Nobody wants to experience rejection.
Of all the things we might want to be good at—getting proficient at dealing with rejection from a friend, co-worker, spouse, or from followers if you are a leader, is not on your relational wish list.
Rejection hurts. It bruises our ego. It messes with our heads. When it happens, we wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” Or we might end up defensive and ask, “What’s wrong with them?” Sometimes we even get frustrated with God and cry out, “How could You let this happen to me?”
However, maybe there are times when it’s wise to consider if rejection can produce anything good in us.
You’re probably thinking, “You’re kidding. Right? Apparently, you’ve never experienced the kind of pain I have!”
I do empathize (more than you know) with your suffering. For those of you who’ve experienced the soul shredding of rejection, I am truly sorry for your heartache.
Nevertheless, what I’m asking you to do is consider what you can learn from that awful experience. You see, when life hits the fan, we can choose to become bitter or better.
Here are some thoughts about how you can become better:
- Choose the slow lane on the high road.
In other words, choose humility. The simple truth is, it’s good for my ego to take a blow occasionally. It’s healthy to be reminded that I’m not as hot, cool, together, gifted, popular or liked as much as I think I am.
Like you, I hate rejection. However, when it happens, rather than focus on the other person’s flaws, it can be an excellent opportunity to be reminded of mine. More than I want to admit, I have a log in my eye, and I tend to think too highly of myself. Maybe you can relate. In my experience, rejection carves away at pride.
- Remember, if you’re not relational, it doesn’t matter how right you may or may not be.
The Apostle Paul said, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Okay, they cast you aside and threw you into a relational dumpster. You can, however, decide to be the bigger person. You can respond rather than react. You don’t have to curse them in return. Instead, you can choose to bless them and forgive as you’ve been forgiven.
Even if you are completely right and the other person is dead wrong, the real challenge is to practice the way of Jesus and maintain relationship as much as possible. You can’t control the other person, but you can control yourself, and it’s better not to reject the rejector. No one who takes the path of peace regrets it.
- See the rejection as another opportunity to knock off some of your rough edges.
Keep in mind; Jesus was despised and rejected by some of His closest friends even though He never did anything wrong. You don’t have to let false accusations stick, and please don’t embrace lies. However, as a Christian, following the One who was abused, falsely accused, beaten, and forsaken—it would seem wise to grow through your suffering as Jesus did. As noted, rejection hurts, but God can use the pain to mold you into the image of His Son. For that to happen, you must let Him chip away at the parts of you that are too much like the old you and not enough like Jesus.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not telling you to look for opportunities to be rejected. I’m not saying that you should put up with emotional abuse either. What I am saying, however, is that when rejection comes (and it will), perhaps a different perspective is needed.
So here’s the bottom line: Even if you’ve been wrongfully and painfully rejected, what happens next is up to you. You can embrace the experience as an opportunity to change and grow.
Remember, Jesus knew the agony of rejection, but he pressed on. I encourage you to do the same.
This is an updated post originally published on Kurt Bubna