I don’t handle rejection very well. I’m working on it. But it still gets to me.
I’ve come to see that rejection is an opportunity to draw closer to God and to witness God’s love. In this week’s gospel, we see Jesus, not only rejected by his neighbors; some of them want to throw him off a cliff.
The antidote for rejection is not to become a compliant yes-person or a non-committal timid victim. We must recognize that rejection is part of the human condition. We need not become either a bullying practitioner or a sullen prey.
Honesty is the basis for all communication, but it should always be tempered by Christian charity. It may be tempting to reinforce our opinion with a zinger. But for all concerned, it is always more effective to state your case not only with conviction, but also with courtesy, kindness and respect.
Jesus fled from the synagogue. But he did not flee from his mission. He saw no need to make a macho statement. This momentary rejection was
disappointing, but not surprising. It would not be his last rejection on the way to Calvary.
Jesus takes us well beyond the clinical pragmatics of creating better social
outcomes. Christ did not come to conduct a seminar on transactional analysis. Repaying rejection with love is at the heart of Christianity. In Christ, rejection becomes a very special opportunity to love our neighbor; to give our disappointment to God; to seek God’s will in prayer and more fully experience God’s peace. That’s the gift of rejection.