One of the unavoidable aspects of human life is rejection. It is no stranger to any of us; we all have experienced rejection one way or another. It does not matter how much talent, wit, good looks, or brains someone has… all of us endure rejection. It could be a job interview or a loan… or perhaps that rejection from the person you want to date. Regardless of the situation or life you live, rejection is par-for-the-course. How this rejection is dealt with determines who you are. Some choose to allow rejection to defeat, and some choose to allow rejection to inspire. Since rejection comes for each of us regardless, what does God’s Word have to say about it?
The Bible is filled with examples of rejection and instructions for how to deal with that rejection. In the Scriptures, it is not a question of IF rejection happens… it is a matter of WHEN. If our first reaction is to think we do not face rejection in our spiritual life, perhaps we need to evangelize more. Rejection is a daily component of seeking and saving the lost. It does not matter how many Scriptures, how many approaches, or how much experience we have… rejection is inevitable.
In the same way you can “lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink…” you can lead a soul to the truth, but you can’t make them obey. If you have gone out on that limb, you know what I am talking about. When you finally get the courage to speak to that co-worker, neighbor, friend, or family member about spiritual things… it is hard when your good intentions are met with rejection. However, this rejection is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, it is something to find joy in! When we face rejection from the world, we join a pretty awesome group of people because there is GLORY in rejection.
God the Father, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent Creator of all things…was REJECTED. He gave Adam and Eve a paradise to live in (Genesis 2:8-16). He gave the angels His very presence in Heaven (Luke 10:18). He gave the Israelites freedom, a covenant, and was their King (Exodus 6:6; 1 Samuel 8:7). He gave the world a perfect sacrifice (John 3:16). He did all of this, and each time was rejected in return. Adam and Eve, who would rather have the knowledge of good and evil than to obey God, rejected Him (Genesis 3:6). Satan and his angels, who would rather exalt themselves above God than obey Him, rejected Him (Isaiah 14:12-14). The Israelites, who would rather return to Egyptian bondage and get a new king than obey Him, rejected Him (Numbers 14:4; 1 Samuel 8:7). We, who would rather follow the doctrines of men than the Doctrine of God, are often guilty of rejecting Him (Colossians 2:22-23).
God the Son, the Messiah, Immanuel, the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…wasREJECTED. Just take a moment to read these passages about the rejection Christ faced… “He came into His own, and His own did not receive Him,” John 1:11. “For even His brothers did not believe in Him,” John 7:5. “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region,” Matthew 8:34. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you,” John 15:18. “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Luke 17:25. “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone,’” Matthew 21:42. “He is 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.
God’s mouthpieces throughout the Old Testament, the prophets who spoke on His behalf, were all REJECTED. Stephen sums it up perfectly in Acts 7:51-52a, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?” Jeremiah gives another great example of the reception prophets received in Jeremiah 6:10, “To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold, the Word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.”
There are dozens of more examples that we can read of, so many that we could say, like the writer of Hebrews, “What more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of…” Hebrews 11:32. I believe the message we should take away from this is when we sign on to become Christians, we are signing on to face rejection. God was rejected, Jesus was rejected, and every prophet who ever lived was rejected. Why should we expect to be any different? How we handle this rejection can either lead us to “Try, try again” or can lead us to give up and never try again.
Babe Ruth once said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” So many of us have given up trying to win the lost around us because of the fear or remembrance of rejection. Our Father, Our Savior, and the prophets give us an example never to allow rejection to defeat us. The future of the Lord’s Church depends on each one of us seeking and saving the lost! Wilting in the face of the rejection we will face is not an option we can take.
God’s Word comforts us whenever we find ourselves discouraged because of the rejection we experience for Him. “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent me,” Luke 10:16. Though we could be rejected every day of our lives by those we are trying to bring to the Lord, we can know in our hearts and our souls that we are only trying to do the will of the Father. That is the glory in rejection. We can know that God is proud of us as we join all the faithful who came before us. The world may reject you and me, but God never will, “For the Lord will not reject His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance,” Psalm 94:14.
– Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism