No matter how many lives God uses you impact, or how many people walk with you as you walk with God, or how much good you do...
In spite of all of the help you have given to those who are hurting...
Jesus Christ was despised and rejected, and you will be too!
It’s nothing to complain about, or feel sorry for yourself about, but it is something to be aware of. It can be natural to expect that those who God uses you to bless would bless you in return, or at least not seek to hurt you, but there will always be mean, miserable people who seek to discredit who you are.
Christian ministry is a continuation of the work of Jesus Christ, but we not only share in the blessings, we also share in the suffering. God allows us to be glorified by filling us with God’s power, yet God allows us to be humbled through hurtful experiences we encounter, sometimes at the hands of those we’ve been called to help.
If you’ve experienced the pain of feeling despised and rejected, know that you’re in good company. Jesus Christ, who is everything, was considered nothing! This proves that you can’t do enough for people to make them see good in you. People will forget miles of good for an inch of what they feel is bad. Even with that, we have a responsibility to stay true to who we are, and what God has called us to do.
As it is with Christ, so it is with you and I: How people see you does not determine who you are!
After a disagreement earlier this year, I expressed to my dad my annoyance with people who repay my kindness with meanness. My dad taught me to keep helping the people who hurt me because my nature is to help, and if I let the ones who hurt me change me, I’ve given them a power to control me that doesn’t belong to them.
Those words of wisdom remind me not to let the inevitable experience of being despised and rejected provoke me to forfeit my identity. When we experience being considered nothing by those we serve, colleagues, strangers, or anyone else, we have a perfect example in Jesus Christ that shows us how to endure suffering. 1 Peter 2:23 says: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
Jesus trusted God through His suffering. While that’s easier said than done, it’s our key to surviving our suffering seasons. Let your trust in God give you the encouragement that is needed to be found faithful in a work that is sometimes hurtful.
The fact that Jesus didn’t respond is a glaring part of his experience of being despised and rejected. I encourage you not to return revile for revile. Don’t give harsh words as an answer to harsh words. Growing up my mom would call it being “low down”. Don’t be “low down”! Let your validation come from God, and not people, and you can channel the hurt we experience in life and ministry as a push towards being better versus being bitter.
Shade is coming.
Attempts to discredit you are coming.
Hurtful lies are coming.
Gossip and rumors will carry your name.
Those you help will hurt you (or at least try to), but I leave with you words from the writer of Psalms as both a word of advice and one of encouragement:
“Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalms 37:1-5 ESV
You may never receive honor, respect, or appreciation from those that your life is a blessing to, and hopefully you will, but if you don't, serve as unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Give as unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Live as unto the Lord Jesus Christ, putting your trust in God in the high and low experiences, and you will qualify to experience what the psalmist declared, that "he (God) will act". I'm a witness that God will act on your behalf when you trust God, although you've experienced being despised and rejected.
Jesus proves for us that you can overcome every word said and deed done in effort to despise who you are and reject what you're called to be. "Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for me."