Lately there have been a number of people who repeatedly ignore me.
I send a text, an email, leave a message with no reply—sometimes for weeks or even months.
Others who ignore me are those to whom I’ve sent a card with a gift of money or a present by mail with no acknowledgement or thank you.
As a writer, I get ignored by editors on a regular basis. I send an article and then wait for a reply. Many months pass. I send follow-up letters asking about the status of my piece. No answer.
One time after sending several follow-up letters, I called and asked about the status of my article because I knew the editor. We had a friendly conversation about my piece and other subjects. She said she would check it out and let me know her decision. That was several years ago. I’ve heard nothing since. I withdrew the article and had it published elsewhere.
Another group of people who ignore me are those who ask for wisdom when they face a difficult circumstance. They ignore the wisdom I give and make the destructive choice—leading them further away from God and healing.
I confess at times I’ve taken it personally when so many people ignore me. I ask, “Is there something wrong with me?”
When I looked up the synonyms for ignore, the list stirred up hurt: avoid, discount, neglect, overlook, reject, scorn, cold shoulder, disregard, pay no attention to, disdain, pooh pooh, slight, brush off, be oblivious to, pass over, shut eyes to, tune out, take no notice, turn back on, forget… Yet as I read this list, I realize that I at times ignore other people for a variety of reasons.
As I contemplated my being ignored lately, some truths came to mind.
Sometimes people ignore me because I embrace God and His will and way, and others want to go a different way. So in the end, they ignore not me, but God.
Another truth that came to mind as I thought of how often I pray, “Lord, make me more like You,” is this: God is ignored more than any other living entity in the universe.
At this moment millions ignore His call of “Come unto Me.” Scores of people close their ears to His whisper of how to be healed, helped, made whole. Christians read God’s Word and then do the opposite. He whispers, “Repent,” and is ignored some more.
I confess at times I’ve been the one ignoring the Lord.
So if people ignore me, He knows how I feel. I may be ignored, but I’m not alone when that happens because it’s happens to Him repeatedly.
I can list ten or more individuals who presently are ignoring me and quite a few from the past.
The Lord could list millions.
So what do I do? What does the Lord do?
When Jesus lived on this earth and was ignored, He lamented. (See Matthew 23:37: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…”) The Bible defines lament as “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” He offered them something wonderful, and people ignored His offer. He knew the consequences they would suffer, and it broke His heart.
I discovered it’s OK to feel sad about being ignored and even weep, especially when if a person would receive a truth God has called me to speak to them, their lives would be enhanced—even transformed. By ignoring, they sink deeper into misery. Right now there are a number of people in my life who ignore my encouragement to forgive those how have hurt them. Some these were hurt by spouses who ignored them.
They refuse, and are living in that place of torment spoken of in the Word. (See Matthew 18:34-35. Or read the whole story starting at verse 23)
Jesus also prayed when ignored and on scores of other occasions.
Being ignored by someone can be a prompt to lift that person up in prayer. Sometimes the ignoring comes because of their hurts and heartaches or being overwhelmed by busyness or the pressures of life.
This I do know: God does not ignore me. When I call out to Him, He’s there—even if I don’t feel Him and even if I’ve been ignoring Him for a time. God never withdraws love because of being ignored.
I can make being ignored by people all about me, and I can choose bitterness because I feel hurt and rejected. Or I can use it as an opportunity to bring that person before the Lord and pray diligently for healing and a reconciliation in our relationship and in the other person’s relationship with the Lord.
This thought just came to mind: “When I’m ignored, bring that person to the Lord.”
I plan to continue doing just that.