Have you ever been rejected by someone? I know I have within the last week and probably will experience rejection at some other points in my life. I also know how I would humanly deal with it, but, as a follower of Jesus, considering how He wants me to handle it means a lot.
Around February 23, I contacted a family member I hadn’t heard from in over 20 years. He accepted my friend request on Facebook and then did an odd thing. He sent me a video clip about another family member which showed her being liberated from a Nazi detention camp in France. So, I thanked him and provided fun details of my life currently like having a llama and two sheep that play together as neighbors and the “garbage brigade”. Our neighbors use their cars to ride to the dumpster and place their bags on the roofs, hoods or trunks as the mood strikes. It’s fun to guess just how they will change the placement. One day, I’ll learn how to use my phone camera and take pics to show you, and you can enjoy along with me. Anyway, that was last Saturday, and I haven’t heard a word from him since. The rejection bells ring loud and clear.
All I wanted to do was move forward from where we are now and leave the past where it belongs. I am not here to change anyone. I am just here to develop a relationship that works for us both and to agree to disagree where necessary. If he chooses not to do that, I am okay with that. It’s his loss, and I probably won’t make the attempt again.
So, you who follow Jesus ask, how would He handle it? I found the answer in Matthew 10. Jesus equipped and empowered His disciples to spread the good news and to leave their peace in towns that accepted the disciples and to shake the dust of their feet and remove their peace from the towns that rejected them. Note that Jesus left it up to the disciples as to when they left the rejecting towns. Personally, I would remain until it was absolutely clear that I (and by association, Jesus) wasn’t wanted or appreciated. In current counseling terms, that’s called setting a boundary.
There’s another time in scripture where Jesus talks about all things being forgiven with the exception of the unpardonable sin, which is blaspheming God the Holy Spirit. Not only is that attributing the works of the devil to God, it’s trampling God underfoot and deliberately choosing your way above His. Applying this principle, the relationship I bring is not valued but rejected, and that gives me justification to withdraw just like God the Holy Spirit withdraws from those that reject Him. This idea grieves me just like it grieves Him, but it’s reality. God is always authentic.
So, I have made a decision. If I don’t hear from this man by the end of March, effectively giving him a month to respond, I will rescind my friend request.
Pray with me: Father God, thanks for the principles in Your word that show us how You want us to live and love. Thanks for granting us all the wisdom, understanding and discernment to grasp these principles and rightly apply them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved