A Guest Blog by Rachel Lee
There I sat, in a cold, sterile office seated across from two prominent figures from my church.
My husband sat next to me, his hand on my knee, offering me the only comfort he possibly could—his gentle touch.
Saying with his actions, “I know. I heard. I am with you.”
The room began to swim as I tried frantically to grasp the reality of what my ears were hearing.
I shivered. Was it the cold room? Or her icy stare from across the table?
Time stood still. In reality, it had only been a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity.
My friend sat opposite me at the table—stone-faced.
Staring. Waiting. Her silence coaxing me to respond.
But how do you respond to someone who has just told you all the reasons for her pent-up resentment towards you?But how do you respond to someone who has just told you all the reasons for her pent-up resentment towards you?
The pain of rejection was sharp.
Why hadn’t she come to me sooner?
We could have met over a warm cup of coffee, as we had done many times before. Out of love and mutual respect, we could have talked openly and honestly. Maybe had a good cry, exchanged hugs, and kept our friendship intact.
But there was little hope of that now.
The hurt ran deep.
For the following days, weeks, and months I struggled to wrap my mind around the events of that night.
My memory was like a cruel tape stuck on replay. I must have relived the assault on my heart a thousand times over.
Have You Been Wounded by Rejection?
Friends, I know what it feels like to be rejected by someone you love.
To feel ambushed, punched in the gut, and stabbed in the heart—all in the same breath.
To be slandered, excluded, and ignored.
To walk into a room and feel the weight of other’s stares heavy on your back.
So many of us have been wounded by those we love.
By friends, family, co-workers, church members…
Sadly, there is something about being wounded by your church family that seems to hurt far worse than being wounded by those outside the church.
We simply expect more out of believers.
When the very crux of what we preach is love, we expect other Christians to love us best.
When they fail to do so, it leaves us questioning both the church and ourselves.
Knowing how to respond to rejection is tricky, especially within the walls of the church.
We know that we ought to respond to rejection in love, but what does that look like exactly?
Thankfully, the Bible gives us clear examples and instruction about how to love well when facing rejection.Thankfully, the Bible gives us clear examples and instruction about how to love well when facing rejection.
Here are seven biblical truths that helped me navigate that challenging situation I shared above.
I hope they help you too!
7 Biblical Truths to Help You Recover from Rejection
1. Acknowledge and Repent
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24)
Very rarely is hurt between two persons caused by only one individual.
Is it possible you have a part to play?
When someone lashes out, it’s typically because they have been hurt themselves. Even if the hurt they experienced was not intentional, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t still cause pain.
Search your heart.
Ask the Lord to reveal anything that might be yours to own, and then acknowledge it, repent for it, and ask for forgiveness.
2. Forgive Quickly
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!” (Matthew 18:22)
A seed of bitterness doesn’t take long to grow roots. Drown it before it has an opportunity to start.
While forgiving an offense is often easier said than done, it is possible. It may not be a “one and done” deal. You may have to revisit the act of forgiving over and over again, until it finally succumbs.
Don’t give up. Keep at it.
Remember, just because you forgive a person, doesn’t excuse the offense, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to trust them again.
Forgiveness does so much more than simply release the offender from the effects of our resentment.
It ultimately releases us in the process, setting us free to live a life of peace.Forgiveness does so much more than simply release the offender from the effects of our resentment. It ultimately releases us in the process, setting us free to live a life of peace.
3. Receive and Extend Grace
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Understand that everyone is fighting a hard battle of their own. You have no way of knowing what your offender has been through, or is currently going through.
It is important to remember that the body of Christ is made up of imperfect people.
You and I included.
Choosing to believe that there is good inside of every person will help grace to go a long way.
Look for the gold!
If all else fails, remember from whence you came. In the same manner that you have received unmerited grace, be an extension of that grace in abundance.
4. Seek Peace
If at all possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
If you’ve been deeply wounded, it may take some time before the wreckage settles.
Don’t rush reconciliation.
You want your approach to be sincere, not fake or forced, in the event that the pain reemerges, and you have to revisit the issue yet again.
Allow time for God to heal your shattered heart, and then go to your brother or sister, in love.
Remember that reconciliation is not always possible.
As the saying goes, it takes two to tango.
However, God’s Word instructs us to live at peace with others, so take your part in that instruction.
5. Pray Fervently
But I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
It can be quite challenging to convince ourselves to pray for someone who has hurt us deeply, and yet God’s Word clearly instructs us to do just that.
You may find yourself praying with a clenched jaw and tightened fists initially, but there is something peculiar that happens as we pray for our enemies.You may find yourself praying with a clenched jaw and tightened fists initially, but there is something peculiar that happens as we pray for our enemies.
As we pray, our heart begins to soften, and suddenly, before we know it, we’ll find that we actually mean the words to the prayers that we pray!
Start small if you have to, but DO start.
Who knows if your answered prayer on their behalf, won’t somehow bless you in the process!
6. Put on Love
Above all else, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.(1 Peter 4:8)
Love is sacrificial, and dying to one’s self is rarely ever easy.
It’s often messy, complicated, exhausting, and just plain hard.
As Christians, we are called to a higher standard of love than the world has known.
So, when friends reject you, family betrays you, coworkers exclude you, church members slander you… put on love.
For love covers a multitude of sins.
7. Find Comfort in Jesus and the Rejection He Faced
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3)
There’s nothing easy about rejection. It stings.
We can find comfort in remembering that we are not alone in our suffering.
Jesus is well-acquainted with the sorrow and pain of being rejected by those He loved.
Let’s remember that he wasn’t just rejected by strangers, but also those closest to Him.
Yes, Jesus understands rejection at a level so deep that we may never completely understand.Yes, Jesus understands rejection at a level so deep that we may never completely understand.
So, when you feel hurt, and alone, with nowhere to go, press into Him. He is good, and kind, and gentle.
He calls to us in our distress and bids us to draw near; offering our heart a safe place to rest.
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:29)
Take Just One Step Toward Love
Learning to love the unlovely— especially in the wake of rejection– can prove to be challenging.
But with God, all things are possible.
Consider: What is one step you can take today to choose love, despite feelings of rejection?
I invite you to share your thoughts on our Living by Design Facebook page and stay connected with us to receive more resources to help you in your journey.
Together, let’s make a conscious effort towards making big strides in love!
– Rachel Lee
Rachel is married to her best friend of 21 years, and is the mother to their 8 children. Their family makes their home in the beautiful PNW. Some of her loves include a good book, a hot cup of coffee, exploring the outdoors, spending time with family, and all things turquoise. Rachel writes at Be Thee Inspired, where her aim is to passionately pursue Jesus and help to inspire others along the way. Follow Rachel on her social media channels! Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter