogue and read a prophecy about the coming Messiah. When He had finished reading, He told the people that this prophecy had been fulfilled in Him that day. They asked Him to do miracles. Knowing that they were not going to believe Him anyway, He chose not to perform the miracles. They got mad at Him, formed a mob, took Him to the side of a cliff, and tried to throw Him off the cliff. However, He worked a miracle by vanishing in their midst and walked away from them unharmed.
In His very home town, Jesus got rejected big time. His friends and family rejected Him and even the “church” rejected Him. It got so bad that the people actually tried to kill Him.
Chances are you have been rejected in very hurtful ways many times in your life. Some of you may have even been rejected to the point where you felt your life was threatened. Others of you have been rejected to the point that you wished you would die. Everyone faces rejection. It is a sad part of life. Rejection happens when you don’t get the part in the play you wanted. It happens when you do not make the team. It happens all the time when people get rejected for a date. Teachers reject you, friends reject you, your boss fires you, and sadly sometimes even your closest friends or family rejects you. It can be hard to deal with. However, Jesus, in the time when He was rejected, left us with an example to follow each time we face rejection.
We all have gone through rejection in the past. Some of us might be going through rejection in the present time, and we will all face rejection again in the future. Therefore, Jesus’ example of facing rejection is perfect for all of us. Looking at His model, we see how He handled rejection.
First, know who you are. Jesus knew who He was and why He was there. When you know who you are and do not waver in that knowledge, it is a little easier to overcome rejection. And if you are a follower of Jesus, you are a child of God. Don’t worry about what others say. Stand firm in the fact that you know who you are in Jesus Christ. Yes, the pain might still be there, but continually remind yourself that you know who you are, even if those rejecting you don’t realize it.
Secondly, know your purpose. Jesus knew His purpose on earth was to be the Savior. Have you found your purpose? Ask God to begin showing you your purpose. Everyone who is a child of God has a purpose that God wants in our lives. Pray daily for that purpose and read His Word daily to help you discern what His purpose for you is. If you already have a good handle on your purpose, it is far easier to handle rejection when it comes.
Thirdly, when people reject you, move on. When Nazareth rejected Him, Jesus left them. He did not quit what He had been called to do. He simply moved on. As tempting as it might be, don’t quit just because you face rejection. Jesus didn’t. He moved on to the next city. You must move on to the next thing God has for you. If you don’t get the job you applied for, apply for others. Move on. Don’t just mope around doing nothing. If you feel rejected in something, don’t quit. Ask God to show you something else. Never give up. Follow Christ’s example and just move on.
Making it Personal
Have you faced rejection before in your life?
Are you currently experiencing some kind of rejection? Write a prayer pouring your heart out to God over your feelings of rejection.
Do you know who you are in Christ? Write it down.
Do you know your purpose in life? If you do, write it down. If you don’t, write a short prayer asking God to begin to show you what your purpose is.
If you are facing rejection right now, what is it that God might want you to move on to? As He gives you direction, write it down.