But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
Matthew 5:44 ESV
One of my children got a birthday card in the mail.
Why did that bother me so much? I mulled over the nagging pain in my heart until I decided what it was–REJECTION.
I never get a card from a particular relative on my birthday. All of my kids get cards, and I am skipped.
So that was it. Rejection. I had named it.
Now I could deal with it. I started with what “mother said”–one of her sayings I hated while growing up, mostly because she was right.
My mother often said, “It isn’t the action; it’s the reaction.” In other words, I can’t control what someone else does – only what I do or don’t do. That is completely up to me.
Mother’s words still play in my head today. I even say them to my own children when they fuss with each other.
On this day, I dug deeper into this newly uncovered emotion of rejection.
Verses came fast and furious to my mind.
Isaiah 53:3 ESV He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
So Jesus knew rejection. Okay, got it. He understands. So what?
Matthew 5:44 ESV But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
Well, it isn’t persecution like prison camp but I think the principle to pray for them might still apply.
Philippians 2:5 NIV In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Romans 8:17 NIV …we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
So what do I do with this rejection I feel from family members? I have decided to accept it as sharing in the suffering of Christ. This rejection is allowing me to share more in His glory. It draws me closer to Christ as I am reminded of what He endured for me.
He was rejected by His closest disciples in His most desperate time of need.
His brothers turned their backs until after the resurrection, when James became an integral part of the early church.
Since my husband passed away, some family members have not been involved with me and the kids to the extent that I hoped. (It’s those “great expectations” that get me into trouble every time.) And I miss it. I want to be over and done with these feelings of rejection. Honestly, it allows people to have control over me that I don’t appreciate their having. It is like they have a chain around my heart and can tug it whenever. I am breaking that chain today. I declare myself “chain free”!
Do you need to break the chains binding you to a feeling that someone’s words or actions have over you?
- Dig into Scripture
- How did Christ deal with the feeling?
- How should I deal with it?
Often others don’t even intend on inflicting hurt on you. They are dealing with their own grief in a way that may not be healthy, or they may need help you can’t give. But you can PRAY.
Father in Heaven, thank You for knowing the emotions we deal with. Your Son felt rejection from those closest to Him. Help me break the emotional chains trapping me today from other people’s actions that I cannot control. I lay those at Your feet. Amen
Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”
Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get information about our speakers.
Do you want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Read them here.
Another article about loving and forgiving our inlaws by Kit.
Here’s a great one by Leah about hurting people who hurt people.