When I consider the many who receive unjust treatment, the collective amount of pain is huge! The resulting damage done to their sense of self-worth and ability to lead a meaningful life is considerable.

So good that God carried me through to where I am today, where I can share this and help understanding about the pain of stigma grow.

 I had been treated kindly, but the kindness was replaced by unkindness. I had been treated with compassion but now received frustration and anger. Had talked about significant things, but was no longer welcome to do so. Respect was replaced with disrespectful remarks. My ideas, at one time regarded of value, no longer received consideration. I felt like I was no longer thought of as fully human. When I said I was hurt, no apology was given. Or concern shown.

Hurtful memories of things said and things done appeared daily in the form of flashbacks. Each time, they left me suffering for hours with depression, a sense of hopelessness, and shame. It became hard to function normally. Taking my life seemed the only escape.

Questions haunted me: What did I do wrong? I’m a good person. So why am I treated like this?

My life changed. I ended up with another mental health condition: complex post traumatic stress. Memories of the trauma would not leave me alone.

Where is the love God taught us to have for each other?

People fail. Relationships break down. We get hurt. Sometimes badly hurt. In our own way we start understanding Christ’s suffering.

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

It was a long time before I understood—fully understood—what the Bible meant when it said that Jesus died for me. Maybe I’d heard the message so often that it had lost its meaning. You know how that happens. Maybe you weren’t ready to hear it the first time and it didn’t sink in. Later in life, when it might have been more meaningful, the message had become stale and you were no longer interested.

But I have been paying more attention over the past few years. Having experienced rejection myself and the suffering that came with it, I have come to a better understanding of what Jesus went through than I might otherwise. With our sinners’ eyes, let’s have a look at what Jesus our Savior experienced as a rejected man.

Have you ever been deeply hurt by the rejection of a best friend? No longer counted as a friend. No longer greeted with a smile or hello. Do you remember how that felt?

Jesus knows.

Think of how Jesus must have felt to be rejected the way he was at the end of his life. Not by one, but by many. Look at how Isaiah above describes it. Although he was God in human form, he was considered less than a man, no longer belonging to mankind. He was treated as though he had no human feelings and was not entitled to human fellowship or sympathy. Imagine being treated so inhumanely. Maybe some of you can.

Lord Jesus:

When we hurt others without remorse, we can’t be feeling the love you meant us to have. When we don’t care about others, we’re not caring about you either, Lord. Your sacrifice appears to have no significance.

Does anyone have concern for what you went through on our behalf? Does anyone understand the price you paid to take our burden of sin away?

Has it sunk in, Lord Jesus, that the pain you bore was pain that we ourselves should have carried in our bodies and souls?

Forgive us, Lord. Forgive the wrongs we’ve done. Forgive us for how we’ve hurt others and how we hurt you. Take away our hatred. Help us turn back to you—back to your love. Help us leave our sins behind.

We bow before you. With prayers of repentance and pleas for forgiveness for how we hurt you. With prayers of gratitude for what you did for us.