He was Rejected
The High Priest tore his clothes and screamed, “Blasphemy!” The others called for Jesus’ death and slapped, struck, and spat on him. This is not just rejection; this is violent rejection.
Jesus, of course, did not respond in kind. He did not choose violence. He has chosen the way of God which values all persons, refuses any act or attitude that hurts others or robs them of their dignity, as violence does, and demands that we love even our enemies. To have fought back with violence would have been to fail in his commitment to God who is love.
It is so easy, so human, to respond in kind when we have been hurt, rejected, misunderstood, betrayed, or devalued and to seek to hurt those who have hurt us. Like Jesus, we are called to make the choice to follow the way of God even, perhaps especially, when people hurt us.
- What has been your most common reaction to being hurt in some way?
- What did you learn as a teenager from your family, friends, your church, television, etc., about how to respond to rejection? How does what you learned match what Jesus taught and did?
- When you have experienced rejection–applying for a job, in a relationship, etc.–what feelings were aroused? From the distance and perspective you have now, analyze how God would have wanted you to respond to that situation.
- Many spiritual leaders have taught that to respond in kind to someone who has hurt you is to allow that person to make your choice of response for you. Is this teaching true? Reflect on your answer.
–Dr. Mitzi Minor
How Do I Act?
- Read about the nonviolent responses to oppression of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. Sources could be books such as The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Making of a Mind by John Ansbro, and Gandhi: His Life and Message by Louis Fischer. Discuss what you learned and your reactions to what you learned with a friend.
- As part of your preparation for dealing lovingly with negative situations, list all the Christ-like ways you can imagine to respond to people who hurt or reject you. Resolve and covenant together to respond as Jesus did, according to the way of God, not according to how you’ve been treated.
- Accept some responsibility for teaching the young people of your church Christ-like ways to deal with hurt and rejection. Plan to meet with them and discuss actions and attitudes at their schools (there has been so much violence in schools), listen to their feelings and reactions, show what Jesus would have them do. Be sure discussion is done in a positive and non-judgmental way.