“… He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:2,3)
There are some people who are not going to give us the time of day. From the get-go they are not interested in us and what we have to give. But then there are others who “give us a try.” They “check us out,” hanging around for a while. It’s when these people leave, that we can feel most down. The rejection is worse because we feel we haven’t been “good enough” for them. We see ourselves through their eyes. Obviously, they have “weighed us in the balance” and in some way “found us wanting.”
It would be nice to know why people give us the thumbs down (or maybe it wouldn’t.) Usually, people just disappear. They abruptly drop off the table – without a word. We can only wonder what we did or didn’t do to “turn them off.” Jesus had a similar experience when He preached a message which didn’t sit too well with a bunch of once-eager disciples who suddenly “unfollowed” Him. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66) Ultimately, Jesus knew that His word had a way of offending some who initially sprung up with promise. As He said, they “endure for a time,” but by and by they stumble over what the word is calling them to do. Jesus did not run after them. He trusted that those who had ears to hear, and the Father had given Him, would come and would stay.
The deeper the connection we have had with someone, the more painful it is when they abandon us. The time came when even Christ’s most devoted disciples left Him. The worst form of rejection is betrayal. We thought we knew someone. We thought they loved us, cared for us, would be faithful to us, and then we find out – they left for something better in their eyes. The people chose Barabbas over Jesus. Judas chose money over Jesus. Peter chose himself over Jesus. The solace of the Son was that even when all left Him, He would not be alone. “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32)
The suffering in Christ’s life crescendoed on the cross. There man’s rejection of Him reached its peak. As He hung there, man rendered his final verdict: “… he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isa. 53:2) While others turned away in revulsion, Mary lovingly beheld him from the foot of the cross. This was a face “only a mother could love” – a face “marred more than any man.” (Isa. 52”14) But beyond the love of His mother, the sacrificial life of this obedient Son was a sweet smelling savor to His Father in heaven. And the knowledge of this acceptance with the Father enabled the Son to endure the cross and despise its shame. (Heb. 12:2)
Are we willing to share the testimony of Christ? What is His testimony?
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
God orchestrated the life of Christ. Jesus knew what was ahead for Him when He left heaven’s safe haven. He did not come into the world to be universally adored and received by men. Quite the opposite: He was and still is an utter “turn off” to the mass of humankind. But to those who can see what God sees, who look upon the heart rather than the outward appearance, this Man of Sorrows is precious and worth all the world to know and win. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He knows the pain and sorrow we feel when we face rejection. But He wants us to feel the comfort and joy He felt when heaven opened up and He heard: “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Yes, rejection can hurt like hell. But when you feel its sting: remember to see yourself through God’s eyes. Heaven’s embrace heals the brokenhearted.