What Rejection Can Teach You

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Rejection GirlI’ll never forget the Sunday years ago when a little old lady cornered me in our tiny church lobby. She didn’t say “good morning” or introduce herself. In fact, she immediately made it clear from her body language and facial expression that she was not happy! I had said something in my talk that pushed her buttons, and she was going to give this young arrogant pastor a tongue-lashing. By the time she finished, I was emotionally bleeding, and I went home that day ready to quit (again).

In my world, rejection rates right up there with having a root canal—it’s costly and painful. No one likes to be rebuked, unwanted or treated like gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe. Regardless of our apparent warts and wrinkles, we all long to be loved and accepted. It’s a fundamental human need.

As a teaching pastor, every Sunday my congregation evaluates me. New attendees compare me to their previous pastor. Regular attenders measure the value of the current talk or series to the last one. Unchurched folks appraise me based on their favorite speaker or TV host (yikes!).

As an author and blogger, other writers often scrutinize what I produce, and my copy editor sometimes rips me to shreds. Then, of course, the readers leave their mark by buying or not buying my books or by liking or ignoring my posts. (I, for one, am grateful there’s no such thing as a “dislike” button on Facebook!)

Rejected stamp

Simply put, I live with rejection on a regular basis, and surprisingly, I’m fine with that reality. Yes, it’s still painful, but more importantly, rejection has taught me much.

The top 10 things I’ve learned about rejection:

  • It teaches me to be humble.

  • It gives me the opportunity to bless those who curse me.

  • It helps me learn how to grow and not just go through disappointment.

  • It gives me empathy for others who experience rejection.

  • It sometimes brings needed correction to my life.

  • It reminds me to forgive as I have been forgiven and to offer grace to those who, like me, don’t deserve it.

  • It develops the character traits of perseverance and resiliency.

  • It reminds me to speak the truth in love even when it’s not easy to hear.

  • It challenges me to see the big picture and realize it’s not about me.

  • It causes me to focus on my audience of One.

Reject Audience of One

Do I love rejection? Uh, that would be no. But do I see its value better now in my old age than I did when I was young? Yup. Frankly, given the choice, I’d probably choose love and acceptance over the angst of rejection, but it’s much more of a speed bump in my life now than a dead end. How about you?

 May I pray for you?

Jesus, you know better than any of us how difficult rejection can be to live with and overcome. Help us to press through the pain of hurtful words and unjust accusations. Teach us to “count it all joy” when we encounter trials we’d rather avoid through people who know not what they do to our hearts. Somehow, make us more like You.

 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected

    has become the cornerstone.”

Mark 12:10  (NIV)

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23 Responses to What Rejection Can Teach You

  1. It’s amazing that no matter how many uplifting comments you receive, the one “shredder” destroys it all.

    I’m continually reminded to watch my mouth, and speak life into those around me.

    I think I can speak for many people, we are thankful for you Kurt!


    • Thank you, Tom. And thanks for being an encourager in my life rather than a shredder! You are loved.

  2. An excellent post, as usual. You are a master at using words, Kurt! Your list of 10 things you have learned about rejection will be helpful to me the next time I feel rejected. Thanks!

  3. Kurt, I really needed to hear this. God’s timing is amazing as always. I have a tender heart, capable of loving that others find unlovable, try to live at peace with everyone, have always had to be flexible in my life….STILL, in the last 15 years, rejection finds me and try’s with all it’s might to push me down and bury me…can’t explain it and I do to like it but I have had to find peace with it. All the points you made are so true for me. I have spent years praying for certain people who have rejected me and in truth, not everyone would or could do that-any accept and move on…it affects me so deeply that I continue to pray for those people and for God to continue to teach me through it all….it is sooo hard. I hAve learned to love more deeply because of this. I have learned that for the most part, the rejection rarely has anything to do with me even though I am the reciever of it. Thus, my ability to empathize has grown to a more mature level. I don’t know that I will ever like it, feel comfortable with it, etc…. I do know as long as God-the one and only, remains FOR Me, I will come through it each time -and hopefully be a better servant too.

    One of the heart breaks …. My brother won’t have anything to do with me. I have continued for years to love he and his family and it reached a point that it matters not what I do or don’t do. I have no control of the rejection. I only have two family members left…he and my sister…that’s it! I am a huge lover of family so you can see a little of what I have and do experience.

  4. Thanks for putting into words the rejection I believe most peeps feel at one time or another..NOW to put this into perspective of 3 teenage girls…I like how you write..warts and all.

    • Hmmmm…teenage girls…praying for you (raised a couple myself). All of us struggle with rejection, but it’s especially tough on teens. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  5. Thank you. That spoke to me in volumes. I have always wore my heart on my sleeves most of my life. I lost my dad at very young age in a logging accident. I was 2 he was 22. I was told by my mom and maternal grandparents he was an angel. We lived with my grandparents after that and they were very good to me,my older brother Rick and my younger brother Bill, whom my mom was pregnant with when my dad was killed. I did not understand death and feared it as a little kid. I had scary dreams of skeletons chasing me, but in my dreams my dad would save me and take me to heaven to see Jesus. I was raised Catholic and went to Sunday school in a small town in St Maries Idaho. My mother went back to High School while we lived with my grandparents on their ranch. They had horses, cows, pigs, on 160 acres with a creek that ran thru it with many springs and trees. Me and my brothers loved it there. When I was 5 my mom graduated from High School and remarried my step dad Jim who was a very strict Catholic and verbally and physically abusive. I hated him and told him so. I was shy and teased at school because I was a Tom boy. So I was teased at school as well as diciplined by my step dad on a regular basis with chores, verbal and physical abuse. My mom had 2 more children Tony my brother when I was 8 and Jota when I was 13. I loved my younger sibs but that was another chore that was added to my discipline as well as grounding. Needless to say between my mouth and my grounding I did not get out much. Although I did like school as it was a social outlet but I was still somewhat shy I did have friends who were for the most part also shy or over disciplined the boys. Church and was also about discipline and guilt as a Catholic. So I got a lot of Rejection growing up. Thanks Kurt. Nice to know I am not alone. I love Eastpoint the music and your message speaks to me. God Bless you!!!

    • Incredible story, Tina. So blessed that you were encouraged by this blog. Thanks for being a part of our Eastpoint community of faith. You are loved!

  6. Well, I finally read this. 😉 So good. I had to chuckle at a few of the points because I always say “It’s an opportunity to forgive”, YAYyy…..anyway love to read your ‘stuff’ whenever I’m not chasing my Grandbabies. 😉 We love you Kurt.

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