Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The pain of rejection.

on flickr by KatLevPhoto
Rejection hurts, actually rejection is probably one of the most intense and overwhelming emotions we feel. In a wave it seems to encompass everything we are and denies us the ability to focus on anything else.

Whether it's not being accepted for a job offer, having a relationship end, not getting into the university you wanted or being betrayed by a friend I think rejection is the most intense emotion (at least in a negative sense) that we experience.  I know for me when I feel a real sense of rejection I feel physical pain, it shoots down my left arm and my left hand aches. I remember feeling this as a child, I kind of knew (even as a kid) the pain in my hand was a signal I was really sad or affected by what was going on and not just being an annoying child - even today I feel that pain in my hand and know I need to exit whatever I am doing and compose myself, or deal with whatever is happening.  No other emotion elicits a physical pain like this for me.

But why?  Why do we feel rejection so intently? Why does it cause us such emotional distress?

Because there is one rejection that will kill us - one so important that we never ever EVER want to experience it;
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? ' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. '
~Matthew 7:21-23
"Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. ' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
~Matthew 25:45-46
Being rejected by Jesus sends you to eternal punishment, to the final death, to the lake of fire, to pain, suffering and complete separation from God.

I truly believe that rejection hurts us so bad because that horrible feeling is a foundation to drive us away from being rejected by Jesus.
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. "
~2 Peter 3:9
Jesus doesn't want to reject anyone - but He is holy, just as God is holy, for they are one, and that means that anyone who isn't made holy cannot be where God is, cannot have a relationship with God, in a sense must be rejected by God on the basis of their unholiness.  And because of sin, we are all unholy - we will never met that expectation of perfection, of Godliness, that God expects and created the world with.  In moments of honesty you must acknowledge this to be true, that if God expects you to be completely set apart to His ways, then you have failed terribly.

In that sense we all face that ultimate rejection in the future, because we have not completely done 'the will of our Father who is in heaven' (Matt 7:21).  Praise God though that He does not want to reject us, so much so that He came to earth and lived the completely holy life that He expects of us, but then He died anyway.  Jesus was rejected, so much so He was beaten, mocked and then brutally killed.  Jesus experienced rejection when He in no way deserved it.  More than that, while on the cross Jesus had all of our sin thrown on Him and with that stain which we caused sitting on Him He was rejected by God; "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46).

Because Jesus experienced that rejection in our place, that means we don't have to be rejected anymore.  Romans 10:9 says "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved." Saved from what?  From that ultimate rejection.  It is our repentance (which Peter says in the verse above is what Jesus wants us all to reach for) of those sins that hung on Jesus on the cross that brings us to the point of having a faith that He is our Lord, that He can save us, that He did take that rejection for us.

That's why I believe the rejection we feel throughout our life crushes us, but not eternally, instead it serves to give us just a small taste of what rejection from God feels like... and because that small taste is so horrible we realise it is the rejection from God we really need to worry about.

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