Saturday, 2 February 2013

How do you deal with rejection?
Do you have that feeling of incompetence when you act or perform in front of people who know you well? I'll give you an example.  Dennis is a known addict in their place.  However, his life changes after having a girlfriend from a respected family.  It turns out that the girl belongs to a small but very progressive Christian denomination.  After months of joining this community, Dennis becomes a trusted leader and preacher for young people.  He is gaining the confidence but shivers upon knowing the latest mission given to him.  He is going to preach to the young people in their place.  

Can you imagine how hard it is for Dennis?  What do you think is the main reason why he is afraid?  Obvious, right?  The young people in their place know him and his past.

This scenario is quite peculiar but even in our own experience we seem to have less confidence when we do things in front of those who know us.  At one time, I invited a well-known leader to speak on a particular issue.  When I talked to him, he commented that it was his first time in long long years he was again  invited to speak in our school.  But what stuck me was his side comment.  "In other places, people believed so much on me but here in our place people don't give much credit ,"  he jokingly said.

As a kid, I was so fascinated for visitors in our village who speaks Tagalog, or especially foreigners speaking in English.  For me, they are superior than the people in our village who only speak pure Cebuano.  I think it is a part of Filipino culture to pay  much respect and admiration to people from other places. 

What's the reason?  Familiarity leads to rejection.

In our gospel today (Luke 4:21-30), Jesus was rejected by his neighbors and acquaintances.  They can't believe him talking about God and His Kingdom because they knew him, the son of a carpenter.  He is their neighbor.  The same experience was felt by the apostles and disciples of Jesus. They had a hard time convincing their own people.

However, this rejection has led to opening the gates of greater opportunities.  For example, in the case of Jesus, he transferred to other places and gained support and admiration from the people.  This was also the same experience to his followers.  I suppose this is one of the reasons why the Church spread quickly outside Israel.

The simple message for today's gospel is to fight rejection.  However, like Jesus and His followers, we need to do the following:
1. Stand to what you believe.  Despite the negative perception of people, we need to be strong on what we see as right.  As long as it is clear what we want to do, be firm against any form of rejection.  As a teacher, i am amazed to know that some of our students who did not do well in high school are excelling in college. Those naughty ones in high school, who are the recipient of all the negative feedback from their classmates and sometimes teachers, bloom in a new environment.  In other words, they have the capacities but  are prevented for lack of confidence. They are not able to stand up for what they are and what they can do.  It's a different story in a new environment.

2. Look for opportunities.  If you are rejected in one place, then convince yourself of the possibility of doing it in another place.  It's like in business.  If the business fails, real business people don't stop.  They find another way, another place and another opportunities.  In life, that's the same.  Learn from this popular saying, "When God closes a door, he opens  a window."

3.  Get the message.  Rejection is not the end.  A person of wisdom sees roadblocks a challenges to make him stronger.  In our gospel today, Jesus proceeded to other villages because He knew the people there will be more receptive of Him.  It was a sign for Him to focus and to change his strategies. The apostles and other followers followed the same strategy.  In fact, they were taught by Jesus how to handle themselves when rejected.  It was in the bible that if rejected they will leave the place, shake the dust of their sandals as a testament and proceed  to another house.

What about you?  Do you also experience being rejected?  Learn from the gospel today and the message it brings.

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T. 

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