“He sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:52-53)
There is one lesson to learn from the way Jesus reacted to rejection by the Samaritans in today’s Gospel passage. He would not allow the sons of thunder, James and John to call down fire from heaven to burn them. He even rebuked them for saying such. All Jesus did was to ask them to go to another village.
Of course, when we intend good for people only for them to throw it at our faces, we have every reason to be angry. However, Jesus teaches us today that in such situations, the best thing to do is to simply walk away. Like James and John, the average human reaction to rejection is to call down fire on people but what good is that?
If you really wanted to help them in the first place, you would be betraying your goodness when you now turn around to destroy them with the fire of your anger. At times, the best thing to do for a person you love is to walk away when your love is rejected. Fighting the same person you love for refusing to love you back shows you never loved that person at all. As St. Paul teaches us, love (if it is true), never comes to no end. (Cf. 1st Corinthians 13:8).
Whether we like it or not, we all are going to experience one form of rejection or another as long as we live in a world where freedom of choice exists. So rather than avoid rejection at all costs and become people pleasers (which is worse), we just need to prepare ourselves ahead for rejection and find ways to heal ourselves when it happens.
Right there on the cross, Jesus said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). When people reject you, it does not mean you are worthless, it simply means they are ignorant of your worth. Excuse them and move on.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me give my best no matter how little others may appreciate it. Amen.
Bible Study: Zechariah 8:20-23 and Luke 9:51-56).