Rejection. What an ugly word. Even broken down it’s an ugly word. The root – reject – stems from Latin and literally means “a throwing back.” The suffix – ion – is also Latin and means an action or condition of some kind. So aside from already having a negative connotation, or negative essence, the word could be said to mean “the feeling of being chronically thrown away.” In my opinion, that’s not cool. Unfortunately accurate in terms of literacy, but just plain unfair in the real world.
In a way, it could be said that “rejection” is the exact opposite of the particular Biblical concept that talks about “teaching a man to fish.” In case you haven’t heard that one, it’s where Christ asks some of his apostles to come follow Him and states, “I will make you fishers of men.” The idea is that rather than teaching someone to be proficient in a certain task that has, by definition, the chance of only one, single outcome (one catch of fish), why not teach someone a similar skill and train them in the ability to continually provide several outcomes (fishing on several occasions)? In particular, Christ was referring to those disciples’ profession (fishermen) and drawing a convincing analogy between catching fish and leading people in the way of truth. From this point of view, to reject – or to continually throw away – would make sense as an antonym for the infinitive “to lead.” Why would anyone put in effort to lead something only to throw it back? Even more importantly, only to throw it back more than once? To me, it seems inefficient. Christ’s point, paraphrased (of course): “Don’t throw back the bad fish. Work with them to become good fish. But give them the choice to swim away (free will).”
That’s pretty deep right there. (Ba-duh-da! I couldn’t help myself; I’m so sorry. Bear with me.)
In her sermon, Pastor Trish spoke about how “reconciliation” has a root meaning of “to go back over an argument or position.” She also added the important caveat that there are some arguments you review privately with God, and others in which you confront someone about the issue. Not every argument deserves a public face, and there are some situations (such as abusive ones) that for safety reasons, need to be handled discreetly. However, for example, there are the kerfuffles of the social type – such as being hurt by the words of a friend – that may, perhaps, warrant being honest about your feelings. But, as Pastor Trish advised, before choosing to confront someone, cling to Christ first with everything you’ve got. Only through his lens can your vision be corrected, and it’s also a buffer in case the other person doesn’t return your sincerity. Above all, regard one another with love. Can’t ever really go wrong there.
Pastor Trish also stated that, as church family members, we have a calling to “lead the way” into reconciliation. To suggest to someone that you, perhaps, have been hurt by their words, is not easy…it’s downright emotionally risky; but, you don’t know what to do because you want to “reconcile the relationship.” Herein lies the quandary, but the answer is simple: Christ. Christ. Christ. If you can’t envision hugging a God who already holds you in His arms, then I encourage you to hug a Bible close to your chest so you can feel something tangible. As Pastor Trish preached, “His presence IS the peace.” Consequently, once you have forgiven – not necessarily reconciled with – someone, confronting them only becomes a matter of facilitation. You’ll find it’s no longer a compulsion to “solve things,” because the real source of hurt – your own beating heart – has already been healed by the Great Almighty.
This week, I want to close with a question: How many of you out there know it’s far easier to see the truth when you’re not busy “coming out swinging?”
Questions for Reflection:
- Are you currently “stuck” in an argument with a family member that is going nowhere? What is one way you could lay down your pride and be the first to apologize?
- The heart of the Lord is reconciliation. What is one intentional thing you can do (such as attending a church of a different type than yours) to bridge the gap between yourself and a people group that doesn’t look like you?
- Take a minute in solitude (quiet). Listen to the Lord. Ask Him to examine your heart and let you know if there’s a grudge you need to release to Him. Be still in His presence and thank Him for His goodness in loving you.
- Ask the person sitting next to you if there is one way you can pray for them this week. Ask them if there’s something that’s been weighing heavily on their mind that they need to express.
- Is it new to you to learn that Christ is someone who values reconciliation? If you find yourself asking these questions, I highly encourage you to speak with one of the pastors or elders at Capital Christian Center about your questions. I can guarantee they’d be happy you came for a chat.
House of Worship: Capital Christian Center – Lacey, WA