Dealing with Rejection

Dr. Anthony W. Adams
Dr. Anthony W. Adams

Lance Armstrong said, “A boo is a lot louder than a cheer.” The fact is in our lives we all will face rejection.  Sometimes we are rejected because of our conduct and actions, while other times the reason is much more illusive.  The prophet Samuel faced rejection.

“When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel.  His firstborn son’s name was Joel and his second was Abijah.  They were judges in Beer-sheeba.  However, his sons did not walk in his ways- they turned toward dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.  So all of the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example.  Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have'” (1 Samuel 7:15, HCSB).

The elders first said that Samuel was getting old and maybe it was time for a change.  They also said that his sons were not leading in the way that he led. The boys were not following their father’s example.  It is obvious from the Lord’s remarks that Samuel felt very hurt and rejected (1 Samuel 8:7). He took this rejection as a personal affront to himself.  The elder’s remarks intimated that they were dissatisfied with his leadership.  Evidently they were tired of him.  He had done so much for them and now that he is older they want to get rid of him.  At least that is the way it seemed to come across to Samuel.  The Expositors Bible stated regarding Samuel’s feelings, “It was a personal affront, it was hard to bear.  The whole business of his life seemed frustrated; everything he had tried to do had failed; his whole life had missed its aim.  No wonder if Samuel was greatly troubled” (Blikie, W. G., 1900, p. 114).  The fact is Samuel was facing rejection.  As I said earlier, everyone will face rejection at some time in their lives.  The question is how should the Child of God deal with this rejection.

The first thing we should do is follow Samuel’s example and take this matter to the Lord in prayer.  After Samuel had prayed the Lord helped him to see the matter differently.  “They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king.  They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me” (1 Samuel 8:7-8, HCSB). Very often when we pray to God, he helps us to see our situation in a different light.  There are times when God will show us that this is not something that should concern us. At other times the Lord shows us the things in our lives that need to change.

The second thing we should do is be prepared for rejection.  Jesus told the disciples that they would be rejected by the world.  He reminded them that the world had rejected Him and that the followers were not different than the master.  On one occasion Jesus said, “You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends.  They will kill some of you.  You will be hated by everyone because of my name” (Luke 21: 16-17, HCSB).  You must understand that when you stand for Christ you will stand out from the world, and often this will cause the world to stand against you.

The third thing is to ask God to strengthen us and give us the courage to stand in the face of rejection.  Paul said, “For I m not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16, HCSB). Sometimes in the heat of rejection we will compromise our stance and belief in order to fit in.  An extreme example of this is with Peter, standing by the fires of the enemy, denied not just being a member or disciple of Jesus, but of even knowing Him.  The apostle Paul continually faced rejection and criticism from his countrymen, but God strengthened him and helped him to not be ashamed.

Question:

How should believers handle rejection and the subsequent hurt and pain that is often experienced?