Friday, September 23, 2011
Today’s Topic: Rejected
Today’s Text: Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
I really don’t like to think about it. I’d rather not be reminded of it. Every ounce of self-protection in me screams for pain like that to be avoided. My flesh tries to convince me that I will never allow it to happen again, and in far too many cases the flesh wins. But the Spirit of the Living God in me says it will happen, and in fact it must happen to experience the fullness of Christ’s resurrection power.
This pain is caused by one thing – rejection: being despised by people for what I do, what I say, or just for who I am. It’s horrible. I’ve experienced it and I hate it. I have had people hide their faces from me, and it cuts to the core of my being. Sometimes my actions and words demanded correction, but never did I expect the people who were supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ to treat me so hatefully. It’s one thing to be rejected because of an unrepentant heart, which may in some cases be justified by Scripture, but never should a person be despised just because we believe they have wronged us.
I’m not sure we understand how selfish it is to focus on how we have been wronged. It’s downright dysfunctional and sinful to focus on our hurts and then respond with hate towards the person who hurt us. Jesus is the proof of that. He came in love to save the sinful souls of mankind. They didn’t like what He said. They took His words as threats to their comfort zones. They despised Him and rejected Him. He suffered at their hands. He was hurt by them. Yet He never responded with hate. In fact, in the midst of the worst rejection anyone could ever experience, while hanging on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive them.
We have all been hurt. We have all been rejected. We may have even experienced the sorrow and pain of being considered dead to someone. Being despised is horrible. But allowing their treatment of us to overwhelm the Spirit of God in us so that we return the hurt will eventually cause more pain than the original rejection. When we suffer at the hands of men, we must focus on the fact that we are secure in the hand of God.
My friends, the day has arrived – the day Jesus promised would come – when at the hands of secular culture those who stand for the truth will be despised and rejected. We have three choices:
- We can stop standing for the truth and compromise our lives with the world so the culture will accept us;
- We can return hurt for hurt, and do harm to those who harm us;
- We can consider ourselves blessed to suffer as Christ did, and return love to whomever rejects us.
Just think of the emotional energy we will conserve if we choose option #3. Imagine the physical stress that will be avoided by choosing option #3. But greater than both of those combined is the fact that by choosing option #3, we will be avoiding spiritual darkness in our lives and keeping our enemy the Devil from establishing a foothold in our lives.
I choose Option #3. No longer will I allow my love for self to dictate my response to people’s treatment of me. No longer will my response be one of vengeance. No longer will I model to others that I really love me most by even secretly wishing that something bad will happen to those who hurt me. NO…I will choose this day and every day to stand with my Savior, secure in His eternal acceptance of me, knowing that He will never reject me, and that I will experience more of His resurrection power every time I suffer as He did. May everyone who ever hurts me or rejects me see only the love of God in me.