Our son graduated college last May and is spending the year as a youth intern at a church here in town, so he’s living with us rather than trying to make his extremely meager salary cover a rent payment every month.* We’re thrilled because frankly he’s a ton of fun to have around.
The Rejection Hotline
He went to the store last Saturday to pick up a gallon of chocolate milk. As he went through the checkout line the young woman commented at length about the milk, how much she loved chocolate milk, how wonderful chocolate milk was, the joys of chocolate milk. Our son said he went into monosyllabic mode so as not to encourage her into further rhapsody on all things chocolate milk.
I said it may not have been the milk she was really taken with, and suggested half-seriously that perhaps she wanted his phone number. He looked at me with a smirk and said, “Yeah, but I gave her the number to the rejection hotline.”
It turns out there is such a thing. He said there is a website with a list of phone numbers for various area codes so that if someone is bugging you for your number you can hand this one over. If they call it, apparently there’s a message along the lines of “The person who gave you this number didn’t want to hand over their real number. Sorry, but you’ve reached The Rejection Hotline.”**
When Rejection is Part of Redemption
I got to thinking about how God didn’t hand me the number to The Rejection Hotline. But then I wondered if it’s ever OK to reject something and this passage came to mind:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8.)
It is because of God’s acceptance that we are able to walk with God and resist the devil, to reject him. And there’s no need for a Rejection Hotline. We resist and Satan flees.
I saw this rejection and flight scenario work out in my life just yesterday. A blog friend, Ellen Painter Dollar, wrote on a very delicate topic and some comments were less than appreciative. In fact, some went so far as to question her motives for even choosing to write on the subject. She got savaged by one commenter in particular.
As some of you may suspect, I have a protective streak in me; you should have seen it coming out when I read those unfair and at times vicious criticisms. I wanted to blast them! But I didn’t. After all, Ellen’s been blogging a long time and has repeatedly proven that she can handle these types of situations very effectively and irenically. So I resisted the urge.
And then I noticed a curious thing. The urge to blast was no longer there. In its place I found an urge to engage constructively, and I tried to do so. Whether I was successful or not is up to whoever reads the comments, but I know that I was free of the urge to blast some poor person who is probably going through a rough patch and certainly doesn’t need me to make it any worse. It was as if Satan had fled from me at the moment of resisting him. And according to James, he did.
I am so glad that God works in me to give me the ability to do what needs doing.
Sometimes that includes a little rejection.
Have you seen the devil flee when you’ve resisted him? What does that look like?
*If you want to read about our daughter, check out yesterday’s post.
**He assured me he didn’t really hand over any number, real or fake. We can all breathe a little easier.