Introduction: The now infamous Lance Armstrong once said, “A boo is a lot louder than a cheer.” And he hit the nail on the head, because no one wants to be rejected. It can make you conclude what Oprah Winfrey said, “I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me” because no one wants the door slammed in their face. But have you ever considered the fact that rejection can help you to grow spiritually? If you’ve ever been rejected you are on the list with people like Thomas Edison who was told by his teachers that he “was too stupid to learn anything” and Albert Einstein who did not speak until he was four; did not read until he was seven and his teachers actually dismissed him as being mentally handicapped. And more up to date you have joined the likes of Mr. Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard; his first company failed miserably but now his Microsoft Company is a global giant.
How should we deal with or respond to rejection? It’s a very good question especially when it comes to the Church.
Rejection is one of the devil’s favorite tools to use against people. He’s always going about planting seeds of rejection, but the devil is a liar because he really has no power over us when we know who we are in Christ. The old folk used to say that, “God doesn’t make any junk” and the text deals with our response to being rejected and gives us some insight as to how we can and should deal with it. In the text, Jesus goes back to preach and teach in his own hometown, and the people there—his own neighbors—refuse to accept his teaching. Mind you, it’s not like they aren’t listening to the message—they are. They acknowledge that he is speaking with wisdom and acting with power, but they reject him anyway! They got hung up over His social status. They were no different than today’s Church because in today’s Church social status is a big thing, in fact it is a very big thing.
Some people today join churches because of the popularity of the pastor and never mind his character; they just want the privilege of saying that my pastor is Rev. Dr. so and so; he’s known all over the United States, he has PhD in this and PhD in that . Some people today join churches because of the high-profile membership of that Church, because of all the doctors and lawyers, etc. who are in attendance there. Jesus was just a carpenter’s son; He was not a part of the Pharisee; He was not considered among the upper class and most of the people He hung out with were fishermen. His credentials were not good enough for them and so they rejected Him. In fact, they knew Him when..., usually you don’t have much a chance with people knew you when..., you’re plain old Joe to them.
Here He was in the synagogue, a carpenter trying to teach us something about God and Law? Must have been the prevalent thought among those in attendance, it’s true today that many people judge others by their education, success, achievement, name, wealth, prestige, roots, fame, position, and heritage. And Jesus’ humble beginning was just not good enough for them. To them, He had an average father (Joseph) with an average mother (Mary) neither parent had achieved any prominence nor have any of their children risen above any of the other children there in Nazareth. How could Jesus possibly be who He was claiming to be: the Messiah, God’s very own Son? It's just human nature that others place us in question sometimes. If your neighbor became very famous righteously. You would be hesitant to accept this honor for him as you know a lot about him and can think of a reason that he does not deserve such honor. Maybe he crossed you in some way at one time. You would think, you mean to tell me Jim next door received such an honor as this? Concerning Jesus, people would say he is just the carpenter’s son in an insignificant little town. This is exactly why Nathaniel asked the question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
The Bible says that, “He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” And so, if you have ever been rejected you are not only listed among Edison, Einstein, and Gates—you are listed with the Savior of the world, the Son of God Himself!
1.) IT’S NOT WHAT MAN SAYS ABOUT YOU
If they should treat you as if you’re a nobody in the Church, please don’t be alarmed. Because it is not about what and who they say you are, people will try and place you in a box, but that’s only if you let them. Whenever they say that you’re a nobody, God counteracts what they say, and He wants you to know that to Him you are somebody. And He knows, because He created you; He knows, because He’s the only One qualified to judge you. God says that you’re so special to Him that He even sent His own Son to die for your sins. We are all made from the dirt, and when they criticize you and talk about you it only amounts to dirt talking dirt about dirt.
Rejection is dangerous, it can make you feel as if you are all alone, so many young people in our schools today have felt and are feeling the blunt of rejection. When you are young, you especially would like to feel included, it is difficult to be all by yourself while watching others hanging out with one another and totally ignoring you; even worse belittling you. But when or if it happens, remember this story of how they even rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice in the text, there in verse 5 what Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his home” think about it, they could have received healing that day—but they rejected Him so much until they did not even allow Him to do great wonders on their own behalf. The choice is ours, we can either shrink Christ down to our own human understanding and thereby reject Him or we can surrender to Him and allow Him to be our Lord and Savior.
It was not what man said about Christ, but what God His Father said about Him; He said that, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” when you’re dealing with rejection you should always remind yourself that you are in the very same company of Jesus Christ. First and foremost, you should seek God’s favor as oppose to the favor men. Man will lift you up one day and throw you under the bus the very next day.
2.) SEEKING THE FAVOR OF GOD
It is human, very human in fact to desire the approval of man. We start at an early age in seeking such an approval, we want our parents to approve of us, we want our instructors in school to approve of us, we want our employers to approve of us, we want our fellow Church members to approve of us, we want the pastor to approve of us, we want our family and friends to approve of us, and this is very normal. But while seeking their approval, we sometimes overlook the greatest need for God Himself to approve of us, because if God approves of us, no one else’s approval really matters.
God’s acceptance of you is much more important than man’s approval. It is sad to say, but many people have died and headed for an eternal death in hell and prior to their death they had the earthly approval of man. Many people approved of Osama bin Laden within the radical Muslim community (note* not within the general Muslim faith), many people approved of Sadam Hussein there in Iraq, and Adolph Hitler had the dedicated and loyal approval of Nazi Germany.
But the approval that these men received only served to help them during their life on earth rather than life eternal. When these men and others like them stand before God (and they will stand before Him) they will have to give an account of themselves. In fact, the people who have rejected you and offended you, regardless of who they might be, will also have to give an account to God concerning their treatment of you. It’s almost impossible, if not impossible to go through life without feeling some sort of rejection. A newborn starts to cry if they feel as if mommy is not giving them their full and extremely required attention, even these sweet little bundles of heavenly joy experience the sad feeling of rejection.
Rejection comes in various forms, a physical flaw you may have (mine is male-pattern baldness), an emotional hurt, the death of a loved one, divorce, or even a childhood experience that has stayed on your mind for years. But again, if you seek God’s favor by living the kind of life, He created you to live you can overcome everything else. Why? Because He already said that He would never leave you.
3.) “I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS”
This promise made by Jesus Christ during His resurrection is one of my favorite promises of the Lord in all of the Bible. The reason why it is one of my favorites is because whenever I feel alone it reassures me that have the Lord by my side. Regardless of how we may feel, because sometimes we may feel that He is not with us, sometimes we may feel as if He has forgotten about us or He is not even paying attention to what is going on in our life at the time, and the situation we are experiencing at the moment has the appearance that He has abandoned us when actually He was there all of the time, the keyword here is ’feel" just because we ’feel’ like something is a certain way never means that it is actually that way it’s a feeling, if His eyes is on the sparrow, what we call a “Che-Che bird” here in Texas, you can rest assure that He is deeply concerned about you.
The fact is you and I are never alone. God is constantly with you, look at it this way, if God left you—you would surely know it by now. Because to be without God it is extremely noticeable, because He is an integral part of life, He is life, life (plant, insect, beast, or human) could not come into being without God. My Bible says, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made," Never mind what the atheist says because “only a fool says within his heart that there is no God” but God is real! And please make sure that you keep this in mind when you are rejected. Jesus when His own neighbors rejected him didn’t hang around trying desperately to make them accept Him. Why? Because He knew that His Father was in control of the situation, and He realized it was because of the anointing He had. That’s right, sometimes you have an anointing that scares the daylight out of Satan, and he will use others to attack you, even people who are members the very Church you attend, how sad. Jesus didn’t keep talking to those who rejected Him. He didn’t try to convince them to accept His message, if you notice He left them alone and continued to go about His Father’s business. I’m not saying that you walk away from those who are rejecting you. But I am saying to not let them keep you down, because you are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and you are wondrously and marvelously made!
Don’t walk away from Church because you’ve been hurt, if you belong to a Church, any Church you’re feelings are going to be hurt at one time or another, just count the sunsets and it will happen, please, please don’t fall into a depression because of being rejected, because you will only cheat yourself out of what God really wants you to do and it’s (rejection) really not worth your soul salvation in the first place. Jesus left because He had to be about His Father’s business and so He just let the message that He gave them stand—it was up to them to accept it or reject it. And so how do we deal with rejection? We go to God and get His instructions and His guidance as to what we should do, it is actually as simple as that.
The story was told of a young preacher who was rejected by the other associate ministers of the Church he attended. They said very little to him and would often talk behind his back. One day he went to the pastor and expressed his intentions of leaving the Church and seeking membership somewhere else because he was deeply affected by the rejection he received. He said to the pastor, “I don’t know what I’ve done to make these fellows dislike me so much” he said, “I really want to be a part of their fellowship and I’ve done everything I possibly could to be a friend to them but for some reason they keep on rejecting me”. The pastor was a wise and seasoned man of God and he said to the young preacher “Why don’t you look out the window for a moment and tell me what you see?”
The young preacher said, “I see two trees, I see a china-berry tree and a pecan tree.” The pastor said, “Look a little harder and tell me what you see?” The young preacher said, “Well, I see a lot of sticks and rocks around the pecan tree but it is very clean around the chinaberry tree, there’s nothing but green grass around china-berry as a matter fact” the pastor said, “Then that’s your answer, the reason why you don’t see sticks and stones around the chinaberry tree is because that tree doesn’t have anything that people want. But it’s different with the pecan tree, people throw things at it because they want what it has.” If you have the favor of God and an anointing, it is quite possible that people will throw some things at you that you really don’t want.
And so when you feel you just don’t belong, go to God with your concern, because for sure with Him you are 100% welcome. In our text, Jesus did not allow rejection to stop Him from doing what God called Him to do—He immediately sends the disciples out into the villages to preach and teach and heal. And in verse 11 of this sixth chapter He even tells His disciples, “If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
What exactly did Jesus mean? I believe He meant for them to not allow their egos to get in the way; not to become angry or bitter and not to keep trying to convince people to accept them because most of the time when others reject us it is done to feed their own ego, rejection is dangerous, very dangerous. If we allow it to fester, if we allow it to attach itself to us, we allow the very people who reject us to control us as well. And I don’t know about you but the only One I will allow to have control of my life is God Himself. Amen.