WOMEN AND FAITH: Community softens the blow of rejection

THERE'S no greater pain than experiencing rejection from a loved one. Well, arguably.

When a family member, a friend or a spouse turns their back on you, the pain of that moment is oftentimes barely survivable, except for the grace of God. God's grace is truly more than sufficient to carry you through the worst of rejections. And not only does His grace carry you through, but it also heals, restores, prepares a place, sustains and gets you ready for a better hope and a future, if you are His.

One of the beautiful tools God uses to heal rejection is community. The Church can play a role in restoring a person bludgeoned by the hammer of rejection. The Church is well positioned to provide advice, counselling, prayer, money, friendship and emotional support. The Church can also help you to see the truth when your life may feel like it is falling apart. And that truth is that while a loved one may reject you, God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). The scripture also goes on to assure that "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" While acknowledging the pain of rejection, it is also wise to maintain the perspective that God's presence and help in your life surpasses all other things, including the pain of rejection.

While it is God's work to do the seemingly impossible like restoring your soul, the Church plays the crucial role of surrounding the rejected person with friendship and walking with them on a difficult journey. A person suffering from rejection will sometimes question their worth and confidence — this is where a church community can play a key role. Through the pursuit of connection and friendship, the Church can affirm the rejected person's worth and value. But what does this look like? Regular phone calls to talk about how you are feeling and providing counsel during everyday conversations; providing meals for the rejected person on tough days when they may forget to eat; warm smiles and hugs when attending church services and if you miss church, a check in message or phone call. The Church community can get even more personal with personalised greeting cards and notes of encouragement, providing books and texts for reflection and so many other resources.

A strong family and circle of friends can also serve as God's hands and feet when walking through rejection. So don't turn your friends away. Accept their phone calls, unannounced visits, food, offers to do errands or to just sit with you in silence. Spending time with friends who love you can fill your cup and advance the healing process.

Practising gratitude can also help to maintain a positive perspective and unshackle your mind from the of the wounds of rejection. Hebrews 13 also urges us to "be content with what you have". So, it may be a good time to look around your life and start counting your blessings. Reflect on the supportive people in your life and be content with them. Enjoy them. Savour their goodness. Reflect on the good things that are happening in your life and try to enjoy them a little more. Pause, reflect and give thanks. In doing so you will become more able to "rejoice always…and give thanks in all circumstances". Put Philippians 4 verse 8 into practice: "Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." And the promise is that if you do that, 'the God of peace will be with you'.

Passionate about faith and women empowerment, Shelly-Ann Mair-Harris has served on the board of women's rights organisations and is the author of several publications including God's Woman and The Goodies on Her Tray. A woman of faith for several years, Shelly-Ann is also an award-winning playwright and poet as well as a trained and experienced media, marketing, change management and strategic communications professional.


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