“And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” – Ephesians 4: 26-27.
Most people have felt the sting of rejection. It’s called the sting of rejection because that’s exactly what it feels like: You reach out to embrace what you see as an opening only to receive a surprising and upsetting brush-off that can feel very much like an attack. It’s enough to make you think twice about putting yourself out there again. And the emotion that often results from rejection is anger.
We believe we have a right to be angry and we are justified when we don’t forgive. But giving in to those emotions tends to steal your peace and ability to be happy. Because we are consumed by what has been done to us, it makes it nearly impossible to have positive thoughts and feelings, much less enjoy life. James 1:19 reminds us, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” In this passage, James is imploring God’s people to understand the damage negative thoughts and emotions can cause. Culture will tell us we have every right to be angry, but God’s word says our anger and unforgiveness will hold us captive.
James 1:22 says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” In every area of life, including managing strong emotions and practicing forgiveness, God calls us to be “doers” of His Word, not just “hearers” — even when nothing in us wants to.
We can be rejected for our faith or when sharing our faith as well. People avoid you, leave you out of the clique, or even make fun of you because you are a Christian. It will happen to every committed Christian at one time or another. Jesus wants you to know that when you are rejected by others or shown hostility for your beliefs, you are not the one being rejected. People are hostile at Jesus, not you. They are rejecting Jesus, not you.
And that is where we need to follow the example of Jesus most of all. When you are rejected due to your devotion to Christ, you need to respond just as Jesus did when He was rejected on the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
If you are rejected, face hostility, or even persecuted, you need to forgive as Christ forgave on the cross.
- How do you respond when you have been rejected?
- What can we do this week to show the love of Christ to others?