Healing from the Reeling of Rejection

Published 6:59 am Monday, November 6, 2023

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By R.A. Mathews

Have you ever had one of those weeks when it seems everyone was critical of your work? Or perhaps you felt rejected by a friend or even bullied by a group?

For me, it’s “the ladies.” These are women who discuss me and not in a nice way. They do it when I am within earshot. 

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The ladies are truly a blessing, reminding me to turn the other cheek, teaching me the depths of forgiveness. Even so, it can hurt.

When you’re rejected, know first that Jesus couldn’t catch a break. He was criticized by well-respected men, even His miracles. John’s disciples also went after Him. Here are the moments just in Matthew’s Gospel:

  1. “…tax collectors and sinners came and began dining with Jesus … when the Pharisees saw this, they said, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:10-11)
  2. “Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?’” (Matthew 9:14)
  3. “After the demon was cast out … the Pharisees were saying, ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.’” (Matthew 9:33-34)
  4. “(When Jesus’) disciples … began to pick the heads of grain … the Pharisees (said), ‘Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath!’” (Matthew 12:1-2)
  5. “Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ … and it was restored to normal … But the Pharisees conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. (Matthew 12:13-14)
  6. “Then a demon-possessed man … was brought to Jesus, and He healed him … (and) the Pharisees … said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’” (Matthew 12:22-24)
  7. “The Pharisees and scribes … said, ‘Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’” (Matthew 15:1-2)
  8. “Then the Pharisees plotted together how they might trap Him … ‘Is it permissible to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?’” (Matthew 22:15-18)

When I felt the pain of rejection this week, I could hear Handel’s music from the Messiah in my head. “He was despised, despised and rejected. Rejected of man. A man of sorrows…”

Music is always a great comfort.

Where did Handel get those words? That’s the wonderful part! 

Handel took that prophecy about Jesus from Scripture. Isaiah wrote those words some 700 years B.C. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3 KJV)

 If you want to be washed in Scripture, listen to Handel’s Messiah. When I was a younger writer, I could freeze under the pressure of a deadline. 

Listening to the Messiah took away my fear. Instead of thinking, “I can’t get this finished,” the Scripture in Handel’s Messiah empowers me.

When you feel rejected, know that Jesus walked that path. Reach for music to comfort your soul. But you can also go online and listen to Christian counselor June Hunt as she talks on “Getting Past Rejection and Healing the Wounded Heart.” 

Hunt speaks about a cycle of rejection. She says rejection causes anger which can be turned on yourself or turned onto others. You may not realize why you’re angry. Essentially, you can let bullies turn you into a bully.

I know a woman who was bullied in school. Usually she’s lovely, but then there are mean streaks. I know it’s that anger she still has inside from her childhood. 

I also suspect that’s true about “the ladies.” It helps me to understand them when I realize they were likely bullied as children.

June Hunt says three wonderful things about healing rejection. I have written about all of these in my columns over the years, but Hunt puts them in a nice package. 

First, forgiveness. As I said, people who are mean can bring you closer to God as you pray for them.

Second, truth. Hunt says God wants you to have “freedom and victory.”  Know that He created you with a purpose in mind. You are special—do not let anyone define your worth. 

It’s easy to see yourself in the eyes of others, but look to God and listen. Ask to see who you are in His eyes. 

Take rejection to the Lord in prayer. Along with the Messiah, the music “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is a big part of my life.

Her third point is to reach out to others. That’s not always possible, but when you can help someone, it brings joy.

Know that Jesus is always the answer when you hurt. Take it to the Lord.