Summary: Rejection is a universal experience that none of us escapes. The words of Jesus in verse 46 of Matthew 27 introduce us to a side of the human drama that will benefit us all: How do I cope with rejection and loneliness?
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Matthew 27:45-47
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Isaiah 53:3
Few magazines do a better job of reporting on sociological trends than USA Today. Last month they reported that the average American life expectancy jumped considerably during the 20th Century. Most of us know of the increase. I wonder how many really know the margin of that increase. Would you believe 30 years?
As people committed to the cause of Christ, this begs a response. What are you going to do with those extra 30 years? Never before has the Christian community had more of an opportunity to impact its world for the cause of Christ.
Few things in life hurt more than rejection. Nobody likes to be turned down, told the job went to someone else, or open the mail to discover your article or joke didn’t make the grade for Reader’s Digest. You know the feeling – disappointment, discouragement.
What does rejection sound like? Well, just listen. Turn off the TV and turn down the CD and listen again. The cries of rejection that produce loneliness are everywhere. Faint cries of rejection and loneliness are all around us. Sitting at a puzzle in the senior retirement community is the cry of silence. They stand out in the libraries and cafeterias of American high schools; it’s a student sitting alone whose parents just transferred to the local Navy base. They’re struggling to emerge as one of the “haves” instead of “have-nots.”
Rejection is the painful realization that our lives are bereft of that much needed contact from others. It’s a universal experience that none of us, from the inside trader on Wall Street to the college student at the University of Washington, escapes. Rejection lingers in the heart of the terrorist from Al Qaeda and the Hollywood film star who is past his/her prime and reduced to bit parts as “the second tall person.”
There they are - the family of four who sleeps in a gated community in the suburbs in 3300 sq/ft of the latest architectural beauty. The class valedictorian who never quite made the grade in life. The aging Miss Washington. Alone. Lonely. Feeling rejected. Daily.
I am here today to encourage the worn and wounded hearts of those whose phone never rings on Friday night. For those whose pastor doesn’t know their name. I am here today to encourage the ones who look in the mirror every morning and see only themselves.
Two types of people ride the subways, stand at the copier, or sit in rush hour traffic listening to talk radio while fighting back the tears and terror of rejection. First are the superstars. Quick to lead and first to speak, you have the funniest joke and the latest hairstyle. The crowd turns and looks and listens when you’re around. Your eye is purposeful. Your calendar is full. Your voice resonates with confidence. But when you’re alone, you would trade it all for authenticity, friendship, and a pace that is real.
Second are the strugglers. Everyone else always gets the breaks. Your name is not Kennedy, it is just Smith or Jones, leaving you feeling like you come from the wrong side of the tracks. You struggle to make eye contact. Your clothes don’t announce a winner, and your looks are so plain that you are hardly even noticed. As Max Lucado says, “Ziggy is your hero and Charlie Brown is your mentor.” (1)
One of the greatest challenges of the modern day Christian is staying balanced. The only way we can do this is to come back to God’s Word to establish our bearings. There is no better-balanced life than that of Jesus Christ; He developed as a whole person.
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
You may be strong in the social arena, enjoying relationships that are unguarded, mature, and open. Perhaps your spiritual life is vibrant and fresh with new insights being gleaned daily and applied to your faith. But when it comes to the emotional you could conceivably be deprived. It is so easy to be emotionally underdeveloped as a Christian. This is the most consistently avoided area in Christian lives.
Rejection is a universal experience that none of us escapes. The words of Jesus in verse 46 of Matthew 27 introduce us to a side of the human drama that will benefit us all: How do I cope with rejection and loneliness?