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Rejection is not love
How a biblical understanding of love can teach us why we may have been rejected
And he said, “Amen I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
In the last month, I have been focused on trying to understand rejection, what it is, and why it affects me so much. I am not talking about superficial rejection like rejection from a writing submission or from a job application, but deep and intimate rejection. Being rejected by someone you love.
Understanding why you were rejected by someone you care about provides a greater ground for healing to take place. If we go straight to our scripture passage for today, we can see the depth of the rejection of Jesus himself, who was also rejected by the people of his own hometown.
Rejection many times comes from a place of deep insecurity, envy, and jealousy. It certainly does not come from a place of love. If we look at the second reading for today found in 1 Corinthians 13, we receive the biblical definition of what love is.
While this saying presented to us in 1 Corinthians 13 can be found in the homes of believers and non-believers around the world, it often acts as a space holder rather than a deeply divine reminder of what love is supposed to look like. It’s ok to buy the towel with this verse inscribed on it, but are you really reading it when you use it to dry your hands or take dinner out of the oven?
We cannot be both loving and jealous, nor can we be both loving and selfish. So if we are being rejected by a loved one, is it really about us? Well, it definitely may be if we have sinned or done something to cause that rejection. But in the case where we have not sinned or done something wrong, could it be that we are not being rejected but instead are being held to a worldly standard of what deserves love?
The world portrays love as an earning, as conditional, as something we need to be in order to receive it. Many people believe we have to meet their standards of love in order to be loved. We may even be guilty of doing this as well. But look at the definition in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If we are hurting as a result of a recent rejection by someone we truly care about it, maybe we need to hold it in the light of the readings for today and ask these questions:
By what standard is this person measuring their love for me?
What standard am I using to measure my love for them?
Are they rejecting me or are they rejecting the truth?
These are just some initial questions we can ask ourselves when we are hurting and trying to understand why someone may have rejected us.
We may not be accepted in our native places, but we are always accepted in our Father’s heavenly Kingdom.
I’ll meet you there.