How to deal with rejection?
Have you ever felt that you are being treated unfairly? Have you gone through situations where you thought you did not get a fair bit of the deal?
Well, we all at different times of our life go through feelings of rejection and betrayal. Such feelings can demoralize us.
In the scripture, we find a lot of God’s people going through rejection and betrayal. Moses was rejected by his own people. Jesus went through rejection. Paul was rejected by the Jews. So rejection is something we all battle with.
Moreover, I want to speak to you about dealing with rejection.
Dealing With Rejection
This morning I want to speak to you about a person who was rejected as a teenager but God lifted him up. The person is Joseph.
The now infamous American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was caught for doping once said, “A boo is a lot louder than a cheer.” And he actually hit the nail on the head, because no one wants to be rejected.
If you’ve ever been rejected you are on the list with people like Thomas Edison who was told by his teachers that he “was too stupid to learn anything.”
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four; did not read until he was seven. His teachers actually dismissed him as being mentally handicapped.
Mr. Bill Gates, was dropped out of Harvard. His first company failed miserably but now his Microsoft Company is a global giant.
Have you ever considered the fact that rejection if handled rightly can help you to grow spiritually and push you to your God-given purposes?
The rejection of Joseph
The life of Joseph is a great story about life being unfair. Joseph’s brothers tried to kill him but then found out that they could make a profit by selling him to slave traders. They thought they had seen the last of Joseph and that by all means, he was dead. They even lied to their father Jacob about it, making him endure needless grief over what he thought was the life of his favored son.
(The point is through all that he faced, we never read that Joseph ever complained. Though God never directly talked with Joseph, we read in
“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”
It probably didn’t look like it to us because we read he was sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into prison, forgotten about, and yet, “the Lord was with Joseph.”)
I want to remind us that many a time when we feel life is unfair, everyone has rejected us, never forget that God is always with you.
He has promised us according to His word.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Even in the silence, there is the presence of God. We can find this in
Joseph himself testifies that 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
He will turn evil into His own good for us.
says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Rejection is something every single person deals with at some point in his or her life. It can be painful and harsh, and it can stay with us for a long time.
Unfortunately, rejection is something none of us can really avoid; it’s probably going to happen to us at some point. It’s a part of life we just need to work through.
The Bible reminds us that it happens to everyone, including Jesus. Jesus faced rejection from his family, you read about this in:
For not even His brothers were believing in Him,
In His own community,
And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
and even from his close disciples, You also know that Peter denied Jesus thrice. We find Judas betraying him in
and asked “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him 30 pieces of silver.
says “He was rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces. He was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth.”
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.”
Sometimes we come out better on the other side of rejection than we would have been if we had not gotten it. As scripture reminds us, God will be there for us no matter what the situation.
Furthermore, I want to take a glimpse of the life of Joseph and how God was with him when everyone else in his life rejected him.
How was Joseph rejected?
Joseph was 17 years old. He was pasturing the flock with his brothers when he brought back a bad report about his brothers to the father. His father Jacob loved Joseph more than all his sons because he was a son of his old age. He made him a coat of different colors.
When the brothers saw that the father loved Joseph more than them, they hated him. They could not speak to him on friendly terms. One day Joseph had a dream (sheaves), which he shared with his brothers, they hated him all the more for his dream and for his words. Then he had a second dream (sun, moon and 11 stars) which he related to his brothers and to his father. His father rebuked him and his brothers became jealous of him.
Jacob sends Joseph to inquire about his brothers who went out pasturing and Joseph obeyed his father and went. He found them at Dothan. His brothers plotted against him to put him to death when they saw that he came to inquire about their welfare.
Joseph had been betrayed by his own brothers and sold as a slave.
Joseph had been sold to some Ishmaelite merchants for 20 shekels of silver. The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and put him up for sale in that land.
Imagine yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. You are around 17 years old, and the favored son in a family of 12 sons. Also, you have a beautiful multi-colored robe given by your father. You are having the best of everything. Then, in the flash of a second, everything that you dreamt of is gone.
You are stripped off your coat. People who should have loved you have betrayed you. You have pulled away from your father. You are thrown in a pit and then you are sold as a slave and carried off into a land you never even thought of.
Can you imagine the experience of being examined and sold in a slave market?
Imagine the lies Satan must have told him. Can you think of the thoughts running through his mind as he must be reaching the big palaces of Pharaoh? Circumstances could not have been worse for Joseph.
Your trials are stepping stones to victory
In fact, those difficult days were mere stepping stones along the path to greater glory.
It seemed like all Joseph’s dreams had been shattered, but the God who gave the dreams in the first place was working behind the scenes to ensure that they would all be fulfilled in His time.
When his brothers plotted against him, when they sold him to the traders when he was sold as a slave in Egypt, when his master’s wife lied about him, when he was in the Egyptian jail, it is only when the full story unfolds that you know that in all these calamities “God was with him.”
God knew the future. Moreover, He knew the drought was coming, he knew it would take the resources of Egypt to sustain Jacob’s family. Hence, God needed to get Joseph before Pharaoh.
What no one could see in all this trouble surrounding young Joseph’s life is stated clearly in
The Bible says, “And the Lord was with Joseph.”
I want to assure you that our God is always with His people to see them through their trials; to accomplish His plans in their lives. He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Our parents may let us down, our siblings may let us down, but God never changes His words.
Let us look at the ways the “Lord was with Joseph” during his time in Egypt. Joseph who was the father’s most favored son, pampered by the father, is now all by himself and is auctioned and taken as a slave.
When we lose all hope, and everyone we know has just walked away from us, our Lord is on our side, He is with us. If the Lord did this for Joseph, He will also do it for us.
If we want to overcome our difficulties and trials, if we want strength to face rejections that come our way, we need to have the Lord on our side. How can we have the Lord on our side? Today, God is revealed to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. When you receive Jesus as the Lord of your life, you have the Lord on your side. That is a choice we have to make.
What are some of the blessings if the Lord is with us?
God Preserves Us
As stated earlier, it seemed that all had fallen apart for Joseph. Yet, if you will take a minute to examine the facts, it becomes clear that Joseph was in the hand of divine providence. Considering all he faced, too many things “just happened” to fall into place for him.
Consider the intervention of Reuben-Genesis 37:21-22; Judah’s idea to sell Joseph as a slave-Genesis 37:26-27; The appearance of the Ishmaelite traders-Gen 37:28 and the Ishmaelite traders selling Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt–Gen. 37:36.
Potiphar is called “the captain of the guard”. His position seems to have been that of the chief executioner. He was like the head of Pharaoh’s secret police. He was responsible for protecting Pharaoh and for dealing with those who dared attack the Pharaoh.
Potiphar, by virtue of his position, would have been in contact with the top political officials of Egypt. Probably, over the course of time, Joseph would have been introduced to many of the influential people who would later serve him.
God set everything up just like it needed to be so that Joseph arrived exactly at the right place and at the right time he needed to be there.
Joseph might have been a slave, but he was safe in the arms of the Lord. He might have been separated from his earthly father, but his heavenly Father went with him and before him into Egypt.
If you carefully look into the sequence of actions of the people involved you can see how much the Lord was in control. Joseph’s brothers, the Ishmaelite traders, and Potiphar were all serving their own selfish interests. The brothers wanted to get rid of Joseph and his dreams.
The Ishmaelites were traders and were looking for a profit. Potiphar was just looking for a good deal on a slave.
At the end of it all, they could not see that they were all unwittingly accomplishing the purposes of God.
Isn’t it a blessing to know that all the events of our lives are part of God’s plan for us? Though the events of Joseph’s life appeared to be out of control, they were actually being controlled by God.
Joseph was being preserved by the Lord. Notice how God preserved him. By God’s presence.
“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”
The Bible does not record a single instance where Joseph complained because of all the hardships that he went through. He did not get angry nor did he have a bitter spirit but he surrendered even to his hardships.
By God’s providence – The dreams God gave Joseph were not off track. They were being fulfilled, in God’s time and in God’s way. I am sure those dreams sustained Joseph during the dark days.
Each one of us has the same protection that Joseph enjoyed. We have the assurance of His presence and His help to deal with our past, our problems and our pain. We do not have to become bitter, angry or unforgiving.
If you truly have the Lord with you, you can display a sweet spirit, even during the most trying of times. His promise tells us that
“all things work together for our good.”
A lot of what happens in life does not make good sense, but it does not change the fact that God is in control of everything that happens to us.
Sometimes, obedience to the Lord may lead us into the eye of a terrible storm. This was true in Joseph’s life. This was also true of Jesus. His obedience to the Father, made him go through the death on a cross.
As I have mentioned before, God’s purpose in our trials is not to harm us, but to develop us. We can trust Him to preserve us and grow us amid the hardships of this life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Our God is in control!
God Establishes Us
When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he no longer had his coat of many colors. The coat Jacob gave Joseph was a symbol of his position in the family.
It marked him as the overseer, it marked him as the head of the family, it marked him as the one in charge of all things and it marked him as a man with authority.
Joseph’s authority did not come from a robe. Joseph’s authority came from his character! He may have lost his coat, but his character was very much intact! He was a godly young man who walked before his father in absolute integrity.
Joseph’s greatness did not come from the clothes on his body, but from the character of his heart. He may have worn the garments of a slave, but he was still a man of character and integrity!
We ought to have the same testimony! We need to be people of character and integrity.
Maintain your testimony
Sometimes people are different depending on when and where you meet them. When you meet them at church they are one person; and when you meet them in the market place, they are someone totally different. We need to be the same people regardless of where we are.
As children of God, we should strive to do the right thing at all times. We should determine in our hearts that we will have a good attitude and demonstrate Christ-likeness all the time! Our character must be our greatest witness in the marketplace. Like Potiphar noticed something different about Joseph, the people we come in contact with must-see something different about us.
When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he could have taken a different path. He could have adopted the ways and customs of Egypt. He could have abandoned God and embraced the gods of Egypt. But, Joseph just stayed true to what he knew. Though he may have been bought over by Potiphar, he knew he belonged to God!
He knew what God expected of him, he knew his moral limits, he knew he had to work hard and stay true to his work. He had already made up his mind how things would be in his life.
It made no difference to Joseph where he was. Whether he was in his father’s house; in a pit; in the possession of slave traders; or in the house of his master, Joseph had purposed in his heart that he was always going to do the right thing. And, that is just what he did! Joseph was a man of integrity regardless of the situation in which he found himself.
I want to challenge you, like Joseph can we clearly define the boundaries for our life. As believers, there are some things we are permitted to do and some things we are not permitted to do. We need to make up our minds that we will not do the things we are not permitted to do. Then, when a situation arises, we do not have to debate it. We have already made up our minds and the issue is settled!
Aspire to be faithful amidst the storm
We are told in Gen 39:2 that Joseph was “a prosperous man”. Verse 3 tells us that “the Lord gave him success in everything he did. What I want you to see here is this: Joseph was in a difficult situation, but he still lived a life that was blessed by the Lord. Probably, his life was a life of endless drudgery and service, but he was faithful in his tasks.
His character caused him to be faithful to God and to his human master. As a result, God blessed his life and his work.
Some people may think that Joseph’s rise in Potiphar’s home as “good luck”. People look at that and say, Gosh, He sure is lucky.” However “luck” had nothing to do with Joseph’s success. In fact, there is no such thing as “luck”. Luck is for fairies, gnomes, and other mythical creatures; not for the children of the living God!
Joseph prospered because God decided to bless him! Joseph prospered because God saw in him a man He could trust to do His will. I want to remind each one of us that what we sometimes call as luck, is not luck, it is God’s way of rewarding his children for a godly character.
Just because you are going through trials and problems does not mean that God is not blessing you. You might not see Him moving in your life, but just trust Him and in His time, He will manifest His presence, His glory, and His power.
Joseph made the best of a terrible situation. He demonstrated a proper attitude in the midst of his trials. So should we! The secret to happiness in the hard times is how you respond to what is happening to you.
The great Baptist preacher John Bunyan was thrown into prison in 17th Century England for preaching the Gospel without a license. He spent 12 years in jail because he would not promise the court that he would not preach if he were released, he could have become discouraged by so long an imprisonment, but John Bunyan was a man of character and integrity.While he was in jail he had a stool that had three legs, he removed one of the legs and carved it into a flute. Moreover, he would use that flute to play Gospel songs.
While in jail, Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, which is an allegory of the Christian life. It is the second largest selling book in history, only the Bible has sold more copies.John Bunyan could have given up. Instead, he used his trials as a place to glorify his God. In turn, God blessed him! God is still looking for men and women of faith, character and integrity. He is still looking for people that He can use in these days to get glory and honor to His name!
God Promotes Us
4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Potiphar saw that the hand of God was upon Joseph. He knew there was something special about this Hebrew slave. As he watched Joseph work, and as he saw the result of his work, Potiphar saw that everything Joseph touched turned to gold.
Joseph who was the beloved son of his father became Joseph the betrayed, from there he still went further down and became Joseph the slave. From being a slave, he became Potiphar’s attendant.
In spite of this he remained faithful and his character was one of integrity. He did not withdraw from God. In fact, he drew nearer to God. He never grumbled or complained.
From being an attendant, he became Joseph the prisoner. While in prison God showed him favor and made him the second in command over all Egypt.
Potiphar promoted Joseph and made him the overseer of his entire household. Joseph was in control of everything that happened in Potiphar’s home and in his business interests. Potiphar learned that he could trust Joseph to do the right thing.
He discovered that Joseph was a man of industry and integrity. He was a worker who did the best job that he could for his master. Joseph served Potiphar like he was serving the Lord.
We all answer to someone! What is our attitude to the person that we report to?
Whoever that person is we should give our best at all times. That means giving eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. It means doing what they tell you without complaint and without attitude. That means serving your employer like you were serving the Lord,
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
It means working with industry and integrity for the glory of God.
Like cream, Joseph continues to rise to the top. Regardless of the situation in which he finds himself, he walks with integrity, seeking to glorify his God, and it showed in his life.
Even Potiphar who was an Egyptian saw something different in the life of Joseph. Joseph didn’t have to blow his trumpet and tell Potiphar what a great believer he was. The life he lived proclaimed the glory of his God and Potiphar saw for himself the influence of God in the life of Joseph!
The touch of God on his life opened the door for Joseph to share his faith with Potiphar. The same thing ought to be true of each of us! The lives we live should be so different from the world around us that the mark of God’s favor will be clear to see
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Joseph lived a godly life. He glorified God and God promoted him and used him in a powerful way. The Lord will do the same in your life and mine. If He can trust us with the tasks He assigns to us, He will entrust us with greater things down the road.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
God needs trustworthy men and women like Joseph. What is the little that God has given into your hand? Are we faithful in it? Only if he can trust us with the little can he trust us with much also? And when you are faithful to Him, the promotion will come your way.
What is our attitude in rejection when everyone else hates us or is jealous of us?
9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
God used the sorrows and rejection of Joseph’s life to shape him into the man He desired him to become. The trials Joseph faced, and the trials you and I face, are never easy. They do, however, teach us to depend on God.
When trials come our way many a time we ask “Why me God?” and you feel somehow singled out. Perhaps you feel that God is punishing you for some reason. Be assured, you are not alone. God has not abandoned you. We should never seek to shun the trials of life. In shunning our trials, we are also shunning the best of God’s blessings in this life.
A.W. Tozer once said, “It is doubtful that God ever used anyone greatly without first hurting them deeply.”
We want to be used, but we do not want the heartaches that come first. I am afraid that we cannot have the one without the other. They seem to go hand in hand.
Here is a final word of encouragement.
No matter how hard the way of life becomes, if you are saved if you are a child of God and Jesus is the Lord of your life in every area, the same thing that was said about Joseph is true about you: “And the Lord was with him.”
You do not face your trials alone. You do not walk through your valleys alone. Every step you take you are in the path of divine providence and God is in the business of preserving you, establishing you and promoting you for His glory!
How To Overcome Rejection?
1. Avoid A Victimized Mindset.
2. It Is Not What Man Says About You.
3. Remember The Lord Is With You.
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