“The stone the masons discarded as flawed is now the capstone! This is God’s work. We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!” Psalm 118: 22-23 (MSG).
Psalm 118 contains many popular and inspiring words and phrases. Think of the reference to a stone that is rejected (NIV) or “discarded as flawed” (MSG) becoming the stone that is used to complete the building or monument. The discarding of the stone was a deliberate and intentional act of rejection. This act was premised on the conviction that the stone was flawed, not good enough, lacking the required standards. Guess what? The same stone turned out to be critical for the completion of the building.
These prophetic and practical words remind us that Jesus, God’s cornerstone for the salvation of the world, was despised and rejected by the religious leaders and the overzealous citizens who wanted peace through conflict rather than Jesus’ solution of peace in conflict. He was not just discarded and ignored, he was spat upon, slapped, booed, mocked, lied about, scourged, and killed.
This rejection was most painful because it was his own people who rejected him. They discarded him because he was not speaking their language; he was not of the right pedigree; he was hanging out with the wrong crowd and he had the wrong address.
Unfortunately, rejection is common. Teachers, parents or neighbours, pastors, the church, selectors for a football or cricket team, all engage in acts of discarding others as being unfit or simply not good enough for a task. Many persons have been deemed hopeless, irredeemable, valueless and unlikely to turn into anything good, but by God’s grace have become inventors, trailblazers, ministers and successful professionals. Haven’t you heard of some?
Not everyone will become the capstone, but everyone can make a valuable contribution to life, if given a chance. It will require a willingness to accept what each one has to offer.
So, if you are ever rejected by anyone, regard such rejection as “merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny” (Byrant McGill). Numerous persons have intentionally grappled with rejection and it resulted in a redirection of the course of their lives. In fact, one could dare to say it was the best thing that could have happened to them. Furthermore, there are many who can testify to the fact that a rejection resulted in doors being opened to a whole new world.
In order to rise above and overcome rejection, it is necessary to have a strong sense of self-worth and the mindset to refuse to accept the definition and limitations others place on us. We are all made in the image and likeness of God with immense value and great potential.
Thought: See rejection as redirection.
Prayer: Gracious God, show mercy to those who have been discarded. Help me to make myself vulnerable for you, to love them through me and give them hope.
Rev’d Everald L. Galbraith J.P.