We have an inborn, hardwired need for acceptance. This is part of our experience as humans. This is also why it hurts when people turn away, refuse to accept us, or ridicule us. Since we have this need and cannot deny it, what can we do when people reject us?
In my understanding and experience, it is all about how we see it. This is also God’s essential message to Ezekiel in today’s Scripture passage. It caught my attention many years ago because, as a musician and minister, I “get” it: I understand the message and how Ezekiel must have felt.
This is the bottom line I learned: How we see rejection depends upon from whom we seek acceptance. For example:
- If a stranger rejects me, what I do, or what I say, what does that matter? Why do I care? I don’t. This is not the problem.
- On the other hand, if someone I love and trust rejects me, it hurts. This IS the problem and the point of today’s message.
In our lives, callings, and purposes, we are sometimes rejected by people we respect and trust or by people from whom we do not expect rejection. Since this is a hard subject, I will use my life as an illustration.
First the background: As an ordained minister with decades of experience as a pastor, teacher, worship leader, and more, I have had many “opportunities” to feel rejected. (If you want to be rejected, just try doing something in church!) It used to hurt. Now, it does not. What makes the difference? How I see it: It is all about how I see it.
- This is the key: If I do what I do to be accepted by people, then I am vulnerable to be hurt by their inevitable rejection. This is the reason why most people are hurt.
- If, however, I do what I do to be accepted by God–and God alone–then I am NOT vulnerable to the rejection of others because I neither seek it nor need it to be whole.
I learned that by being secure in my relationship with God, finding my value and worth in Him, and doing what I do for His approval, it no longer matters whether anyone else accepts me or not. Since I was not seeking their approval in the first place, they are now in the place of the stranger I mentioned before.
This has given me GREAT peace, security, and confidence. It is also a FAR EASIER way to live. As I live for God’s approval, I am not subject to the whims, attempts to control, or ugliness of which people are capable. I am able to “blow it off” as coming from that stranger.
This is like a protective barrier–almost like a superpower–against rejection. This is not to imply that I am immune. Things do still hurt me–they just do not hurt as deeply and they are more easily put in perspective now. It is like they only affect the surface but cannot go deep. (Does that make sense to you?)
It can be the same for you because it is all about how you see it. Do you want to be less vulnerable to the pain of rejection? You can be–if you will see it from this perspective.
God said to Ezekiel [my words], “They will come to you but not respect you or what you say. Don’t regard their opinions. Trust me. I will prove you right. This is between Me and you, Ezekiel. They have nothing to do with it.”
Seek God’s approval. I will let you in on a little secret in closing: You already have it. Actually, this is neither little nor secret. It is one of the most important truths you can understand. God already approves of you. Now, believe it and live in agreement with it. It really is that simple.
Today’s Seed™ Scripture and Prayer for Mar. 6, 2023:
My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. “When all this comes true–and it surely will–then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” (Ezek 33:31-33 NIV)
Prayer: LORD, increase me in strength, courage, and discipline to do what You have for me to do regardless of whether anyone respects me or the task. When I struggle with feelings of rejection, help me to be mindful that my calling is from You and my commitment and accountability are to You. Therefore, it does not matter if anyone else respects me as long as You do. If anyone else does, it is simply a bonus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(c) 2023 Randall Vaughn • All Rights Reserved • http://www.e-min.org
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“Today’s Seed” from E-MIN • Mar. 6, 2023
About Randall Vaughn:
With 40+ years as pastor, author, teacher, worship leader, and songwriter, Randall pioneered E-MIN in 1997–one of the earliest online ministries and today the longest operating. His passion is leading people to deeper, genuine relationship with God. He lives in Alabama with his lovely wife, Karen, and their dogs, Hadi and Casi. He enjoys hiking, exploring new tech, and “prayer walks”.