Have you ever been rejected? Have you ever wanted to talk to someone and had them say, "Leave me alone!"? Has anyone ever told you, "I hate you!"? Do you ever call and leave a message, and your call is not returned? Do you ever want affection and your spouse has a headache?
Rejection, it's part of living. Does anyone like it? I sure don't. Why does one person reject another? I think it's because we're selfish. We don't want to be bothered. We want to be left alone. We don't want to deal with situations we're not comfortable with. We don't see the other person as a human being precious to God, Who loves that person totally and commands us to love him as well. We only see that it is not advantageous to us to love that person, so we don't.
Has anyone besides me noticed that there's a shortage of real love among God's people? I think everyone is looking for love, and it's not easy to find. If we, the children of God, would begin to truly love one another, love wouldn't be so hard to find. The kids wouldn't be turning to drugs and pre-marital sex. The bars would be empty. I am amazed at how preoccupied most Christians are with their own little soap operas while the people around them are dying and starving for love.
This thing called rejection, How sad it is! If you like this brother's teaching, another brother regards you as an enemy. If you play this style of music, you can't play at that church. If you dress this way, speak in tongues, or don't speak in tongues, you believe in divine healing or in modern medicine, it's all a big deal to most Christians. "What church do you attend?" they ask. You answer and they get a funny look on their face.
The question I have for everyone I meet in the Body of Christ is, do you love me? Most believers feel like it's up to me to be "loveable." If I believe the same way they do and conform to their code of conduct, they might love me just a little after a while. If I don't conform, they'll avoid me. Of course, at a church meeting, they'll shake my hand or even hug me and say, "How's it going?" They want to "appear" to be righteous for their audience, but the dirty truth is, they find me objectionable. They don't love me. Now, there is no possibility whatsoever that a person who rejects me will call me at my home later and say, "Brother David, I perceive there is strife between us, and it grieves me. Can we get together and talk?" That will never happen because the other person feels justified in not loving me. It's my fault. I didn't satisfy his requirements. Something about me isn't right. If only I would change.
Jesus said the two great commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do we, as the Body of Christ, do this? I don't think so. There are millions of believers that have left the local church they were attending, some have even stopped going altogether, because they feel the level of love and acceptance they found was too low. More and more, local churches are trying to appease the people with popular Christian songs, upbeat massages, programs, books, teen ministries, singles' ministries, children's ministries, senior ministries, home groups, men's group, women's groups, divorced groups, singing, dancing, aerobics, and more. A lot of people stay in church because they are involved in one or more of these ministries. Another couple leaves because their gifts have been rejected and someone else has been selected. It's pitiful!
While we delude ourselves that Jesus could return at any moment, we live focused on our own needs, our own feelings, and our own goals. We look for the church where we fit in and think it's better than the church we left. We live on a street where there are twenty other Christian families, but we have no idea who they are, because nobody visits anybody in the neighborhood, and everybody wants to be left alone. When we're asked in church, "Who's willing to die for Jesus?" our hand shoots up. When someone three doors down is without food, we don't want to be bothered.
You may not love me at all, but God wants me to love you. It's really as simple as that. God is love, and those who know God must love their neighbor. The lawyer asked Jesus, Who is my neighbor?" because he was looking for a loophole, a way to avoid having to love everyone else. Jesus told him about the priest and the Levite who looked away when a man was in need, and of the kind Samaritan who helped him. He told the lawyer, "go and do likewise."
Love is about action and choices, not feelings and attitudes. The choice is whether to obey God, or go with our feelings, thoughts, and attitudes. It's the battle between the flesh and the spirit. Do we listen to our mind, or do we obey God? I have attended many different churches over the last twenty-two years. These kinds of questions are being asked less and less, it seems. I've been telling people for years, the more they love Jesus, the more they'll love me. You should see the peculiar looks I get.
In Revelation 3:20, we read that Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If anyone hears Him and opens the door, He will come in and dine with that person. You've seen that verse used to
describe Jesus wanting to come into the heart of the unsaved person and save them, right? This is the letter to the church at Laodicea, to believers
. They are neither hot nor cold. They're lukewarm, and Jesus says He'll spew them from His mouth. They think they're rich and have it all together, when they?re really wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Jesus urges them to buy gold from Him, white garments, and to anoint their eyes with eye salve.
Revelation 3:19 reads, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent."
It is here that Jesus acknowledges that He is standing outside knocking on our hearts. I have had a strong sense of Jesus standing outside wanting to come into our local churches, but the leaders of the churches have everything planned for that day, and for the next six months. If the church folk are fairly friendly in their own selective way, the person who is starving for love and affection will have to look elsewhere. In twenty-two years, my wife and I may have received twenty spontaneous lunch or dinner invitations after church. We have invited many more, and many of those had to cancel, and we never got together. Something is wrong!
Now, please don't reject this message and say, "Well Dave's just so negative. Who is he to point his finger like that?" Are you willing to invite me to your house to talk about this? I have a friend who has been without a car over a year. We often let her borrow ours. Our adult children get mad about it when it means they can't have the car, but our friend is stuck at home most of the time if we're not available to help her. We've heard "brothers" and "sisters" talk about how she screwed up, and how she needs to improve as a person. It's shameful. We want Jesus to send her a car (as long as it isn't one of ours).
I'm tired of playing Christian games. I know Philippians 2: 3 says we should esteem others more highly than ourselves. I know that I have to do that, and I really don't mind because obedience is profitable, but rarely do I meet other men or women who act like they know this verse. I seldom meet anyone who thinks I'm equally important. How many people do you know who act like they think you're more important than they are?
So siblings, now that I've stated what I perceive to be a real problem, do I have anything of redemptive value to share, or do I just want to belly-ache? No, I don't just want to belly-ache, but I did want to emphasize that this is your problem, too. Here's the solution, as I see it. We need to reject rejection
! First, we have to realize that when others reject us, God loves and accepts us. The person that rejects us is the one with the problem, and God will deal with that person in His time. We need to forgive those who reject us and ask God whether or not to confront them or respond to their behavior. Rejection hurts, so let's run to the Lord, and let Him comfort and heal us. Then ask for wisdom, and do what He instructs. That's the first thing!
Reject rejection. The second thing is to examine yourself. Who do you reject? Why do you reject them? Ask God to forgive you, and help you change your attitude toward that person. When you are tempted to speak words of rejection, speak words of love instead. Practice when you're lying in bed in the morning. Prepare for the unlovely people you will meet during the day. "Dear Lord, I know You love me, and I really appreciate it. I want to love other people like You do. Will You love them through me today? I don't like being rejected, and no one else does either, so help me to be loving and accepting today. Oh, by the way, I really love You,
Rejection is everyplace we go. Love and acceptance are in short supply. The only way it gets better is if you and I are willing to change. I'm willing. I hate the way things are. I want Jesus to be the center of every meeting, not some man the people practically worship. Yuk!!! I reiterate, I'm willing to be more loving and accepting. I'm praying that I will be. Go and do likewise!