When I was growing up, there were two girls my age that lived in my neighborhood, Kim and Ashley. Sometimes the three of us got along well and played contentedly, but most often, we were fighting. Ashley and I would decide to “gang up” on Kim and we would play together and leave her out.
Then, Ashley and I would get in a fight and we would switch, and Kim and I would play together and leave Ashley out. What I hated the most was when Kim and Ashley would “gang up” on me and leave me out. It hurt.
I’m all grown up now but I still have that desire that people would like me. I believe that no matter how old and mature you become, you have an innate desire to be liked, loved, and accepted. I know that I do.
Recently I have been “Un-friended” on Facebook by some people. Not just acquaintances, but personal friends. Like, the kind of friends you go out to lunch with. That may not seem like a big deal, but to me, these friends searched through their Facebook “Friends,” picked me out, and deleted me from among their tribe. When I see all of my friends they choose to remain “Friends” with, I struggle with feeling that I am not good enough to be in their crowd. I feel rejected. I feel unloved. I feel less than.
Even though I try to tell myself that it’s just Facebook, my emotions will not be bossed around. And just like years ago when Kim would choose Ashley and not me, I feel hurt. And I still cry like a baby.
I am sure that you, too, have experienced rejection. Perhaps not on Facebook, but in other ways.
Maybe you were the only one not invited to lunch with your coworkers.
Perhaps you see all of your neighbors exercise together but you are not asked to join.
Maybe there is a clique of women in your church and you are the one left out. Maybe you really want to be friends with two moms and they have chosen each other, and not you.
Perhaps you see pictures on Facebook of your friends at a party but you were not asked to join.
Maybe you are considered the “black sheep of the family.”
If you are on Facebook, perhaps you’ve been Un-friended, too.
I wish that I had a Bible verse to pull out and share that would make all of the hurt and rejection go away immediately, but I don’t. But I do know this: God is near to us when we are hurt and broken-hearted. He sees us, like an injured bird, and He moves in to comfort us. He sees every tear that we cry.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…2 Corinthians 1:3-4a
God’s love and comfort will help us as we process through the raw feelings of hurt and rejection.
Drawing comfort from God is the easy part.
The hard part is to forgive those who have hurt and rejected us. I confess, as I have walked through this, there have been days that the sun has gone down on my anger. My sweet little self has practiced hateful words that I want to say to them. I have wanted to retaliate and find a way to reject them. I have wanted to gossip and tell everyone about what they have done.
But God has told me to keep my mouth shut and to forgive.
Can you do that too? Can you keep your mouth shut and forgive? It is extraordinarily hard, because everything in our flesh cries out for justice and revenge. You have to draw from deep wells of love, wisdom, self-control and maturity to keep your mouth shut and forgive. I believe that you can do it. I hope that I can, too.
God’s comfort, forgiveness, and time – that’s how our broken hearts will recover from rejection and hurt. Slowly the bruises on our hearts and self-esteem will heal, and the truth of our true identity in Christ will grow stronger. And in time, the sting of being “Un-friended” will be gone.
What about you? Have you been hurt and rejected by someone? If you feel brave, let me know about it by email (Lisa@CelebratingWeakness.com) or by leaving a comment. I would love to pray for you.