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If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

John 15:18 (NIV)

My mail carrier brought someone else's mail to my address a few days ago. Thinking he had made a mistake, I put it in the outgoing mail slot, hoping the mail carrier would correct his mistake. Unfortunately, I found the same mail in my mailbox the next day. After three consecutive days of going back and forth, I wrote in large letters NOT AT THIS ADDRESS on each envelope and never saw that mail again.

This week the Lord put it on my heart to write about rejection. I know rejection well. My heart dealt with it for a long time. It is the opposite of acceptance and the result of abandonment, abuse, betrayal, or lack of love. I have experienced all those feelings at different times in my life, and I can testify that they produce rejection. You may have experienced the same pain and understand it all too well.

The good news is that we are in good company. Jesus experienced a level of rejection like no other person. Once his parents left him behind in a city that was not his home. The apostle who ate from his plate betrayed him. The people who swore they would die with him abandoned him. He was abused to death and hated, hanging on a cross, saving the people who rejected him.

Think about it, the creator and author of all things allowed his creation to reject him. The only perfect one suffered rejection for us. The Bible says that He took our place by becoming a sinner to purchase our salvation and also took upon him our rejection so that we could be free from it. Rejection no longer has a right to claim residency in our lives.

In a corrupt world, we will experience hate. No matter how smart, beautiful, accomplished, educated, or talented we are, we will experience rejection. The great thing is that we do not have to live with it. Just as we do not have to accept another person's mail, we do not have to accept rejection in our hearts. We can send it to the cross because we are accepted and appreciated by Christ.

The next time the world tries to send you rejection, do not let that hate enter your heart. Tell it, "NOT AT THIS ADDRESS," and send it to the cross.

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