Rejection can benefit us because it impacts our spiritual growth. We partner with God when we say yes to walking in his ways and resisting the devil. As we continue from part 1 of Four Ways Rejection Can Be Good [insert link], we explore the ways we can use rejection for our benefit.
Rejection can benefit us because it leads to refinement.
Refinement comes through rejection. Hebrews 12:1-2 talks about throwing off the things that hinder so that we “can run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The power of a no means that we reject things like doubt, slander, or our most troublesome, sidetracking sins. When we reject these tendencies, we grow spiritually.
Refinement happens step by step as we fix our eyes on Jesus and his example of perseverance and victory. We run the race of life and encounter hardships along the way. Some we create and some we experience as consequences to another’s actions. Will we be bitter and resentful? That’s an internal response which can translate to a negative viewpoint, but we can reject those thought patterns. Instead, we can view them through God’s lens of “What does he want to do in this situation and how will he reveal his glory.”
Other hardships originate from within us because we entertain thoughts which lead to sinful choices, which lead to consequences that we must bear. A careless word struck at the right- wrong moment can leave devastating consequences in a relationship. Turning our back on the Lord’s promised faithfulness because we struggle with his supposed silence can lead us down a path away from God’s best for us. We can choose to reject the temptations that pull us away from spiritual maturity. This is how rejection can be good when we use it as a tool for growth.
Rejection can benefits us because it teaches us about resistance.
We are in a war that takes place in the outskirts of what we can see with our physical eyes—a spiritual war. God has an enemy and that enemy attacks us. He studies us and knows our weaknesses, but we are not weaponless. When Jesus is our Lord and Savior and we have confessed with our mouth and believed in our heart that he is Lord, our weapon is the name of Jesus.
We can speak the name of Jesus over our lives and reject Satan’s attacks. We don’t have to succumb. We are not powerless, we are powerful, not because of who we are, but because of who is in us. Use rejection to resist him. The enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to beat us down, wear us out, and fill our heads with lies to render us ineffective and impotent. Rejection can be good when we use it to resist these attacks of the enemy.
I know rejection hurts, especially when it comes from an unexpected place or person who you thought was safe. Sometimes the people and circumstances in our lives become the most important thing to us. But our hope is in God alone, not people or circumstances and sometimes rejection can be good because it can point our hope to the One who promises never to leave us or forsake us.
Will you let God show you how rejection can be good?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28, ESV.
Rejection can be good even though it brings us so much heartache. We know the pain of a friendship gone awry, a family member who turns on us, or a society that tells us we’re less than because we don’t fit the cultural norm. These are the external rejections that impact us, but there are internal rejections too.
We are an enemy to ourselves by the words we use to talk to and about ourselves. On the other hand, we also have an enemy who seeks to destroy us because he hates God. Satan isolates us when he tells we are reject-able and deserve rejection.
Feeling rejectable wears on our self-perception, but with God’s help, we can flip the script on it and discover four ways how rejection can be good in our lives. In this post, we will explore two of the ways: redirection and restoration. The second part of this post can be found here.
Rejection Leads to Redirection
Redirection can be a benefit of rejection. Sometimes a relationship turns sour, but we hold onto it, desperate to keep it. Letting go is hard and so we continue, unaware that the bridge went out and we’re barreling toward disaster.
In other instances, the job we worked so hard for ends. We’re let go after years of employment. We wonder what now and sit reeling from this unexpected redirection, but God can use it to point us where he wants us to go. In his hands, it becomes a signpost for our next step.
God can also use difficult church relationships to redirect us to a body of believers where we will both serve the body and be ministered to. When we deal with rejection from a church, we can be tempted to reject the body of Christ. But if we take God at his word when he says not to forsake the gathering together, then we can trust that he will redirect our steps to the church he wants us to attend.
What seems like a closed door, can be used by God to point us to the open door right behind us. Rejection can be good when God uses it to redirect us.
Rejection Leads to Restoration
Rejection leads to restoration when we fully surrender our life’s experiences to the Lord and allow him to make us new. Sometimes rejection highlights areas in our life that need his healing touch. And other times rejection leaves gaping holes that God fills with himself. This is when our lives become a testimony of his glory. God repairs with cracked places in our life with his power and grace.
Brokenness is part of this life. Rejection happens on a regular basis. To accept God’s healing and freedom, means we must accept Christ’s brokenness on our behalf. Jesus Christ knew rejection, and he endured for our sake because he loved us first. Feelings of worthlessness and insecurity often follow someone who’s life has been wrecked by rejection. It’s these areas that God can use rejection to heal these broken places within us by turning our eyes toward Jesus.
It’s God’s love for us that makes good out of the brokenness caused by rejection. He heals the broken places and restores us. He makes us new. He trades our insecurity for security in him. He exchanges our sense of self-loss with our sense of self-founded-ness in him. We don’t find ourselves in other people’s opinions, but in God’s high and holy view of us. He loves us. He cherishes us. He desires us. And when we receive that truth and let it take root in our hearts, rejection can be the tool that drives us to the cross where we will find the healing and hope we desperately desire.
We can learn how to handle rejection God’s way when rejection strikes our life.
Rejection is a three-pronged weapon. It wounds our interpersonal relationships because of the breakdown that happens when one or another person rejects. Rejection shatters a healthy perception of ourselves because we either take on a victim mentality where we say it’s all someone else’s fault or we absorb the blame for the relational fallout. The third area that experiences injury from rejection is our relationship with God. He sometimes seems silent or uncaring or far away when a rejection splinters our life.
Rejection is not simple. There are many factors at play in a rejection event and knowing how to handle rejection helps us move forward. A normal response to the pain rejection creates is to retreat from people and God. Our pain can drive us to ruminate inward or to ignore the situation and pretend we’re not hurt. Both responses make it harder to handle rejection. If we can flip the script and start with God, we will find our way through the pain.
Handle Rejection by Turning to God First
Starting with God is the first step in how to handle rejection in a healthy way and involves reflecting on who God is. He is steadfast, faithful, everlasting, kind, merciful, and gracious. He hears our cries and sees our needs. He doesn’t leave us to flounder but enters our pain. Jesus endured pain and rejection for our sake. If the Savior of the world can hold rejection in one hand and love for us in the other, then we can endure the pain rejection causes.
These three verses that remind us of who God is can show us how to handle rejection:
He is love: And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16
He is Our help: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
He is faithful: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
We Can Remember Our Identity in Christ
Rejection can splinter our perception of ourselves. At times, we can blame others for the situation and refuse to be open to the Holy Spirit’s direction in our life. The flip side of it is to take on the whole weight of the rejection breakdown and feel condemned for the entire situation. These two ways don’t teach us how to handle rejection God’s way. Instead, we can reflect on our identity in Christ and how the Holy Spirit refines us through our life experiences.
Three verses that remind us of who we are in Christ:
We belong to him: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
We are made new: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
We have purpose: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you in Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
We Can Trust God with our Relationships
The most obvious area that rejection harms is our relationships with other people. Yet, what do we do with a broken friendship, especially if it’s someone in the Church? Loving someone who was once a friend and who is now an enemy helps us learn to be more like Jesus. Although, it’s not easy and it takes a great deal of courage, it is a way for God to be glorified in our lives. We can learn to view rejection through his lens as he teaches us how to handle rejection through his word.
Three verses to handle rejection and our perception of others:
Walk in forgiveness: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Do good to others: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10
Pray for others: Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
When we reflect and remember who God is, who we are to him, and how we need to interact with others, we’re able to handle rejection in a way that brings healing to the hurt places in our lives, compassion for ourselves and others, and deepens our reliance on God.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18
There’s a difference between a peacekeeper and a peace maker. One keeps the peace at all costs, sacrificing standards and self-respect. The other knows that God’s peace can be carried within our hearts even when circumstances and situations attempt to disrupt it. Living in peace with others sometimes means walking in forgiveness and releasing offenses and leads us to overcoming rejection.
Check Your heart for Rejection and Favoritism Tendencies
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the find clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:1-4
Sometimes rejection happens because we play favorites, where we decide who gets our effusive acceptance and who does not. We will connect better with others and it’s okay to have a small circle of close friends. But when we dismiss someone because they don’t fit our standards, we’ve crossed a line that does not bring honor to the Lord.
Pray for others
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
Extending love by praying for the one who hurt us helps us in overcoming rejection. This can feel impossible when our hearts shatter because of betrayal and rejection. Praying for our enemies helps us release the need for vindication and develops compassion for them. Compassion leads the way in overcoming rejection.
Imitate Jesus for Overcoming Rejection
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil. 2 Timothy 2:24
We can study how Jesus responded to his enemies so that we can overcome rejection too. Jesus is the ideal person to imitate because he experienced humanness and everything that comes with yet, he did not sin. He prevailed while we flail. However, when we our heart desires to imitate the Lord, we can choose kindness and endurance.
Receive and Extend God’s Comfort
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves our comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Receive God’s comfort when you’re overcoming rejection so that you can comfort others. We do not live this life in a vacuum of isolation even though our pain and discomfort might tell us otherwise. Community is so important to the body of Christ because we can encourage one another, we can build each other’s faith, and we can testify about God’s faithfulness and comfort when hearts break. Our pain becomes treasure for others when we allow God to comfort us.
Remember God’s Love
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3
Overcoming rejection involves remembering that God’s love never ends. Rejection can trick us into believing that we are unlovable, especially when we seem to experience rejection often. When we don’t believe we are loved, it’s difficult to extend and receive love. But God loves us with a love that lasts—it never ends, it doesn’t diminish, and it doesn’t dismiss.
Check Your Motives
And whatever you do, in word of deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
Checking our motives and submitting them to the Lord helps us in overcoming rejection. When we experience rejection, we can be tempted to reject others as payback. Maybe we want someone to know what it feels like, so we subconsciously choose behaviors that disregard another person. When we experience hurt and don’t address it, that pain gets expressed somehow. By inviting the Holy Spirit into the depths of our hearts and letting him sift our motives, our actions will align with God’s word, bringing him glory.