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Living loved

When Others Reject Us

While growing up, I was the awkward, frizzy haired kid from Podunk, Oregon. The one who came to school with a big, old feather dangling from my hair, my favorite pair of Velcro shoes on my feet, and clothes that immediately caused a stir—but not in a good way.

I had no sense of style, spent entirely too much time daydreaming, and was in no way rocking the social scene. By some miracle, midway through fifth grade I managed to wiggle and finagle my way to the fringe of the popular group, only to be completely shunned before summer hit.

Nearly two decades later, when attending “mommy-and-me” gatherings in Southern California, I felt I’d entered a time warp. It seemed I was right back in a cliquey fifth grade classroom, and I wasn’t part of the clique.

I felt insufficient and unimportant.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this—being the misfit. The odd one. The woman everyone seems to tolerate but never purposely includes. It stings.

But imagine spending your life as an outcast, the one everyone judges and condemns. Then finally receiving your invite to that long-coveted party, only to be kicked out upon arrival.

Scripture doesn’t tell us his name. In fact, we know very little about him, except he was considered to be cursed. As a blind man in ancient Palestine, he’d grown up surrounded by accusation and assumption. Everyone, even Jesus’ disciples, assumed he or his parents must have done something terrible to cause his condition.

“Rabi,” the disciples asked, “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2, NIV).

This was the pervasive conclusion his peers believed, likely from the time he took his first breath. It didn’t matter if he behaved kindly to others, how long and often he prayed, or how many good things he did. Nothing could shake the judgment that followed him, because his blindness was constantly evident.

Nothing, or rather no one, but Jesus.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in Him” (John 9:3, NIV).

Can you imagine the hush that must’ve fallen over the crowd, and the hope that surely bloomed within the man? To hear the respected Teacher, this Miracle Worker, validate him so publicly?

And then, Jesus put mud on the man’s eyes and told him to “wash in the pool of Siloam,” which he did, “and came home seeing.”

This created quite a stir, and soon the man was brought to the Pharisees, a group who likely had judged him most fiercely of all. Powerful men who could choose to celebrate his healing or to expel him—completely, perhaps permanently—from the temple, the center of Jewish community.

They chose the latter, as the man most likely assumed they would, if he proclaimed Christ as his healer. At that time, the Jewish leaders clearly despised the Savior and intended to excommunicate anyone who “acknowledged Jesus was the Messiah” (John 9:22, NIV).

And that’s exactly what the leaders did, openly rejecting the once-blind man, and potentially cutting him off Woman gazing into the distancefrom countless other relationships, as well. They rejected him.

But Jesus sought him out, and offered him something more enduring, more life-changing, than prestige and popularity—the gift of eternal life. And along with that gift came a friend who would never leave him, never reject him, and never turn away.

This is what Jesus does. When others abandon or mistreat us, Jesus welcomes us near with open and unyielding arms and whispers to our hearts, “Come to Me. I’ll never turn you away.”

Let’s talk about this! We’ve all faced rejection and many have developed deep wounds because of this. How might remembering Jesus’ call to come to Him help us heal and move forward? What can we do when others hurt or mistreat us to avoid allowing that past hurt to impact our present relationships? Share your thoughts here in the comments below or on our Facebook page, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

You may also enjoy:

Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Chosen and Cherished by by Edna EllisonJoy Brown, and Kimberly Sowell

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