There are a lot of “uncomfortable” teachings left to us by the Lord Jesus. I suppose we don’t speak or preach on them much, if at all, for that very reason. They seem to leave us in a paradox too difficult to wade into. This is particularly true if we hold to an unbalanced understanding of Jesus. If Jesus was only “loving” as we understand it, then how could He say or do anything deemed “judgmental” or even instruct us to do something in like manner?
Here is one of those uncomfortable teachings…
Matthew 10:14 (NASB95) 14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.
The initial interpretation of this is simply, when a house, city, or people reject the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached, the disciples were simply to shake the dust off their feet and walk on. It was a sign that truth had been preached there, yet rejected.
There is however, a deeper more spiritual principle for you and I to live by. The truth is this, when facing rejection in any situation, make sure you “shake it off” and do not carry it forward with you into the next day, not just the next place.
We all face rejection at different levels and at different times in our lives. Family members may reject us, friends may reject us, and people in the work place may reject us. The truth we are to glean from this passage of scripture is in how we are to respond to that rejection in such a way that is healing to us and pleasing to God as well.
In the natural this act was a “silent” response. The disciples weren’t to beat drums, play trumpets, and loudly proclaim, “We’re shaking the dust off our feet now!” Nope. What they did was simply an act of “witness” before the Lord that said we tried. We were rejected. We leave it in your hands. AND…we refuse to carry it with us.”
That last part is very important. Don’t take anything of the rejection with you. Leave it there and move on in expectation of a better day of “reception” to come. If you carry any of the hurt, anger, or bitterness with you it will do three things:
• It will rob you of your hope for a better tomorrow.
•It will take away your joy as you concentrate on the negative done.
• It will cause you to take some of that “dirt” with you into the next relationship or situation that you find yourself in.
Maybe you have had a family situation leave you feeling rejected or maybe you have been through a divorce. Maybe someone treated you unfairly at school or in the work place. The issue before the Lord is not necessarily what they did, but rather in how are we going to respond in our own heart and mind? We are never allowed to judge another person, but we are allowed to say, “Lord we tried and were rejected.” We are then to “shake the dust from our feet” and leave it right there. From then on, it’s up to the Lord to do with as He pleases. We are simply to shake it out of our minds and move on to the next thing the Lord leads us into.
Let me encourage you to simply learn to “shake it off” when you find yourself rejected for whatever the reason. The Lord has too much good ahead for you. You need a hope that allows faith to bring you into a place of acceptance and peace in your future. Make a conscience decision not to bring “dirt” from past experience into the new thing God is presently leading you into.