How you respond to rejection from others is a key to the freedom you experience in your life today. I’ve seen people trapped by their inability to free themselves from a difficult relationship they’ve had in the past and even though the person is absent or even dead, the bondage from that relationship continues. So how do we deal with those people who love to bring misery to our lives?
First, learn to distinguish between legitimate, constructive criticism and rejection. Proverbs 27:6 says, faithful are the wounds of a friend. Often, we will be hurt, because we aren’t hearing the heart of the person talking, we’re just hearing somehow that we’re bad or inadequate. They may actually see potential in us and are trying to help us discover that potential. I honestly believe that there are many believers who have been wounded because they misunderstood what their brother or sister in Christ was saying and unnecessarily took offense. Learn to listen to people who have hard things to say to you without defensiveness.
James 1:19 (ESV)
19 Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
Second, draw your identity from God and not from others. People around us, sometimes even parents can be so cruel. I’ve talked with kids whose parents constantly berate them saying, “you’re a loser, you’ll never amount to anything.” It’s so important in those times to go back to who you are in Christ! You are a child of God who has been forgiven, made new, and given a new nature! You have been set apart by God for his great purpose; that’s why you are called a saint! Don’t let the sinful words and actions of others define you. Let God be the one who defines you. After all, he’s the one who created you!
Third, make sure that when you are being rejected, it is for the sake of Christ.
1 Peter 4:14–16 (ESV)
14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
If you are being rejected because you’ve done wrong, repent from your sin and go ask forgiveness. If you are being rejected because you are following Jesus. . .well, you are in some pretty great company and that is a cause for rejoicing.
Fourth, remember that Jesus knows what it’s like to be rejected.
Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
When you bring your pain to our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), Jesus understands what you are going through and he can bring mercy and give you grace to help in time of need.
Finally, determine that you will not be a source of rejection to others, but rather a source of blessing.
Ephesians 4:29 (NASB95)
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we would learn that we have been called to inherit a blessing, we would realize that we can give blessing to others.
1 Peter 3:8–9 (ESV)
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Some of us are so obsessed with our own feelings of rejection that we aren’t even aware that we wound those around us with our words. Even when someone is speaking evil to you, determine that you will not return evil for evil, rather you will bless!