I think that everyone who has made it through middle school has faced some form of rejection. The feelings of not fitting in and the constant pressure to conform to some undefined standard are difficult to navigate, especially if one does not have an adult to walk beside him to assure him that those feelings are normal, and will pass.
As adults, we can look back with the understanding that the rejection and put-downs came from other middle schoolers who were just as confused and scared as we were. But in the moment, it was hard to realize that those cool kids really didn’t have life figured out.
So in that moment, the taunts and put-downs hurt a lot and were very confusing. As one of the consequences of living in a fallen world, Middle School is just something that we have to endure.
Fast forward to adulthood. There are times when we find rejection in places where we should never find it. I’m thinking of our biological families and our churches. Neither of these institutions should be a place where we are ostracised or treated badly, but sadly, some families and some churches are not loving environments and the result is hurt and confusion.
Because those two institutions should be environments where hurt and rejection should be minimal or nonexistent, when it happens, it seems to make the pain more intense. People spend years working through the hurts caused by irresponsible parents and church leaders. I know for a fact that those hurts run deep.
That’s the bad news.
For the believer in Jesus, here is the good news.
Jesus knows what it is like to be rejected by those who should have welcomed him. The Apostle John writes:
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 1:11–13, ESV
Jesus was rejected by the very people who should have recognized him as their Messiah, King, and Savior. He felt that same sense of being an outcast, he understands what it is like to be on the outside looking in. He is a Savior that understands what it is like to be us. He understands what it takes to work through the rejection without becoming bitter or numb.
So, we can bring those hurts to Jesus in prayer and release those who perpetrated the hurt into Jesus’ hands. Those who were in authority will have to answer to Jesus for their failure to protect those who were given into their care.
I have learned that I can trust that Jesus is big enough to take care of the hurt and deal with those who caused it.
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