Tables Have Turned

How does it feel to be rejected let alone oppressed or falsely accused or used and chucked out? How often do we reject others?  What are our motives for the rejection?  On what do we base the decision to do so?  I have for sure had more than my fair share of rejection, being oppressed, misjudged and likewise, I have also rejected others – sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly.

In Matthew 18: 15-20, Jesus clearly tells us what we ought to do when a brother (or sister) sins against us.  If he / she refuses to listen even through all the steps of reconciliation, we are then to treat him / her like a pagan.  Jesus also clearly tells us to be “harmless as doves and wise as serpents”.  If someone is abusive (emotionally or physically or sexually it is all abuse), then we walk away IN LOVE as loving them means not feeding into their behavioural problems and being a doormat but rather making them face their issues and deal with them.  It takes the absence of the victim for the perpetrator to own up instead of blame shift.

Those are situations where we need to ‘reject’ nonetheless in love.  However, what about the situations where there is no harm afflicted on us but we reject the other?  Often people reject others when they can’t understand the other person, because the other person is ‘different’ – different perhaps due to cultural or ethnic background, or different exposures or different educational or intellectual levels or different choices contrary to the norm.. If we find it hard to ‘relate’ to another because it makes us feel inadequate, we often reject.

Another motive for rejection is because we feel ‘threatened’ by the other person.  Perhaps the other person stands a greater chance to get the very thing we want – whether it be position or status or relationship or even fame.  So we resort to undercutting the other – rejecting the other tarnishing their name with false accusations or with a ‘label’.  Doing so makes an insecure person feel bigger.  Pastors of churches or leaders of Christian institutions are not exempt from this – even they can go to the extent of pushing them out of “their” territory for this very reason.

Then of course there are the good old prejudices playing up…. “Oh those people are all this or like that”.  We base our prejudices on disabilities, ethnicity, their past and backgrounds etc.  Just because we knew one or two people of that particular ethnicity or race or with a particular past who played up or missed the mark, we automatically assume EVERYONE from that ethnicity or race or with the particular past will do the SAME. So we ‘judge’ them on that basis.

.. if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently – Galatians 6:1

The Bible makes it clear “if caught in a sin”, not assumed to be a sin… When we look at someone with tinted glasses, yes we will assume that they are sinning.  Our tints are formed based on our own experiences and even our own weaknesses – so we project that onto the others and judge.  Worse of all, we shove them aside too.  Yet the Bible tells us, to “restore gently” not even harshly!

But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.- Psalm 75:7

The question that we need to probe ourselves with our every action is “Are we being an Ambassador of Christ in this decision?”.  How are we representing Christ who is the Lion of Judah and also the Lamb of God?  If we truly knew God’s grace and have experienced His love and mercy, we will love others in the same way being indebted and grateful for that Supreme love.

Jephthah was rejected because he was born to a prostitute, his brothers threw him out of their father’s house as if that was his fault in the first place.  The tables turned, and ultimately these brothers needed to seek his help in a time of distress and place him as head and commander!  Joseph was rejected because he saw visions of ruling over them.  He was sold as a slave to get him out of the scene.  Ultimately, the brothers were at his mercy for survival.

Haman built a gallows to hang Mordecai as the God-fearing Mordecai refused to worship him.  The tables turned and not only did Haman have to HONOUR Mordecai, but he was also hung to death on the VERY gallows that he had built to hang Mordecai!

Jesus quoted Scripture “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone“- Matthew 21:42.

God turns the tables around – who we reject today may very well be placed over us or to whom we would need to turn in a time of distress.  Thankfully the one that God appoints in such a way are those who exhibit the love and grace of God and who don’t have a revengeful heart.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted – Luke 14:11

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