You may have heard in the news recently about the young man who went on a shooting spree in Santa Barbara California a few weeks ago. A young, good-looking man with his whole life ahead of him stabbed both his roommates and then grabbed his guns and drove downtown and started shooting random people. His main targets were women. In fact, he first stopped at a sorority but thank God they didn't answer the door. He killed 6 young people before he shot himself.
Unlike so many of these random acts of violence, this man left us a video along with a 40 page manifesto of his life story. I've glanced through some of it. And honestly, it broke my heart. He came from a broken home. His father was always busy with work, so he really had no strong male influence. Because he was skinny and smaller than other kids his age, he was bullied terribly in school He had very few friends and at several points in his life, he had no friends. He always wanted to have a girlfriend but women shunned him and teased him. So, he threw himself into video games and they became his world, a place where he was in control and accepted. It seemed that everywhere this kid turned, he was being told that he wasn't good enough, he wasn't fast enough or smart enough or good-looking enough. He just didn't measure up.
Many of us face rejection throughout our lives. I had a rough time in school. I was a pimple-faced nerd who got teased a lot. I also had no father in the home, no stability. So, I can understand this kid on some level. Rejection hurts, and if you're not grounded in who you are, where you come from, and what your value is, rejection can either destroy you or make you into a monster. I am in no way excusing what this young man did. Most of us would never dream of doing something like this, no matter how many times we'd been rejected.
The world is a very rough place. So many kids grow up in homes where they aren't loved, where they aren't accepted. Then, they go out into the world where inevitably they will face more rejection from friends, workers, spouses, etc. If you grew up in a strong family where you were loved unconditionally, you should thank God for that blessing. You are probably a confident person, secure in yourself and able to shrug off rejections that come your way. Sure they hurt, but you aren't wounded for long. But what about the rest of us?
God is the only answer for rejection. Why? Because He never rejects anyone who comes to Him. In fact, He not only will never reject you, He made you just like you are. He created you. He took time to add in all your unique traits and likes and abilities and skills and passions. He gave you your hair color and eye color and skin color and body type. And He took a step back and said "This is Good!" God loves you more than anyone ever could and He values you high above anything else in His creation. He's the only one in the universe who would gladly die for you. (And He did!) He not only values you and loves you but He wants to walk beside you and help you. He has a plan for your life. He gives you purpose, hope, joy, love, and a reason to get up in the morning. He fixes your relationships, heals your diseases, rescues you from evil, protects, provides and will ALWAYS be there for you. He's never too busy to listen to you, never too angry to turn your way, never unaware of all that you're going through. He tells you who you are, where you come from, why you're here, what your value is, and where you're going!
I can't help but think that if someone had told this young man how precious he was, how valued and loved he was by God, and if he had really taken the time to turn to God and find out if that was true, then he and 6 other people would not be dead now. This young man just wanted to be loved, to be valued, to have hope for his future. I'm sure the Father was begging him to turn His way.. to just look up once and ask for help, but he never did. How God must have cried when this young man turned away from His offer of unconditional love and continued down the dark path he was on.
People will hurt you. They will reject you, say mean things, insult you, demean you, humiliate you and ignore you. Even people you love sometimes hurt you the most. But God NEVER will do any of these things. He will always love you without cost or condition. He is the only answer for rejection.