In last weekend’s sermon, Pastor Wu Yuzhuang dug deep into the painful issue of rejection, encouraging the church to look to God for their healing.
By Shirley Chew
Building on recent message on love from City Harvest Church’s senior pastor Kong Hee, Pastor Wu Yuzhuang explored the reason why people struggle to love. “I believe that the root problem is rejection,” he said.
Referencing 1 Samuel 16:10-11, Pastor Zhuang talked about how David suffered rejection all his life. When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s house to seek out the new king, David was excluded by his own father. Later, David was rejected by his boss King Saul, and eventually, he suffered rejection from his own son Absalom.
In life, everyone has to deal with rejection, the pastor pointed out. He defined rejection as “a refusal on the part of another person to accept and appreciate you for who you are and for who they are not”.
When rejection is not dealt with, it will stop the person’s progression in life and it may show up in negative behavioral patterns. A person who is rejected might hurt those who are closest to them: Cain killed Abel when God rejected his offering and he was jealous of his brother. Some men come home and yell at their wives when they have suffered rejection at the workplace.
Rejection that has not been address could cause a person to make a habit of ending things—to run past the solution—instead of fixing them, said Pastor Zhuang.
Other effects of rejection include bad attitudes, not allowing others to connect with one emotionally, a need to please people at the expense of oneself, and being afraid to make full use of one’s gifts.
Understanding certain truths about rejection can help to shape the way one reacts to it, explained Pastor Zhuang. One truth is that sometimes, rejection is the result of the other person’s issues, not one’s faults. Biblical historians suggest that one possible reason Jesse treated David differently was because David was perhaps an illegitimate son who reminded Jesse of his past mistakes and failures. But while his earthly father rejected David, God saw the value in him. The root of rejection was not David’s problem; it was Jesse’s.
Rejection could also be the result of a person’s success exposing the failures of others. David worked for Saul as a musician and Saul loved David so much that he made David his armor-bearer. But David slowly exceeded Saul’s expectation and even killed Goliath. Eventually, Saul became jealous after he heard the people singing “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands” (1 Sam 18:7). He then sought to destroy David.
FOUR WAYS DAVID RESPONDED TO REJECTION
Pastor Zhuang shared with the church four things David did when he faced rejection. First of all, David asked God to enlarge his heart.
Psalm 119:32 sees David crying out to God: “I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.” Pastor Zhuang said that this verse suggests that the bigger the capacity of the heart, the greater the ability to run with God’s Word—just as the racehorse Secretariat ran faster than every other horse because it had an enlarged heart.
The pastor expounded on the meaning of ability and capacity: ability is to possess the skill to do something while capacity is the ability to understand why they need to do that particular thing. 1 Samuel 13:14 tells Christians that “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart…” To run towards God’s heart to seek a heart with the same capacity as God.
“David was trying to love like God, forgive like God, give like God and care like God,” the pastor explained.
Next, David did not take revenge on Saul even when he had the chance to do so twice. Instead, he ran away. Pastor Zhuang explained that David ran away not because he was afraid of Saul; rather it was a sign of meekness. Weakness is the absence of strength, while meekness is strength under control, he said.
Meekness is restrained strength because real strength is revealed in restraint. When the soldiers mocked at Jesus on the Cross, He could have called down a host of angels to destroy them. Yet, he prayed for them and asked God to forgive them. That is a demonstration of meekness.
Thirdly, David cried out to God. 1 Samuel 30:4 reads, “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep.”
The Philistines had raided their camp and taken away their wives and children while David and his men were away at the battle. When they saw what had happened, they cried out until they had no more tears.
“That means they cried until they found relief,” the pastor said. “Weeping is a sign of grief but it is also a way of relief. It is a sign of acknowledging the pain and rejection.”
Pastor Zhuang shared a discovery by “tear expert” Dr William Frey. The doctor found that emotional tears contain stress hormones that get excreted from the body through crying. Additional studies showed that crying produces endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killer. That is why crying makes people feel better.
“God cannot heal the pain that your pride won’t allow you to admit,” the pastor preached. He urged the church to open up their hearts and cry out to God.
Lastly, David looked to the Lord for strength and healing. 1 Samuel 30:6 “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
People tend to look to those who had hurt them to find healing; they hope that the person who rejected them will repent and apologize.
“If we wait for those who hurt us to heal us, then we are holding our healing hostage to their response,” Pastor Zhuang pointed out. The problem with doing so is, one would never get healed if the offending party never admits his mistake.
Instead of looking for men, look to God for healing, the pastor urged.
Pastor Zhuang reiterated that it is important for the believer to understand that the rejection he faces has nothing to do with his value. Even when a person is wrestling with his past, God is speaking to him about his future and destiny.
In closing, he declared, “You may be rejected by men, but you are chosen by God.”