"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
I John 2: 15-17
Rejection hurts. The dictionary lists synonyms like: refuse, spurn, dismiss, turn down and decline for the word rejection. When you are rejected, it means you are excluded and do not belong to a group. Whether it is little children being mean at school, teenagers being cliquish, office workers sticking with their own kind, the boss ignoring you, a wife or husband divorcing you or members of a political party spurning you, or some other kind of marginalization, rejection hurts deeply. In addition, rejection can scar one’s psyche. But it doesn’t have to.
Jesus prepared his disciples for rejection telling them, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” The same is true for believers. We must understand that rejection is part and parcel of our lot as believers in a sin-sick world that does not believe Jesus is the Son of God. In order to navigate rejection, we must look to Jesus for direction. He loved those who rejected him; he prayed for those who falsely accused him; he forgave those who persecuted and crucified him and he loved us though we had sinned against him. God’s word further instructs that by responding to those who reject us in love, we will be heaping hot coals on their heads and the Lord will reward us for our obedience (Proverbs 25:22).
Have you suffered rejection? Does the pain continue to wound your spirit? Look to Jesus. He was rejected even unto death. Your situation may be excruciatingly painful, but you have the opportunity to pray for those who persecute you and to forgive those who have hurt you. You have the opportunity to grow in love and grace as you tap into God’s supernatural power that resides in you. What the enemy meant for evil, God will use for good (Genesis 50:20). Jesus triumphed over his enemies, and by your obedience you will too. And though the world may continue to hate you and what you stand for, take heart, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Father, enlighten the eyes of my heart so that I may see you more clearly. Thank you for reminding me that in this world, I will have trouble. Give me the grace and strength, to forgive, to love and to pray for those who reject me for the sake of your holy name, Amen.