Years ago, I became friends with someone who only had a few friends outside of her profession. She was different. She loved wildlife and would spend her money planting trees. I guess from a worldly perspective, she wasn’t attractive because people had mean nicknames for her. I remember someone asking me, “Why do you hang out with her?” Really? I thought. I just shook my head and realized that a lot of people were missing out on a true friend by not taking the time to get to know her. She died a few years later from a severe asthmatic attack. I was sad, but I had great comfort in knowing that I hadn’t missed out on being part of the life of someone so amazing.
Differences and prejudice still exist, even though we tell ourselves as a society that we’re respectful of all people. It doesn’t matter what your income is, what color your skin is, what nationality you are, or how far you’ve made it up the academic or professional ladder. Prejudice and hate continue to live in our world.
Teens are also susceptible to thoughts of prejudice. It usually centers around academics, religion, disabilities, sports, or, just like my friend, because someone is different.
Do you face prejudice or rejection? What can you do?
- Stay focused on your strengths and talents. When you are successful and confident in the things that you love, you won’t put a lot of weight in what others say about you.
- You are one of a kind and unique. God gave you gifts and talents that only you can share with the world.
- Remember that others are missing out on who you are when they exhibit prejudicial behavior.
- Embrace cultural diversity. Avoid stereotypic comments about others who are not like you. Speak out against jokes that are the target of specific groups or people.
- You can make lifetime friends with those who are different.
What is the greatest commandment? Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39. Love your neighbor as yourself.
what God says about rejection
“For the sake of his great name the Lord
will not reject his people, because the
Lord was pleased to make you his own.”
—1 Samuel 12:22 niv
“I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you.”
—John 14:18 kjv
today’s truth tips
Handling Rejection: Two Questions to Ask
“Is my focus on the world?” Do you care more about the opinions of others—to the point of putting them before God? Or are you willing to give all to Christ—to begin trusting Him? Consider these words from a fellow saint: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep. . .to gain what he cannot lose.”
“Am I treating my relationship with God like a passing fad?” Know this: Your faith in Christ is a step-by-step, day-by-day commitment. And like any relationship, it requires your time and devotion in order for it to grow. “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21–22 niv). You may even be rejected for your faith.