Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14 NLT
Rejection hurts, and focusing beyond rejection can hurt even more.
My devotion appeared on a Canadian website for which I was a monthly writer. As usual, I received many encouraging comments from readers, telling me how much they enjoyed the devotion. They also shared things from their lives to which the devotion related.
But amid the positive came the negative. The reader wanted to respond the day of my devotion but couldn’t because she thought her comments should be positive and encouraging—and hers wouldn’t have been. So, she waited until the next day. She zeroed in on my statement that God was our only true Comforter. She had needed much encouragement but found it through interaction with others who consoled her in other ways. She couldn’t believe I would discount their efforts. She wondered if I had ever experienced grief. Of course, I didn’t intend to discredit how others comfort us. I merely said that when all is said and done, no person can give us the kind of comfort God can.
Through experience, I’ve learned not to respond to critical comments, so I let the email go without a response. Her words, however, haunted me. Satan has a way of making our minds go to the negative rather than the positive. The next day, I received another email from the same reader, offering her apologies and asking for my forgiveness.
She had been leafing through a book of devotions she had collected—devotions that had meant a great deal to her in her time of sorrow. Among them was one I had written some time before. One that related to a several-year period in my life when one grief after another overwhelmed me and led to depression. Suddenly, she saw what I said in a different light. I quickly emailed her, giving my forgiveness and telling her I would gladly pray for her emotional healing.
Paul knew about rejection. Many accepted the message of salvation through Jesus Christ that he proclaimed—but many rejected it, and him. He was hounded, jailed, and eventually killed. Yet, his focus aimed forward to the One who accepted him and had an eternal place reserved for him.
Not taking rejection personally helps us deal with it more healthily. Rejection is often not about us. It wasn’t Paul the people didn’t like, but the message he preached. It wasn’t me the reader disliked, but she misunderstood one statement. Rather than outright rejecting the message, I’ve learned to look at the criticism and try to discover at least one positive thing I can learn from it. Criticism often contains some element of truth.
Some will simply not like us for assorted reasons: our personality, our appearance, our economic status, our family. God created us as we are, and some things we simply can’t change. But we can know that God never rejects us even if others might.
Don’t let rejection derail you as you pursue what God wants you to do. Keep going . . . and trusting God.
Prayer: Father, when rejection comes, turn our eyes to You, the One who never rejects us.
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