How to Handle Rejection
Have you noticed that sometimes God will allow us to be exposed to the very thing that frightens us so we will realize that we are not victims, but instead can be victors?
This is how it was for me with rejection. Twenty-five years ago it was the relational difficulty that terrified me, whether with a romantic interest or friend, so I tried to avoid it at all costs by people pleasing, which of course, didn’t work.
Much to my horror, God didn’t shield me from rejection like I hoped. Instead, every time I turned a corner, it seemed like someone was tossing me aside. It wasn’t fun! One day I woke up and realized that what I thought would destroy me, didn’t! The result was what I believe God had in mind: freedom from the fear of rejection.
If you are wrestling with rejection from your neighbor, mate, best friend, or boss, here are four things God taught me I hope will help.
Do “as far as it depends on you.”
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” God calls us to do all that is possible to live at peace with others. But sometimes, even though you have done “as far as it depends on you” (you have prayed, humbled yourself, forgiven, and followed the scriptural guidelines for peacemaking) the other person may not want to reconcile. Instead, they will reject you.
Your relational knots may stay tangled.
When someone doesn’t want to reconcile, you may have unanswered questions about what happened in your relationship. For this reason, your relational knots will stay tangled. You may not ever know why they walked away. So, you’ll need to be okay with yourself even when others aren’t okay with you. This means trusting who Christ says you are, not in who others say you are.
Closure is a gift you give to yourself.
Even though someone may not want to make peace with you, you can give yourself the gift of closure. Rather than press them to work things out when they have made it clear that they are unwilling, remember that you don’t need to talk the problem out one more time to experience peace. Instead, you can experience closure when you surrender what you don’t understand to God, give Him your pain, forgive the other person, and trust Him to weave your relational loose ends into a greater, redemptive story.
Jesus was rejected too.
I used to think that if I was just a little nicer, a little more this, or a little more that, that I wouldn’t experience rejection. Then the Lord showed me Isaiah 53:3 which says that even Christ was “despised and rejected by men.” When I read this scripture something struck me: If our perfect Lord was rejected, then it’s no surprise that we will be rejected too. And when we are, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have value.
How comforting it is to know that Jesus, who could not have done one thing better, was rejected. For this reason, He understands the pain we feel when others toss us aside.