Ephesians 4: 1-3
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Matthew 19: 13-15
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
“A boo is a lot louder than a cheer.” (Lance Armstrong)
Most of us will have experienced rejection at some point in life, many of us will have encountered it numerous times. Rejection is one of the worst, most neglected and most common wounds which, if left untreated, can have a detrimental affect on our lives.
Derek Prince says this about rejection: "Rejection can be defined as the sense of being unwanted. You desire people to love you, yet you believe that they do not. You want to be part of a group, but you feel excluded. Somehow you are always on the outside looking in."
The rejection we face can be for something relatively minor or it may be something devastating that impacts your whole life and all of your relationships. For example, the rejection of not being picked for a school sports team when you are 10 years old is unlikely to affect you anywhere as much as experiencing the rejection from a spouse who has an affair.
Rejection can be felt even by very young children. Perhaps that is why Jesus is so indignant with the disciples when they try to prevent the infants from coming close to him. He knows how fragile their little hearts are and He wants them to feel accepted, wanted and welcome.
Psychologists tell us that the most damaging kind of rejection comes when a child perceives rejection from a parent. They have identified three main situations that can cause this wound.
First, a child may be unwanted during pregnancy. The mother may be carrying a child in her womb whom she really does not want. She resents the problems, complications and inconvenience this baby presents for her by coming into her life.
A second situation is when parents do not demonstrate their love for their child in the form of physical affection or touch. Even parents who genuinely love their child may not know how to express that love. Many children today have all of the material possessions they could want, but what they long for most is time and affection from their parents.
A third circumstance which produces rejection in children is when siblings perceive unequal affection from their parents, whether intentional or not. Sometimes one child receives an unfair measure of love and attention and the other children, just by comparing themselves with that particularly favoured child, feel rejected.
Jesus experienced rejection throughout his life, even as a child. As an infant, his parents had to flee from power-crazy ruler who wanted to kill the child he considered a rival to the throne. Also, it's very possible that during his younger years other children would have whispered and ridiculed Jesus about the circumstances of his birth. After all, it was common knowledge that Mary, his mother, was pregnant with him prior to her marriage to Joseph. That, in itself, carried a social stigma. Jesus understood, even as a child, something of the pain of rejection.
Paul tells us that we should, "...accept each other just as Christ has accepted you..." (Rom 15: 7) Elsewhere we are reminded that, "..he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will..." (Eph 1: 4-5)
No matter how our human parents felt about our entry into this world, we can be absolutely confident that in Christ we are fully accepted, lovingly chosen and wonderfully adopted by a perfect Father who passionately pursued us and expresses His goodness and kindness towards us in so many ways.