“I am the resurrection and the life….And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”  John 14:25,26

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”  Matthew 18:11

“The people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  Matthew 15:8 (Isiah 29:13)

Rejection.  There’s a whole lot of spinning going around of various different things these days; a loss can be turned into a moral victory, a lie can be turned into a misrepresentation of the facts, a sin can be turned into a momentary lapse of judgement.  However, I can’t thing of a time where rejection has been spun into a good or pleasant thing.  There is the pain, the sting, the depression over, the lingering impact  (and many more negative aspects) of rejection.  One reason for this is rejection is often a unilateral action.  One person wants something badly, a job, a relationship, acknowledgement, love and the other person denies, they reject that thing as well as that person.  With rejection there seems to be the immediate sting that comes with its reception and then the lingering pain of its remembrance.

One of the things, one of the knocks on Christians and even Jesus Christ Himself, is seemingly He was so quick to reject.  Satan has convinced much of the world that Jesus Christ was and is a judgemental, vicious, rejecter of humanity and so are His people.  Sadly, we who state we are believers and belong to and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ have been all too quick to reject our fellow person.

Here’s what we have to understand, here’s what is critical grasp, here’s the vital truth; it is we, always we who reject and reject first.  In the initial fall, we were the ones that rejected God’s teaching and commandments, we were the ones that hid from God.  Even then, though there were consequences for our rejection, God did not reject us.  Didn’t Jesus reject the Pharisees and Sadducees?  No, it was the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus, who said that He could not be the Messiah.  They were the ones who called Him the king of demons.  Ah, but didn’t Jesus reject the rich man?  No, He didn’t.   I think people focus too much on Jesus saying to the young rich man; sell what you have and don’t focus on what Jesus said next; come follow me.  And remember it was the rich man who turned and walked away.  It was the rich man who rejected Jesus and his promise for eternal life, which ironically is what the young man said he was looking for in the first place.

Jesus was very clear; He came to save the world, to find the lost, to heal the sick and the broken.  Did not Jesus talk to and heal Jarius the synagogue leader’s child?  Did not Jesus praise the Roman Centurion and heal his servant?  Did Jesus accept a stealing tax collector to be one of His disciples (Matthew)?  It is clear through these and so many more instances of what He said and did for people that Jesus was not in the rejection business.

Unfortunately the same can not be said for us.  And we must be very clear about what rejection of Jesus Christ looks like, sounds like, acts like.  For there is the outright worldly rejection that says that Our Heavenly Father does not exist so anything associated with Him does not exist.  There is the worldly rejection that although it may be said that God exists, Jesus Christ did not exist, or maybe He did exist but was not the only begotten Son of God, just a really good man.  These are all definitely worldly rejections with their grave consequences of gnashing of teeth and crying.

There is a second more insidious type of rejection, a type of rejection that is even more dangerous because it hides in belief and undermines statements of faith and submission.  It is the rejection of Jesus Christ in the heart.  This type of rejection can be found in the world and within the community of believers as well.  What does this look like?  It looks like when we judge and reject our fellow person when we are sinners ourselves.  Know that we can and should reject the sin; both within ourselves and others.  However, that does not mean we reject the person.  It also looks like when we reject Christ’s teachings and instead accept what the world decrees as just, fair and righteous.  Rejection is when we reject the blessings and treasures of heaven and instead invest our time in building up earthly treasures for our own pleasure.

How do we know if we are in the process of rejecting Jesus Christ?  I know I was there before I accepted Christ into my life and unfortunately have been there afterwards as well.  I believe we should use the gnashing of teeth test.  Gnashing of teeth is often a response to anger, frustration, rage and hopelessness.  Do you feel in your heart that you should be reaching out to someone, but you are not because the world would look badly for you associating with, providing comfort for this person?  When you reject God’s voice, do you find yourself gnashing your teeth? Your heart is telling you to forsake some aspect of your life, smoking, adultery, something else that you are bowing down to, but you reject God’s voice because you are deriving much earthly pleasure from it?  Do you find that you’re gnashing your teeth thinking about it?  Your heart is telling you about a habit, a job, a location, something else that you need to change and you are rejecting that voice and find your jaw locked in a violent teeth gnash?

To those who might be reading this; first, thank you.  Second, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ, know that He has not rejected you.  He is patiently and waiting along with the Heavenly Host to rejoice and welcome you into His presence once you accept Him.  If you are reading this as a person of faith; we must ask ourselves, how are our teeth; are they gnashing or are they at rest.  Neither Jesus Christ, Our Heavenly Father, nor the Holy Spirit are in the business of rejection.  One dwells within us, The other loves us so much that He planned for our salvation, and the other followed His Father’s plan and far from rejecting us, instead died for us that we might live in Him.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You that although in Your righteousness, You can judge and reject us, instead You love us so much that You sent Your Son as a sacrifice to redeem us.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father when we reject that love and instead act in a worldly manner.  Pour Out Your Spirit upon us that we instead would reject the world and all the evil which is in it and instead return to You Dear Father.  That in doing so the world would see Your redeeming nature and praise Your Holy Name.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen