Recently I met a woman who doesn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus. Her reasoning is, she went to church the whole time she was growing up and didn’t learn anything so why would she want to sit in a pew now. Her questions are posed such that she wouldn’t hear the answers. Her spirit lives behind a granite wall. The path that she walks is paved with her desires, her wants, her choices—her fears. It’s fear that keeps her despising and rejecting.
Long before his birth, Jesus was destined to be rejected. To have that kind of shadow hanging over one’s existence sure isn’t promising or hopeful. The Bethlehem innkeeper was just the beginning of a series of rejections. How does one keep living in the midst of continual rejection?
And today, thousands of years later, the rejection continues. It’s painful when those we love reject the One we love. Their rejection becomes the elephant in the room that is squeezed around and avoided. With every conversation there is a limit because the ultimate, deepest part of oneself cannot be shared—a love for Jesus. Conversations start but end quickly as soon as faith pulls up a chair.
But should their rejection be surprising given what is required of a Jesus follower? When Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” he’s asking for a total commitment, a complete handing over of oneself. No wonder those that despise and reject are fearful! Relinquishing ourselves to Jesus is dangerous!
Jesus, when those I love reject you, I feel rejected too.
Help me to love even when I feel despised.