Loving Those Who Reject You
Have you ever been rejected? How did you respond?
I remember a time when I was rejected and I did not take it well. I was in second grade at the time and some kids were playing basketball. Wanting to join, I approached them with confidence in my step asking if I could join them. Their sharp response deeply hurt me, “We don’t like you, so you can’t play, go away you loner”. I cried a river and harbored bitterness and anger towards them for years.
Last week I visited the S-Village and heard the remarkable story of Pastor Jim. Pastor Jim and his wife Nita heard and obeyed the Lord’s calling for them to give up an opportunity to pastor an affluent church in the city and instead head into the jungle. Located in a humid and dense jungle, the remote S-Village is home to a small community of 130 animistic people. It was here that Jim and Nita found their calling.
However obeying and laboring for the Lord is not always an easy task. The community did not welcome Pastor Jim and his family with open arms but rather with hostility, refusing to even engage them in conversation. This hostility even escalated to break-ins by some villagers in hopes of intimidating Jim and his family to leave the village. Though feeling very alone, with no supporting community around them Pastor Jim stayed faithful.
“Every night in the stillness of the jungle, my wife and I would pray for our people. We would cry out to God to save their souls for only Jesus can rescue them from their fear,” Jim recalls
Instead of bitterness and anger, the response was grace, love and compassion. For five years Jim and his family toiled and endured the hostility, never ceasing in their endeavor. Finally now he begins to see fruit from his labor. Today in the village a Christian kindergarten has been opened with ten students enrolled. The once hostile village chief ended up donating land for this school. The church in the village is growing and twenty local children and youth attend regularly, praising the name of Jesus.
Just like how Pastor Jim prayed for the villagers of S-Village, please keep him, his family and the other faithful workers around the world who labor for Christ in your prayers. Pray for their endurance and faithfulness as they serve, in love, those who hate and reject them because of Jesus.