The desire to avoid rejection is real in everyone's life. Sometimes that fear has made me reject others first to keep me from being hurt; sad but true. Living in this world means that we all are going to have to deal with rejection but unfortunately, with social media, we now are being, or potentially can be, rejected in real-time. When there is a party or get-together, pictures start popping up immediately, and there you are at home watching the people you thought were your friends all laughing and smiling together while you feel isolated and alone.
Thank heavens that in my teenage years and twenties I didn't know I had been rejected immediately, I had to wait until Monday at school or work to hear the rumblings of the events that took place but I wasn't invited.
As of late, it seems that the terminology of "Your Tribe" or "Community" is rolling off the tongues of many but are we all missing the mark. Yes, I am a severe extrovert who loves people and I find spending time with people accelerating but I have to remember that it is in the alone times that I hear from God and get the true rest and affirmations that I require to continue on my path of growth and maturity as a Christian.
The more time you spend busying yourself in the work the more chances arise to be rejected. We, Christians, have to use discernment to make decisions on where and with whom our time should be spent. Even if you are spending your time with other Christians rejection or hurt are still real and even a more powerful reality. The one thing we all have to remember is that the world hated Jesus first; major rejections.
John 15:18 "If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you." A man who never sinned in any way shape or form, a man who helped, loved, healed, performed miracles of healing, and raising the dead to life was rejected and crucified by the world; unimaginable but true. The amazing part is that it was all part of the plan which was laid out in Mark 8: 31-32 where it tells that the son of man would have to suffer, be rejected, be killed, and rise after three days.
The Bible is full of stories of rejection. Genesis 37:20 talks about how Joseph's brothers hated him and plotting his death. There was his family rejecting him and intending on killing him. Sometimes it is our own actions that bring on rejection. But don't beat yourself up about it, it has happened to the best of us and once again there are numerous examples in the Bible. In Genesis Sarai, talker Hagar into conceiving a child with her husband. Instead of waiting on God's plan to bless Sarai with a late-in-life heir. Doesn't take a genius to see the downfalls in this brainstorm.
Sure enough, Hagar conceived and became taking liberties that she shouldn't and Sarai in turn started to mistreat her. Reader's Digest version of the story is that Hagar ran away into the wilderness and the Angel of the Lord went to her and told her that she must return to her Mistress, Sarai. Hard pill to swallow but we all have to remember even when we are feeling rejected, God will always find us, tell us the truth in love. What or how we react to God's truth is totally up to us.
Community or Tribe are great concepts and nice to have in your life but ensure you aren't creating an idol that you rely on more than you rely on God. Rejection is a tool of the devil and when you are just about to turn a corner in your life, make a change, or God is going to use you don't for one minute think that because you are following God's will that the path or journey to the new level is going to be easy. It is these exact moments when Satan will send his Community or Tribe to attack you in every way they can, to stir up your biggest insecurities, to make you doubt yourself, or to hit you with some form of rejection with the hopes to derail you and have you NOT receive the blessings God has in store. If you can remember to hold fast and work through the pain the other side of the conflict will be well worth the work and hurt.
It is always worse when it is a friend or someone you truly care about that rejects you. But even that situation is captured in the Bible. Psalms 55:12 says "if an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide." There truly is nothing that we are enduring today that isn't covered in the Bible. We like to think that we have progressed in so many ways, and in many situations and ways we have, but in terms of pain, hurt, lies, hatred, rejection, sin and so forth we truly haven't succeeded in doing better. The first examples start in Genesis and continue on. Some of our advancements just make the hurt happen in real-time and provide an easy venue for haters to hate and spew the venom to the masses with ease.
The great news is that regardless of the rejection of this world everyone has an option to rest easy in God's unconditional love through salvation.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Psalms 136:26 - Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:39 - 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.
Enjoy your Community or Tribe, whatever you want to call them, but remember that God is the only one who will never hurt or reject you and if you ever feel alone and all your friends have been peeled away, maybe God is doing a work in you and requires your full attention. Hold fast, lean in, and trust him; you won't be disappointed. God covered this in the Bible as well. Joel 2:25-26 God promises not only to restore what was lost but to restore it abundantly. "you will have plenty to eat until you are full and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be ashamed."
Stand firm, hold fast, and if it feels as if it is just you and God - you have more than enough!