But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13)
I opened my bible, tearfully searching for some comfort in my daily reading plan. Instead this truth stared right back at me. My heart ached, my body and mind felt numb from the sting of loneliness and rejection. I felt abandoned. Losing a friendship, by your choosing or not, involves a mourning period. Maybe you have felt rejected, maybe you chose to take a step back, maybe it was a bit of both. No matter how you spin it, losing a friend can be incredibly painful.
I wanted to stay angry with those who hurt me. I wanted to cry and cry and dwell on the pain in my heart from feeling forgotten or overlooked. But when Jesus met me with this scripture I was knocked to my knees. He has shown me so much grace in the face of rejection– who am I to hold onto my sadness and not show every bit of grace, love, and humility that he showed me? Maybe I am gossiped about, left out, or wronged by others, but He calls me to imitate Him by offering my other cheek. It’s a hard lesson, full of lots of trial and error and even more pain.
‘For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.’ (Matthew 6:14-15)
I am praying I learn to love those around me the way He has shown His immeasurable love to me. I pray I can show the type of grace and forgiveness He daily lavishes upon me. I simply pray I can become more like Him.
Though the pain of rejection makes me feel alone and not worth loving, Jesus calls out, breaking through the lies. He is challenging me to stop like looking to others for the love and acceptance only He can provide.
Sisters, don’t doubt your worth because of the sting of rejection. Especially when those who hurt you claim His name. His love is what makes us whole. He chases us down and pursues His bride. His love for us is more than we can imagine.
I think of David in the Psalms, his prayers and supplications are desperate pleas for God to not forget him, to defend him, to comfort him in his deep pain. I identify so much with the frantic prayers of David. One moment he is in despair, practically cursing God, saying he feels totally alone. The very next moment he is rejoicing because he realizes he serves a Lord bigger than rejection, pain, evil, mood swings, loneliness, hunger, thirst, loss.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for You. (Psalm 25:16-21)
If we allow others’ rejection define us or make us feel unworthy, we are seeking love from the wrong place. Why do we strive after tiny morsels of love and worth when Jesus provides more than we could ever hope for? He is the one who we must look to for validation, love, and healing. When we look to our friends, our husbands, our children, or our parents we may be disappointed or downright broken-hearted. God puts people in our lives (and removes them) but we are never to put them in His place.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that
I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)