Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
Psalm 27:10 (NLT).
There is no doubt that rejection is part of the human condition. It was a part of Jesus’ life too, so He understands what it’s like.
Jesus was rejected by those in His hometown. Even his own brothers rejected Him. The Romans rejected Him; the Jews despised Him, and when He was on the cross His own father turned His face away.
About Christ, Isaiah wrote:
He was despised and rejected by men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him (Isaiah 53:3).
Even though His life was defined by rejection that finally culminated in crucifixion, He still loved. Rejection didn’t make Him turn His back on His destiny when He was mocked. It didn’t keep Him from continuing to pour out when He was shamed. He kept loving to fulfill God’s destiny for His life. We all have a destiny too. Like Christ, we have been called to love others as we have been loved.
This means that during those times when we are shoved aside, ignored, excluded, silenced, shamed, mocked, ridiculed, harassed, alienated, abused, neglected, abandoned, or not accepted, we must not give the devil a foothold by allowing him to harden our hearts through hate. We must not pull back and tuck away our hearts to protect ourselves from rejection.
(This doesn’t mean we should endure abuse or a toxic relationship, but that we should not allow our hearts to be changed by evil.)
In painful moments when I have been hurt, I’ve wanted to snatch my love back, shut my heart down and isolate. In moments when I have felt rejected, disregarded, or ignored, I’ve wanted to divorce myself emotionally from those I feel God has called me to love. When my heart has been wounded by silence, I’ve wanted to pull back.
But I am learning once again lessons God has taught me in the past: the less you feel you must have the approval of others to feel good about yourself or to validate your worth, the more you can love while standing alone with Christ at your side—and the happier you will be. The more you know your identity in Jesus and are not swayed by what others think of you, the more peace you will experience.
I’m also learning again that we should never decide that because we have experienced rejection that we are rejectable and unworthy of love. The Lord promises us that He will never leave us and that He will never forsake us. He will be with you during those times when you feel rejected, so you find your value in Him and can continue to love out of a full heart undergirded by the love that He gives.
But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason’ (John 15:25).