by: Staci Stallings
It occurred to me the other day how difficult and painful rejection is. In my stories, the characters often go through experiences and feelings that cause them, at least for a time, to reject the other person–even if they really do love or are falling in love with them.
Maybe the guy has been “once-bitten”–having another love-interest abandon him. Or the woman is worried about the man controlling her in the relationship and so pushes him away.
Part of writing romance is just this “pushing away” and “pulling together” dance that all couples experience. It’s hard to be together, on the same page, in the same boat, on one another’s team all the time. Human nature says that will not happen. But oh, how hard it is to be rejected. It can be such a deep wound, especially when we have chosen to make ourselves vulnerable believing the other has our best interests at heart. To find out that is not always the case is traumatic.
As I thought about this concept and how hard it is to keep loving even when the other rejects you, it further occurred to me that God experiences this every day with His children. I’ve heard several parents of teens voice this hurt. “She used to love being with me and doing things. Now she just wants to be with her friends.” As parents we know as our children grow up, they will become less and less dependent upon us, but with that autonomy comes a necessary “rejection” that can come as a huge shock if you’re not prepared for it.
I remember in “Fireproof” the scene in which Kirk Cameron’s character is hacked off because no matter what he has done to win her back, his wife keeps rejecting him. He is angry and bitter and resentful. He makes this list of all the things he’s done for her, and she still rejects him.
His father, the wise man that he is, points to the fact that Kirk’s character has done the same thing with God. God gave everything. His only Son. His very life. And still we reject Him. Even those of us who know and love Him. We get too busy with other things. We forget to make Him a part of our lives. We make other things more important and carve out no time for Him.
As I told my Sunday School class the other day, “What if I came to see you and I talked the whole time, never let you say a word, and then left? Would you think I was a great friend you wanted to spend more time with?”
The amazing thing to me is that God, even when we’ve rejected Him, forgotten about Him, and neglected Him, will take us back in a heartbeat if we just turn around. It’s amazing that He doesn’t go, “Nope. You’ve done this one too many times. I’m outta here.”
Because I imagine if we are made in the image of God that means God probably has feelings too. And I know how difficult it is to consistently return love for hurt when someone hurts you. That God is able to do that with absolute consistency is mind-blowing.
I do wonder sometimes if that is one reason Jesus wept. “I’m going to do all of this for them, and they still aren’t going to get it.”
Imagine if it were you. Imagine that you were going to lay down your life like Jesus did for someone you love so desperately, and that when you did, they would turn around and deny you, and forget you, and make everything else more important.
What love that must be to persevere in the face of that!