Have you ever felt rejected? I have. This is what it feels like: It feels like a kick in the heart. It hurts because another person will only accept me if I become what they want me to be. Otherwise, they don’t want me. And in pride, they consider themselves better because of it…
It has taken me a long time to even define that pain. I don’t want to keep it to myself, because I imagine there are a lot of people I know who have felt it too and need healing. I’m writing this for you. Maybe you have felt rejection for something you can’t even control. Maybe you have felt rejection for past mistakes and you tried seeking forgiveness. Maybe you have felt rejection because of a chosen lifestyle. No matter what the reason, no one deserves to be treated like an outcast or a non-human.
My pain created bitterness. The people who rejected me were supposed to know me, love me, and show up for me. I saw other people loved with far fewer conditions and it amplified my pain. It made me feel like an outsider, a misfit. I felt lonely. I realized that I could get some attention and mileage out of playing the victim, so I used it at times. But it felt shallow and artificial, because it was.
Hope for Rejected People
If you know this type of hurt in your life, I want to offer you two possibilities for hope. They are connected to one another: Jesus and His church. Together, they are the hope God offers the person feeling rejection.
Jesus is our hope because he understands this pain. He was rejected by the people who were supposed to know Him and celebrate Him. He didn’t have to come to earth and feel that. He chose to enter into my pain. Even deeper, he felt the pain of rejection caused by sin. On the cross, Jesus felt the full consequences of a Holy God rejecting someone for their guilt. But Jesus wasn’t guilty. He hung in my place. All the rejection we feel in this life is rooted in a broken relationship with God. Only Jesus can fix the ultimate rejection we all face. Embrace Him and let Him embrace your pain. He will never let you go!
The second hope is only possible because of the first. Jesus is building a new community united in Him by His work on the cross. Ephesians 2:13 says that “in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” He goes on to say in verse 19 that we are “no longer strangers…but members of the family of God.” That family is hope for everyone to feel accepted and cared for no matter what you look like, how much money you have, or what you have done.
What if the church already failed me?
But what if you’ve already felt rejection by a group of people calling themselves the church?! That is actually my own story! So I get it. It complicates things. All I can say to you is this: we need each other. God built us for community. And not just any community… one that loves us and values us enough to stick with us through the healing. The true church is never a group of people gathered in pride and self-righteousness, but in humble reliance on the grace of God. We will call you to repentance (because we need it too). But you will walk away from us before we walk away from you.
The church is not perfect because we are still a bunch of healing people. We’ve got baggage and we will sometimes disappoint one another. That’s why I would encourage you not to place your hope in us, but in the One who says we are a family. If you’ve felt rejection, then chances are you have commitment issues. Fear of rejection is a powerful thing. But I have felt God’s love through His people. It is real. There is hope for you to feel like part of a real family. We are a family and we are always adopting!
Christ Fellowship wants to be a church that is so committed to the unifying Gospel of Jesus that everyone in our community will know us by our love for one another – regardless of ethnicity, social status, age, or gender. Learn more at www.onehornlake.org