In my last post, I wrote about not belonging. I realized afterward that I was really only skimming the surface. Not belonging is part of a larger, more hurtful concept: rejection.
It’s one thing when you “feel like” you don’t belong and still have the hope of coming together with people. It’s quite another when you feel, or have actually been, rejected. How do you pick yourself up? And more importantly, if you’ve been rejected within a family or faith-based community, how do you continue to be in that community? And how do you not feel like God has also rejected you? These are really tough questions. Questions that there are not easy answers for.
Rejection is one of the most hurtful things people can do. I know it is, because the Bible points out that Jesus was not accepted by His family (gospel of John), in His own hometown (Luke 4:24), by His own disciples (John 6; Mark 14), and eventually by all of mankind (Isaiah 53:3). And in each of these instances, there’s grief. Death. Something has died. Relationship has failed. And all there is sorrow and questions.
Don’t you feel like that when you’re rejected? Sorrowful and full of questions?
I don’t always know how to let go of those hurts. But I do know how to start to move forward. Every time I’ve been rejected, I’ve had to go back to God and ask if He’s still with me. Sometimes, honestly, He’s gently told me that I belong to Him, but I was wrong, and I need to repent and restore community. But more often, He’s just said, yes, He’s with me, and let me grieve the loss. And in time, when I was ready, He offered something new or a path to forgive.
The bigger problem comes in when others make us believe that He’s rejected us, too. For those of you around legalistic and fear mongering types, this is a daily reality. I didn’t do/believe “X” for “Y” amount of time, and so that’s it! I’m done. I’m out of the family of God. I’m kicked off the team.
It’s so hard in those moments to believe that God cares, that He values you, or that it doesn’t work that way.
He really does NOT work that way.
There are multiple occasions that prove this throughout the history of God and His people. There is the promise that He gave that He CANNOT break that “He will never leave you or forsake you.” But I’ll share the one passage that finally helped heal me this week. I pray this blesses you, and that He begins to heal you the way He’s begun to heal me.
But you … My servant … whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham, My friend,
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts, and said to you: You are My servant,
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.