It’s never fun to be rejected. I suppose that’s a bit of an understatement. Rejection can be devastating. But we have to look at the other person’s point of view and the reasons they feel they have a right to reject you. Maybe you really did do something to disappoint them, maybe you betrayed them, maybe you upset them with a terrible (to them) truth, maybe you changed into someone they could not abide spending time with anymore. In that respect, that last one, maybe rejection is good. It’s a kind of “tough love” that tells a person, “You’ve changed, and not for the better. You’re hurting yourself and others. So I’m leaving you now until you get the help you need, until you recognize the destruction you are leaving in your wake.”
But sometimes rejection can be due to a misunderstanding. Sometimes rejection can happen because the one who rejects you did not understand or listen to the full reason for your actions, or they didn’t hear/read all your words. I lost a friend, I hope not permanently, recently for something I wrote in this very blog. It wounded her deeply, although I believe it’s because she only read the headline of a link I shared. She made a lot of assumptions based on that heading that I wish she had not made. And, to her credit, she sent me a note explaining how angry she was with me and that she was unsubscribing. (She did.) I have learned that anger is actually often due to someone being hurt. When feelings are hurt by someone you trust, it can cause anger. But this friend, for very personal reasons, was so hurt and so felt such anger, she rejected me.
I wrote a response which I pray she reads. It was merely an apology, a sincere one as I would never intentionally injure anyone. I told her I’d be praying for her intentions. I am. I feel terrible. But I also feel like I did not say anything that was close to what she was accusing me of. So I was a little frustrated when I read her words. But she is wounded and grieving. I learned a long time ago that grieving people get to feel how they feel and I don’t get to try to “make it better.”
I was reminded of this line from St. Francis of Assisi‘s prayer: “Lord, let me seek not so much to be understood as to understand…” That’s where I am right now. It doesn’t matter what I meant or even what I said that she may have not read or misread. It was not a time for me to defend my words or their intent, it was not appropriate to clarify them either. I do think the Lord answered my prayer to understand the other person’s woundedness. And I am grateful for that. It has made the rejection easier to bear. And it makes me think of Jesus.
Rejected and misunderstood in His earthly life and even now, I am experiencing a tiny fraction of what that must have felt like for our Lord. I had nothing but good intentions, but it didn’t matter to this friend. I will continue to call her my friend, even if she’s abandoned our friendship. I pray it’s temporary even as I pray for the healing and comfort she so badly needs for personal events in her life.
I am sharing this because maybe someone who is reading this needs to understand more than be understood. And maybe it’s hard to humble yourself enough to not justify your actions or words. But I urge you to do it. And then pray for the one you unintentionally hurt, but not so you’ll feel better once you know they understand and forgive you, though. Pray for them because you hurt them and you want them to feel better. God knows your heart and knows your intentions. Even if it got all bungled, He knows. So that can be your consolation.
Here’s a lovely song that is encouraging me right now. St. Francis, pray for us.