There is nothing that strikes deeper into the human psyche than rejection. The knowledge that someone considers us unwanted, unwelcome, or unqualified cuts to the core of our sense of self-worth. A rejected manuscript, failure to be accepted at our college of choice, or loss of a job—such things litter the landscape of our lives. Fortunately, most of us find we can handle this type of occurrence, though the experience is anything but pleasant.
The Bible speaks of a different kind of rejection, which is quite another matter. It is hard to grasp the ultimate horror that will be experienced by those who turn down God’s loving offer of salvation. They will hear these three words coming from the mouth of Jesus: “Depart from Me.” More than once, our Lord speaks these words in the gospels, anouncing the doom of the disobedient. These individuals will find their lot in the agony of eternal separation from God.
Many people have stumbled over the apparent harshness of Jesus’ words. They fail to recognize that this ultimate rejection is actually an appropriate response to the unbeliever’s refusal to receive the Lord’s solution for mankind’s sin problem. Yes, this rejection is the end of the road, but it’s a road paved with a lifetime of choices that left God out. Every decision to go it alone is a choice to embrace that final verdict of the Savior. Or as G. K. Chesterton expressed it, “Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice.”