As researchers have dug deeper into the roots of rejection, they’ve found surprising evidence that the pain of being excluded is not so different from the pain of physical injury… Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, and sadness. – The pain of social rejection, American Psychological Association

What makes rejection (and many other emotions) interesting is that the brain cannot distinguish between real or perceived rejection. The brain will react whenever a person feels rejected.

This blog always attempts to be logical and practical. The premise of this discussion rests on an agreed acknowledgment:

Jesus came to earth as a complete human. He experienced the same level of access to God Almighty that we do (hence the fervent prayers). It should follow then that Jesus experienced exactly the same emotions and feelings as we do. Rejection of Jesus the person, His teachings and his claim to be the Messiah had to be experienced by Him in exactly the same way we experience rejection.

So just how much rejection did Jesus experience?

from family members – (John 7:5)
His community and hometown – (Matthew 13:57-58, Mark 6:1-6)
from people who once claimed to love Him – (John 6:48-59, John 13:21)
from Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Decapolis – (Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:13-15)
from a Samaritan village – (Luke 9:51-56)
as the Jewish Messiah – (John 7:1-9, 7:45-52, 8:39-59, 10:22-42 and 12:36-43)
from his Father (God Almighty) – (Matthew 27:46)
Pharisees Jesus fingers pointing rejection

Wow – that is a lot of rejection…

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

What did Jesus teach us about rejection?

1. He focused on His father. Jesus was unconcerned about the acceptance of people. He only wanted to gain acceptance from His Father.
- John 8:49-51 (NIV) “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

2. Jesus actively sought the favor of God. Jesus actively denounced Himself and devoted Himself to only do the Will of his Father. He only said and did things that came from the Father.
- John 4:34 (NIV) “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
- John 5:30 (NIV) By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
- John 14:24 (NIV) Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

3. Jesus saw the end goal – for Himself and us. He looked past the everyday things, the instantaneous rejection and He saw the ultimate goal of pleasing God.
- John 14:3 (NIV) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

4. Jesus encourages us to follow Him – the one who will never reject us.
- Matthew 6:33 (NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

5. Jesus shows us how to gain peace, how to overcome, how to survive, how to live, and how to overcome this world that we live in.
- John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
- John 16:24 (NIV) Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

6. Jesus promises us that the time spent on earth will not be easy, but if we hold on…
- John 16:22 (NIV) So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

7. Jesus tells us that the sorrow of this life will pass and that we can overcome it…
- John 15:11 (NIV) I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Interesting thought

If Adam and Eve did not reject God’s word, in the beginning, the requirement for Jesus would not have existed. That means that even God the Father, Almighty Creator of all things, has tasted the bitterness of rejection.

Throughout the Old Testament, we read about people rejecting God. If these people followed the Law as provided by God, the sacrifice of Jesus would have been avoided. The separation between humans and God revolves around us rejecting Him.

God never rejected Israel, and because of their continuous rejection oh Him, Jesus came to the salvation of us all.

Romans 11:1-12 (NIV) I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,

eyes that could not see

and ears that could not hear,

to this very day.”

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,

a stumbling block and a retribution for them.

May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,

and their backs be bent forever.”

Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

What should we do in everyday life when we are rejected?

When faced with rejection Jesus took the following steps:

He accepted the rejection
He did not retaliate
He moved forward on His mission (Luke 9:51-56)
Luke 9:51-56 (NIV) As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.

What should we then do?

- Acknowledge and repent (Psalm 139:24). We have to accept the reality of rejection, and we have to “see” our contribution to the situation. If there is sin in any way, we have to confess it to God to allow us and the other parties to move forward.
- Forgive quickly and permanently (Matthew 18:22). The power of forgiveness is immense, we have to give forgiveness to others and ourselves. We also have to receive the forgiveness of God (from the first step).
- Receive God’s Grace and extend it to others (Romans 3:23). This is a tough world we live in and everybody is fighting for their own survival. Even devout Christians are imperfect people.
- Seek a peaceful resolution (Romans 12:18). At the point of rejection, reconciliation may be miles away, but you can pave the way to get there with the right stones.
- Pray for the other party (Matthew 5:44) Jesus asked God to forgive those that put Him to death. Your petition towards their prosperity strengthens your resolve to forgive them completely.
- Love the person or organization that rejected you (1 Peter 4:8). This is the hardest step of all, especially in relationship rejection. God’s love extends to all, including those that have rejected you.
- Approach God through Jesus for comfort (Isaiah 53:3). As we have seen both God the Father, and our Redeemer Jesus Christ are very familiar with rejection. By the Holy Spirit, they will comfort and console you as you move to recovery.

Matthew 11:29 (NIV) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Ask God to guide your life on the path that He has set out for you…

Jesus promised us this:

Matthew 28:20 (NIV) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Just like His Father, Jesus will never leave us, forsake us or let go of our hand. We cannot experience rejection from God the Father, nor can we experience rejection from Jesus Christ.

God through Jesus Christ, has adopted us as His children, where we are seen as brothers and sisters of Jesus.

Romans 8:15 (NIV) The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Originally posted on -

Author's Bio: 

Anton van den Berg is a normal person. I have no specialized theological training but I have led a life of hard and tough lessons. Like silver, I had to be taken to the furnace to get rid of a lot of impurities. In that process, I have learned to let certain things go, and to attach to other values. These posts represent some of the pivotal growth-moments in that journey. I hope that it would assist you on your journey in some way. May God Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you.