Rejection Hurts, God!

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Have you ever been rejected? Maybe you have been told you aren’t the perfect fit for something. How does it feel when you put your best foot forward to obtain something and the door closes quickly? Have you ever been replaced by someone else? Maybe you are truly needing a window of opportunity because everything else has come to a close. It hurts!

The LORD knows our struggles and He definitely comprehends rejection-to the point of death! Our worldly trials are nothing compared to what He faced. Yet, somehow rejection pain stings like the strike of a scorpion. Why? Possibly because of fear of the future and the mental unknown—maybe caused from us planning our own future and seeing our life the way we want it to go. (Guilty. I often want some kind of input in the equation and I truly dislike doing things I don’t enjoy. ME! ME! ME!)

God has an answer for every rejection we face. However, there are times we don’t understand it nor do we love the situation. It is very easy to go down the pity party pathway and feel like everyone else in the world experiences success except you. That is a lie from the enemy. He is a jerk!

Recently, I have had to face rejection. I truly went to the LORD and asked for His perspective. (He knew I couldn’t rely on my own!) As I sat reading the first chapter of Jeremiah, I found myself captivated by what the LORD was revealing to me.

God laid out His plans for Jeremiah but Jeremiah was afraid of his future. Fear of the unknown. He knew rejection would be his and the world would claim “good reasons” not to listen to him as he claimed God’s prophecy. He went to the LORD with his concerns. Jeremiah noted his weaknesses. He felt unqualified and too unexperienced for the task God had directed. Doubt and fear began to rise.

As I read through chapter one, I found myself in the Scripture. Rejected by the world and feeling as though I can’t meet set standards. Feeling as though the next decade is a career path I don’t want to travel, yet I can’t wait to see where God takes the Refining ministry.

So, I pause…laid my heart open to the Father and said, “Rejection Hurts, God!”. And He gently responded through Scripture in chapter one of Jeremiah:

  1. I have your back! verse 8: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
  2. My plans will happen! verse 12: The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
  3. I will provide & protect you! Verse 19: They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

If you are dealing with rejection, go to God. Dig deep into His Word and ask for His discernment to shine through Scripture. Give yourself a chance to see your story through biblical characters and read several chapters of their experience.

Remember, Psalm 23 and 91 are great starting points to reject the lies of the enemy and to help you see your circumstance through the LORD’s eyes.

Rejection hurts but GOD IS. . .

(May you find the rest of this statement through God’s Word in the days ahead.)

Until we meet again my friend.

Offensives Can Blur Our View-Part 3 (Guest Writer: Sheyanne Brown)

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“Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15

            “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

How can we prevent the hurt we experience from turning into the sin of offense?

When you’re hurting, you need to talk about it with the person who hurt you. Most importantly, the intent of the conversation must be reconciliation. As we see in Matthew 5, God cares more about the state of our hearts than the sacrifices we bring to the altar. He cares less about my faithful church attendance and more about what’s in my heart while I’m in the pew.

It’s not enough to do all the “Christian” things. If it were, the Pharisees and Sadducees would have been pleasing to Jesus because they literally did everything “right.” Jesus chunked a grenade in the middle of their theology when He started calling attention to the condition of their hearts.

Instead of withdrawing when we are hurt, we must go to the person who hurt us and do everything we can to reconcile. It takes a lot of humility to admit you’re hurting. Pride will keep you from “going to your brother,” and that same pride will keep you in sin and outside the presence of God.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6.

But… what happens if you go to your brother, and he refuses to reconcile with you? What if your brother does not see how he has hurt you, and instead inflicts more pain with his prideful resistance of your humble attempt to reconcile? What if you leave the attempt at reconciliation more wounded than when you came in? (Been there, done that, got the t-shirt).

            You forgive. (notice the period)

Forgiveness is a God-created concept, which means you do not have the power to do it on your own without God’s empowering grace. So, rest in knowing He doesn’t expect you to do this by yourself.

Your emotions will never desire to forgive, but that’s ok, because forgiveness doesn’t begin in your emotions anyway. Forgiveness begins with obedience. Forgiveness is required of every believer, because as we have received unmerited forgiveness from God, so we must give the same undeserved forgiveness to others.

Forgiveness does not mean that what they did wasn’t wrong. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you swing wide the doors of your heart and life to them again. Forgiveness simply means that you release someone of the debt they owe you, and you bless them even when they don’t deserve it.

            “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:27-28

The key to forgiveness is blessing your enemy. If you find yourself on the same hamster wheel of trying to forgive but not feeling like you’re getting anywhere, begin to bless your enemy. Pray God would bless their hearts, their minds, and their bodies. Pray God would heal them and give them favor with Him and man. Pray over them what you would want someone to pray over you.

As you begin to obey the Word, you’ll find your heart will begin to release the hurt… the wounds will begin to heal… and your heart will be kept pure.

This “honeymoon” period at my new church may end and one day I might find myself knee deep in the messiness of life with people and new opportunities for hurt and offense. I’ll find out the Ark of the Covenant is not in the basement after all, and the reality that I am part of a family of imperfect believers will set in.

However, I have come to the place in my life where the most valuable thing I possess is access to the presence of God. I don’t want to go one moment without feeling Him near me and hearing Him speak.

There’s no wound or offense worth keeping compared to fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

I pray you will allow Him to begin softening your heart to His voice, and allow Him to heal the wounds you’ve been protecting. I pray in this place of healing, you’ll experience Him like you never have before.

Offensives Can Blur Our View-Part 2 (Guest Writer-Sheyanne Brown)

REFLECTION BASED ON JONAH

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Jonah had answered a call, preached the Word, and watched the glory fall. Can you imagine watching as everyone in your city falls to their knees in repentance and worship? Can you imagine watching the Holy Spirit blow through and cleanse the land, healing, restoring, and delivering right before your eyes? Jonah saw this very thing. He saw an entire people group turn wholeheartedly to the Lord.

But instead of riding the waves of glory, he found himself alone and angry outside the gates. How was it possible for him to physically be in a place where the glory of God was so overwhelming, yet not experience Him at all?

I can’t really pick on Jonah because I am Jonah. Jonah was offended at the people God had called Him to minister to, and as a result, he missed out on revival. He missed out on what God was doing in the land. He missed out on the healing, the refreshment, the growth. He missed out on the most valuable thing in the world… the tangible presence of Almighty God.

In every church service that I’ve ever attended, God has been there. Whether or not I experienced Him had nothing to do with the location, leadership, or style of worship, but had everything to do with the condition of my heart.  What I discovered through that early morning conversation with Jesus was that I have a responsibility to keep my heart pure, and I’m the only one who can do it.

When we experience wounds, our initial tendency is to withdraw. Withdraw from the people who hurt us, from people who could potentially hurt us, even withdraw from God. The pain makes our head spin, makes us question everything and everyone, causes us to retreat. At the end of the day, it’s just a survival response.

God isn’t mad at us for experiencing or acknowledging pain. Hurt is not your fault, hurt is a natural result of living in a fallen world. Good Christians are going to hurt you. People who love you are going to hurt you, even though they don’t want to. Hurt is going to happen. It’s ok to not be ok, it’s just not ok to stay that way.

If we allow our hearts to stay in a place of hurt, eventually the wound is going to turn into an offense.

            A better description of offense is bitterness or a grudge. An offended heart holds on to the hurt and refuses to heal. An offended heart finds every reason why its bitterness is justified, and doesn’t mind telling other people about it. An offended heart is heavily guarded against anyone who reminds it of the person who hurt it. An offended heart nurses and rehearses what happened and uses its pain as an excuse. An offended heart cannot grow past the place of its pain.

            When I gave Jesus permission to see into my heart, I realized that I had both hurt and offense living inside. My fresh hurts were beginning to scab over and turn into offenses because I had turned to isolation instead of intimacy. Instead of drawing near to God and his people for healing, I had turned inward into my own feelings and had been nursing my wounds on my own. And if we’re going to be honest… I didn’t want my hurt to heal because if it did then it felt the same as me saying that what “they” did was ok.

My hurts had morphed into offenses, my offenses were sin, and that sin was preventing me from experiencing the presence of God.

In my previous church, I was offended at some of the people in the room. I didn’t expect to experience God because I didn’t expect that God would move through the people I didn’t like. (Does this sound like Jonah?)

I would enter church with an impure heart, and my experience would then further justify my feelings. I wasn’t feeling God’s presence, and I thought it was because He wasn’t there.

When I came to Freedom Fellowship and began experiencing the Lord, it was because no one in the room had hurt me and I was not offended at anyone. I expected to experience God, and I did.

My heart breaks at the realization that all that time I spent not feeling or hearing God could have been prevented if I had just kept my heart pure.

I would like to propose that God desires to manifest Himself to His people. I would like to propose that God is always speaking, is never silent, and is always present where two or more are gathered in His name. I would like to propose that the lack of revival in American churches has much to do with the offended state of the hearts of the people that fill the pews. When we turn on the switch of offense, we create a block in the current of the Holy Spirit. But when we repent and forgive, we remove the block and allow the Holy Spirit to move in and through us.

As we well know, hurt is unavoidable.

There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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