Of the three eternal attributes of God’s presence in our lives, faith, hope and love – love is the greatest. The world yearns for genuine love and acceptance and there are many hurting people in the world but those who follow Jesus as Lord have a precious opportunity to walk in the love of God. This love of God never fails and it has the power to change the circumstances and transform the people around us.
In his final session at the SOM Conference 2016, Pr Tsukihara imparted a message of healing. He explained that in today’s world we need to understand the disruption around us in the light of God’s love. There is a restorative factor at work, he shared.
He conveyed that at the root of the oldest conflict on this earth is a family strife between the descendants of two brothers, Jacob and Esau. There is a spiritual principle at work; a spirit of fear and rejection and our warfare is not of the flesh but of the spirit (Ephesians 6:12).
The spirit of fear and rejection is something that controls masses and creates hostility. It is far more than just a petty quarrel; it affects whole societies and whole nations. But Pr Tsukihara also believes that the principality of fear and rejection will be brought down in our time and that real freedom and real change would come into fruition. ‘When the fear is gone, the world will change,’ he emboldened.
On a personal level for many of us, we also have to deal with rejection in our own lives. It is something that all of us will go through or have already gone through at some point in our lives. ‘To be rejected by someone you love, trusted, or depended on, whose acceptance is defining in your life, is not an easy thing. The wounds don’t go away easily and time doesn’t lessen the pain of those wounds. The healing process can only be sparked by a heart of forgiveness and the love of God.’
Unfortunately, many people learn to deal with the pain of rejection though their own way, in a human coping mechanism known as denial. And for many it works, for being able to suppress the pain, many are able to function in life again. But denial doesn’t heal the wound and when times of stress come, when the person is under pressure, the pain of rejection can flare again in a sudden outburst of anger.
However, God has already given us the solution in dealing with rejection, and it is found in Jesus. All of God’s love and acceptance had been concentrated on Jesus, His only begotten Son, and it is an eternal love. Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected so that we can share His place in this love of God. We are now able to put on new robes under Christ.
We might have long-lasting wounds of rejection, but when we come to Christ, the eternal love of God for Christ shines upon us. It is this love alone that has the power to heal the wounds of rejection. This is why it is so important for Christians to really understand the power of God’s love.
Rejection is in fact not something that is foreign to the Bible. We even read of how God favoured Abel over Cain, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over his brothers. The ones who were not favoured did not take it easy; they did the wrong thing and thought they would succeed. And lest we attempt to judge God for favouritism, we are reminded that God is sovereign. He makes perfect choices, and our part is to understand the choices God makes and to align ourselves with it.
‘Our God is King but He is not a disconnected figure of authority, sitting somewhere in a distant castle. He is very up-close and personal. He both reigns and rules, and like any leader who is actively involved in the lives of his people, He needs to make decisions. Most of the times, these decisions will revolve around other people. As a corollary of these decisions, when He picks one, by nature the others will be rejected. But His decisions are always guided by His infinite wisdom and according to His best plans for His people.’
God always makes the best choices and it is up to us how we respond to those choices. One example we can see is in how Joseph dealt with the rejection he received from his brothers. God chose Jacob over Esau because He saw a basis for relationship with Jacob, just as it was with Abel, and later it was the same with Joseph. The record of human responses to God’s choices hasn’t been so good throughout history, but through the Biblical testimonies we can sometimes understand why God made certain choices.
Many times in these accounts animosity would arise, and a central question would emerge. How would God deal with the conflict that would develop from His decisions? Noteworthily, we see the weight of the glory of God in how He takes responsibilities over His decisions. We see this in the reconciliation between Esau and Jacob (Genesis 33) and in the reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers.
These are ancient chronicles recorded in the Bible for our edification. Today, however, we can also apply what we learn from the Biblical stories personally into our lives. Even in the region where Pr Tsukahira lives, he sees God at work. A people that have been struggling with rejection for thousands of years are coming back home to God.
In Romans 11:11, it is recorded that salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke the Hebrews to jealousy. God is going to use Gentiles in these last days, and even those who have traditionally seen themselves as perpetual enemies of the Gospel are going to play a large role in God’s end times plan; many will reconcile and bring the message of salvation to the Hebrews.
‘On a personal level, we need to open ourselves up before God and be transparent before Him. If we take our wounds to God, if we ask for the intensity of God’s love to fall upon us, so that we can be instruments of healing and redemption, God is going to answer those prayers, and much healing is going to take place in your circumstances and in your environment,’ encouraged Pr Tsukihara.
NOTE: All pictures from the event kindly contributed by the organisers of the event.
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