Have you known what it’s like to be rejected? To feel the pain of mocking ridicule? We hear the news about our nation’s youth who shoot and kill their peers, or even commit suicide because their peers have mocked and bullied them, physically or verbally abused them, or said hateful nasty words to them, and it breaks our hearts. Yet, haven’t we said things at times that we regret… words which have hurt someone else… perhaps in retaliation for how deeply we were hurt?
Sadly, my husband felt the sting of rejection and mocking while growing up. Being legally blind, Ed had to get really close to read any print. In seventh grade, he would have his head bashed into his locker by big strong black guys from the football team… until his brother, Marv, stepped in. Since their lockers were side by side, Marv would walk ahead of Ed and work the combination on the lock so that when Ed got there, all he had to do was take hold of the handle and open his locker. Brotherly teamwork!
Kids can be so cruel to each other. It’s a difficult and painful subject for all of us. But we need to look deep into our own hearts to see our own prejudices, our failings, our pride… and the hurtful words that erupt from the depths of our pain at times. It’s not a shameful thing to admit and apologize for our wrongs, and then to ask for forgiveness. It heals the wounds and restores relationships.
Back when we were dating, Ed shared his story of rejection with me. He loved sports, especially football, and dreamed of making the team. Out to practice he went every evening with his brother – after late afternoon milking chores, that is. On the day positions and uniforms were handed out, Marv made the team but Ed did not. Talk about disappointment! No one in football management had the courage to tell Ed he would not be allowed to play football. Not one of the main coaches he’d worked with had the guts to tell him after all the time he’d faithfully spent practicing. But who did? The assistant JV football coach (who also happened to be the swim team coach) told him he couldn’t play due to the risks of injury. Talk about “passing the buck”!
So, since he loved to swim, Ed decided to try out for the swim team. Again, he went through all the rigors of practice, while making sure he also did his fair share of barn chores, of course. When the list was posted of those who made the team, Ed once again found his name missing. Feeling totally dejected, he turned to walk away… just as the team’s former manager told Ed the coach wanted to see him in the office. That was when the swimming coach offered the manager’s position to Ed, plus all the swim time he wanted at practice… with one catch. Because of his poor vision, he would not be able to participate in swim meets for fear he might stray from his lane and either hurt himself or someone else.
Being a strong farm lad of nearly his final 6 feet 7 inches, Ed had a powerful fast stroke, could stay under water a long time, swam like a pro, and never strayed from his lane in practice. But, graciously accepting the position of Equipment Manager and Scorekeeper for home meets, he did an excellent job for the team which went on to win Section 9 championship two years in a row for their high school in Orange County, New York.
Which brings us full circle… and to our Lord who never rejects us. Just as Moses told Joshua and the Israelites that God would go with them into the Promised Land, we, too, can “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:7) We can face those who mock us. We can stand up to bullies and move forward with our head held high.
Because when we come to God in our failures and rejections, He welcomes us, and walks beside us. He’s there to help us find a better way or give us a better friend when we face ridicule and rejection. He will forgive our own wrongs and heal our deep wounds, allowing us to go and do likewise… to offer love and healing to those we have hurt, and to those who have offended us. But, forgiveness does not mean returning to a bullying or harmful relationship unless the offender truly recognizes their wrongs and mends their ways. Don’t take revenge… turn that rejection into something good, and bless the offender instead!
Linda A. Roorda
Why’dja pick him? We don’t want her!
Not on our team! We want to win!
To feel the pain rejection brings
Is to know I don’t fit, and I’m not wanted.
But let me show you what I can do
Tho I may not be the same as you.
I have feelings and cry the pain
All I ever want is just to belong.
I want to be liked for who I am
Not just to be what you want me to be.
Walk in my shoes, understand my hurt.
See from your soul, care from your heart.
Why do you mock? What troubles you?
Is there a pain down deep in your soul?
Does it feel good to harm another?
Someone imperfect, someone unlike you?
Then take your hurt, your sorrow and pain
Turn it for good, to others show love
That within your heart healing may be found
Resting in grace, God’s goodness to share.
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"Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE