Handling Rejection (2021)
Robert Wurtz II
“Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it” (Psalms 69:4 NKJV).
“But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause'” (John 15:25 NKJV).
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22a KJV).
There are times in life when we perceive that a person has “ought against us” while, in fact, they simply don’t like us. If we are to avoid feelings of what is commonly called “condemnation” (caused by worrying about how people feel about us), we must distinguish between offense and dislike. One of the hardest things to come to terms with is that some people will dislike you no matter what you do.
When a person behaves in such a way that leads us to believe that we have offended them, it should be our Christian instinct to go to them for reconciliation. However, when the person who acts offended can think of no reason why they feel as they do… my experience is that it’s typically because they don’t like you or don’t like something you stand for. They reject you and may not even know why.
Rejected by a Feeling
What complicates the issue is when the “spiritual” folks among us contend that they discerned something about us that justifies their behavior towards us. These types generally mistake things they like for “being anointed” and things they dislike as “being carnal or demonic.” It is false discernment and can be as destructive as a false prophecy. Granted, there are legitimate and Biblical reasons for disfellowshipping people outlined in the epistles (typically gross sin). This is not what I am referring to. Yet it’s foolish at best and fraudulent at worst to reject a person based on a goosebump or a weird notion when they walked by. God enables us to discern sinful behavior, but He does not allow us to reject people because they strike us wrong or something similar.
The psalmist understood these things. He wrote, “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully.” Talk about rejection! The people who hated him had no good reason for it. If you asked them, they probably couldn’t tell you why they felt like they did. Jesus experienced it as well as we read, “But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause’ ” (John 15:25 NKJV).
Have you ever tried to propitiate a person who hated you without cause? I mean, the world would probably call it “trying to buy love.” I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars in my life trying to do what the psalmist described saying, “Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it.” Pentecostal handshakes, taking people out to dinner, and covering the cost are a few examples of this type of thing. It’s like we sense that if we can find the right gift, they will stop acting as if we have offended them. In my experience, it doesn’t work long-term. What happens? You buy them gifts and things seem to be better. However, when the gifts stop, typically, the relationship sours again. This is very similar to the concept of cupboard love.
It’s not unusual for the world to be selective in who they do and don’t like or love. Those itching to say that we can love someone and not have to like them, have you ever tried it? What are you saying? “I love you… but I really can’t stand you?” Nonsense. That is a copout. What if God loved us in that way? God demonstrated His love towards us.
Notice what Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22a KJV). Angry without a cause? Newer translations omit “without cause,” but it’s a Greek word that means in vain. How can you or I be angry in vain unless we dislike or hate the person? We give “the benefit of the doubt” to people we love and would never be angry at them over trivial matters. So if we are angry at our brother or sister without cause, we have to face the facts — we are angry, and we don’t know why. Could it be hatred?
I suggest that the reason why people (even professing Christians), who are angry with their brother or sister without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment — is that it’s simply veiled hatred. And it’s not acceptable. Our instinct towards people should always be love and kindness. When there’s been an offense — there should be reconciliation.
When a Christian rejects reconciliation (all things being biblical), they forfeit their Christianity card in my book. Why? Because it is unbecoming of a Christian to reject a fellow brother or sister without cause. The consequence of “behaving as if you have been offended when you have not” is that it will be revealed and dealt with in the judgment. We will not get by with rejecting the very people God had commanded us to love. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one to another” (John 13:35).
What can we say in the final analysis? If people hated the psalmist and Jesus without cause… they will hate you and me without cause. But it ought never to be in the kingdom of God. May we never be guilty of disliking and rejecting the very people that we are commanded to love.