Ellen Rothweiler, Des Moines, IA
What do you do when you experience pain?
The Pain of Rejection
Rejection is something most of us have experienced in our life. But, did you know that the brain experiences rejection as a form of physical pain? So breaking your arm and being rejected by your peers can have similar responses in the brain and can feel equally painful!
Studies have shown that children and teens often experience real and lingering pain of rejection more keenly than others. These feelings of rejection can impact the child’s overall health, both physically and socially. In a study done by Mark Leary, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, 15 cases of school shooters were analyzed and he discovered all but two suffered from social rejection. His research published in the journal Aggressive Behavior says, “Ostracized people sometimes become aggressive and can turn to violence.”
This pain, like any physical pain, can often take time to recover from and cause other issues if not dealt with. It is important that we pay attention to our emotional health and be aware of the impact that rejection can have on others.
- Share a time when you have felt rejected.
- Share a time when you have rejected someone.
- Does the relationship you have with someone impact how you respond to being rejected by them? Explain.
Fourth Sunday After Epiphany
(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
In this passage from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is preaching and teaching in his hometown. The crowd is full of people who have known him most of his life and see him as the son of Joseph. People’s worth was often measured by their parentage in the ancient Hebrew culture so that was an important part of his identity. The people were proud of him, excited to hear what he had to say. That is, until he said something that was difficult for them to hear. Then, they ran him out of town!
It is funny how precarious acceptance can be, especially with people who think they know all about you. You can feel like a well-liked part of a group and then you share an opinion that is not popular and you find yourself on the outside, rejected.
It is important to take note of how Jesus responded to this rejection. In verse 30 it says “but he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” Jesus seems unaffected by this rejection. He predicted they would respond this way in verse 24 “….no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown”. Jesus, being both fully human and fully divine may have felt this rejection as we do, but he had things to do. He was on a mission. We too, have a calling in life that God has given us. Sometimes rejection can be that thing that pushes us forward but that does not mean it is not painful. Often the pain of rejection can bring a new sense of identity. Jesus was not only Joseph’s son but the Son of God sent to redeem the world.
- Why do you think that Jesus said “no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown”?
- List three words that describe your identity.
- What groups/people have an impact on your identity?
As a group share qualities that you see in each other. Have each group member share three things they have noticed about the character of the person to their right. This should be a time of affirmation not criticism. As the leader of the group, take time to reflect back the qualities you hear that you see influencing each participants identity.
Lord we thank you for claiming us as your children in baptism. We know that this is our primary identity and that you will never reject us. Please be with us when we feel rejected by others and we pray for those who do not feel accepted by or connected to a community. Help us to welcome them and show them your love.