**This post is part of the current series "Who Was Jesus? Practical Ways to Teach Our Children About Who Christ IS" You can find the entire series linked up here when we are done.**
Have you ever been dumped? Have you ever been the last kid picked for the team? Not received an invitation to a party? Have you ever interviewed for a job and didn't get it? A promotion that you deserved given to someone else? A contest or game we didn't win? How do we handle it? Do we take it personally and desire revenge?
As Christians, we face rejections of a different kind. When someone rejects us because of our relationship with Christ. When someone rejects Christ? Rejection by our friends is bad enough, but how much worse when our family rejects us? Or when God rejects a prayer because He has something else in mind?
Everyone has experienced rejection in some shape or form at some point in their life no matter age or geographic location. Rejection and life go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is unavoidable. So how do we deal with it?
Do we turn into the Grinch? Or like Christ, do we continue to seek God? Chances are, when we face rejection, we feel like a damaged apple left on the stand at the grocery store. We try and we try as much as possible to shine ourselves up, to hide the scars, to cover the blemishes, and we put ourselves out there, and we are crushed when we are rejected, because we compare our scars and blemishes and sin to the spotless.
The good news for the Christian is that God does not work that way. He does not look at us like apples on the shelf, rejecting us because we are tarnished or bruised from life choices. Jesus gives us unconditional love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes in all things, endures all things.
Imagine the rejection that Christ felt in the garden when kissed on the cheek by Judas. When sold out by Peter. When hanging on the cross when he asked God to forgive those who put him there because they did not know what they were doing? But there was one other rejection that Jesus suffered which is greater than any of us can ever understan... one we don't have to know. As he hung on the cross, God turned his back on Jesus because he became sin and God cannot look on sin. The cry from the cross, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" is beyond our ability to understand.
So how can we teach our children to handle rejection in the same way Christ did? Here are a few suggestions...
Show your children that they can still be used even if they are rejected by baking some banana bread. Follow any recipe for making banana bread, but while you are going through the steps, explain that the ripe bananas that are usually bruised and brown make better bread. Explain that they are stripped and smashed, and the perfect green bananas are usually too hard to make into a good paste. Take whole pecans and explain that they have to be broken and crushed (like Christ) to be used. When adding the sugar, allow your children to taste the batter before adding the sugar. Allow your children to taste the plain sugar and explain to them that when we accept Christ, we are adding a sweetness to our lives that will forever change us. Explain to them that no matter what rejections we face, no matter how crushed and damaged we may feel, that God will conform us to his likeness, and when we add Christ to our lives, we become equipped to deal with our pain and heartache and disappointment and rejection with sweetness.
Find and read the following stories in the bible that deal with rejection:
The story of Joseph and his brothers:
Jesus is rejected by his hometown:
Verses that explain why God won't reject us:
Father God, I pray that when my children face rejection of any kind that you use me to teach them how to handle it. I know from my own life experiences that facing rejection is not fun or easy, but it has helped shaped me into who I am today. Father I thank you that Christ faced the ultimate rejection so I would not have to be rejected from You. I pray that you teach my children through the rejections that they will face that they are still loved and can still be used by you! In Jesus name, amen.