“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6
Rejection in one form or another is common to the human experience, and not every rejection is personal or exacted to cause harm. For example, the denial of a request for credit means the lender rejects the request to borrow; it does not mean the lender has rejected the requester. Similarly, when a candidate loses his or her bid for elected office voters reject the candidate’s ideas, not the candidate. Likewise, the loving and sound advice of a parent that is rejected by his or her child does not mean the child rejects the parent. To the contrary, the child simply rejects the parent’s advice about a particular situation. As illustrated by the preceding examples, rejection is not always the repudiation of an individual.
Matthew 7:6 is part of The Sermon on the Mount that Jesus delivered to his followers. At the time, Jesus’ claims about himself were extremely controversial and not widely accepted. It was against that backdrop that Jesus warned his followers about the violent rejections they would incur because of the, then, “radical” views and proclamations they would make about Jesus’ Divine nature and about the new way of life Jesus’ followers were to adopt.
A paraphrase of the referenced passage might read: “Do not share spiritual gifts with those who lack the spiritual depth to appreciate the worth of what is offered. Know that you will encounter some so vehemently opposed to what you teach that they may try to destroy you.” It is clear from any reasonable paraphrase or translation of the text that Jesus was not referring to simple differences of opinions or disagreements. Instead Jesus was warning his followers that their message about Him would so incense some, that the intended recipients might revert to violence against the messengers in an attempt to destroy the message.
Despite the historical context in which Matthew 7:6 was given, the passage offers a model for dealing with those rejections that intend to denigrate, embarrass, isolate, subjugate, or show disdain. Examples include the ruse of inviting a person to a party for the sole purpose of humiliating him or her. The whole point of the cruel prank is to show the person that the prankster rejects the victim as part of his or her group. Similarly, an invitation to an event that is extended to every classmate except one (with whom there is no conflict) signals repudiation of the excluded person. Exclusion is a form of repudiation and repudiation is always meant to denigrate. When harm is the intent of rejection, the words of Mathew 7:6 make it clear that the rejection reflects the disturbed nature of the one doing the rejecting and does not depreciate the worth of the rejected person.
We are created by and in God’s image. Therefore, we are valuable even if our worth is not acknowledged by others. Moreover, 1 Corinthians 6:9 reads, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” No amount of rejection can take away from the power of that truth.
A Biblical Response to Personal Rejection
- Rejoice in the Lord. Philippians 4:4
- Ask God for help in distinguishing between the rejection of ideas and the rejection of a person.
- Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:7
- Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6: 28
- Put on the whole armor of God in order to withstand attacks. Ephesians 6:11
- Stay away from those who don’t appreciate your worth. Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5
- Pray for God to help you overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
- Cast your burdens-hurt, disappointment, dejection- on the Lord.1 Peter 5:7
- Know that God will use the harm that was leveled against you to His glory and to your good. Romans 8:28
- Remember, God loves you. John 3:16