In the words of someone who has been there:

I’ve told many about how stigma has affected me. My story. My pain. But I realize everyone has a story. Everyone has experienced some form of rejection. It must be one of the worst sources of emotional pain. For many of us, the memories never go away. We tell our stories, express our pain, and hope the telling will make things better. But it only does so temporarily.

If you have friends with this kind of pain (and there are many), I hope you will read on and discover how God helped me deal with it and how you might encourage others.

The description of Jesus in Isaiah comforts me. I realize I’m not alone. Jesus, one much greater than myself, felt the same rejection, but so much more than mine. Jesus was a perfect man—God in human form. And yet,

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

 Isaiah 53:3

David, “the man after God’s own heart,” once wrote:

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

The broken-hearted he speaks of could have been because of their sin. But heartbroken is not only the result of sin. It can also mean you were wounded in some way, through rejection or deep loss of something precious to you. Such grief and sorrow is hard to withstand. When your heart is broken, your spirit is crushed, and you are emotionally damaged. The hurtfulness becomes unbearable. There is a suffering far greater than the physical pain of a broken bone. This kind of pain might fade with time, but never goes away.

What follows is something worth discussing with your hurting friends:

As the Scripture above tells us, not all is as bad as we might think. “The Lord saves those who are crushed in spirit.” In fact, the painful state of brokenness is the means through which God performs some of his deepest work within our hearts. God has given us his son Jesus whose power to heal is greater than all medicines combined. His power can give us peace even during hard times.

We don’t have to face our pain alone. No one on earth can utterly understand how we feel or the pain we suffer—but Jesus does, and he’s by our side! Isaiah 53:3 tells us this about Jesus: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” Doesn’t that sound like someone who would understand us? Someone who’s where we are? Jesus is close to us, even now.

And here’s some good news to share with your friends: God can use their suffering!

Author A.W. Tozer wrote, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.” Likewise, evangelist and author Alan Redpath wrote, “When God wants to do an impossible task, he takes an impossible individual—and crushes him.”

God could be working in the lives of your friends—even now.  He might very well be using their pain to develop them into the person he needs to do something special for him. He will bless them in their pain.

What might God be preparing them for?


This has been Part 17 of the series In the Name of Jesus. Go to Part 18  – Overcoming Injustice.