Divine Reactions

There are two ways to respond to rejection. One is to react in the flesh and become bitter and angry and to retaliate against those who have hurt us. The other is to react in the Spirit, which is the way Jesus responded to those who rejected Him.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.26

Jesus Christ refused to allow bitterness to take root in His heart. After standing under a hail of criticism from the Jews, the Lord stood before Pilate and was silent. When the Romans pierced His hands with six-inch nails, He prayed that God would forgive them. And when He rose again from the dead, He wasn’t spewing venom over those who crucified Him.

Jesus didn’t seek vengeance against those who misunderstood Him, nor did He justify Himself, setting the record straight in light of the lies that were told about Him.

While the death of Jesus is immortal, the unjust and indescribable pain that He suffered at the hands of sinful men was not upon His lips when He broke free from the grave.

No, He was utterly silent about the entire ordeal. He acted as though it never happened.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.27

Many Christians cannot get over rejection, let alone misunderstanding. And that is why there is no resurrection in their lives.

In our own natural power, we are incapable of responding to pain the way Jesus did. But the good news of the gospel is that He lives inside of us, giving us both the power and the will to do His good pleasure. 28

The secret is in letting go.

Chesterton rightly said, “One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”29

A disciple in the school of Christ often learns more by suffering than by studying. Spiritual growth picks up its pace whenever you’re looking down from a cross, and brokenness is a prerequisite for usefulness.

If you are a Christian, then, expect to follow in the footsteps of your Lord. You will know the scalding pain and heartbreaking disillusionment of rejection.

How you respond, however, will determine if you become broken or bitter.

If you view such things from a natural plane, you may get so depressed that your eyes cross, feelingthat you have to climb up just to reach the bottom. These are the typical emotions that provoke grudges.

Someone once said that you don’t hold a grudge. It holds you. Holding a grudge is self-inflicted pain. Consequently, bitterness doesn’t imprison those who hurt you. It imprisons you.

Again, we do not have the strength to forgive others who wound us. But we have One who indwells us whose name is Forgiveness. And He is able and willing to forgive through us, releasing us and others.

You’d be wise, therefore, to seek to get behind the eyes of our Lord and see things from His vantage point.

You have a God who knows what it feels like to be rejected. But He also knows the preciousness of having a Bethany. A place where He is completely received, honored, and appreciated.

by Frank Viola author, from God’s Favorite Place on Earth.


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