For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord…” 2 Timothy 1:7-8a
None of us likes rejection, but for some it is a debilitating fear that dominates their lives and destroys their relationships. Here’s an old story that sheds light on how some people deal with their fear of rejection.
A social scientist was conducting a study on how the unemployed dealt with the fear of rejection in a job market that offered far more rejections than acceptances. When the researcher interviewed one man who had been out of work for several years, he asked: “Do you fear being rejected when you go for a job interview?”
The unemployed man replied, “No,” to which the researcher immediately responded: “But doesn’t rejection cause you pain?”
“Of course it does! It’s terrifying!”
“Then how do you manage? How do you cope with your fear of rejection?”
The man’s reply came quickly. “Oh, that’s easy. I never apply for any jobs.”
We may laugh at the man’s story, but the truth is many of us are just like him. We avoid rejection by limiting our exposure to it. This kind of approach often stands in the way of our sharing the gospel with those who need to hear it. We fear their rejection and so we keep our mouths shut. This is not an action that pleases the Lord.
So how do we handle our fear of rejection when it comes to witnessing to others of our faith? We need to keep in mind the truth found in 2 Timothy 1:7-8a. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear or timidity; He gave us a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. In other words, we already have everything we need in order to do what God has called us to do. We have that power within us. We have the self-discipline we need. All we have to do is buckle down and do it—with the spirit of love that He also has given us.
Remember the admonition of the Apostle Paul: “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” And keep in mind: If they reject the message, they are not rejecting you. They are rejecting the Lord.