When You Feel Misunderstood

July 07, 2022

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16

One of my biggest fears is being misunderstood.

When I confess what’s weighing on my heart, I worry others will look down on me.

When I express my beliefs based on Scripture, I fear being viewed as hateful.

When I share with vulnerability, I brace myself for shame and rejection.

Sadly, sometimes those fears become reality. For as often as I’ve been met with love, compassion, and understanding, I have also felt the sting of being misunderstood and misrepresented. And it hurts.

When people respond disapprovingly to our words or actions, it can lead us to despair or make us question our own beliefs. And while it’s good to evaluate whether we are behaving in a way that reflects the love of Christ and the truth of God’s Word, a negative reaction doesn’t always mean we are in the wrong. In those moments, our hope is not in convincing others we have the right motives or in restoring our reputation. Our comfort is in knowing that we are not alone.

Jesus Christ is the only sinless man to ever live. His motives were always pure, His beliefs always true, and His actions always good. He quite literally did everything right. He did not sin. Yet Jesus was rejected, misrepresented, and disowned. Even His own disciples abandoned Him in His darkest hour. The perfect Son of God was convicted as a criminal.

Jesus knows what it means to be misunderstood.

When we are misunderstood, Jesus empathizes with our pain because He has felt it Himself. Jesus reminded His disciples in John 15:18 that if the world hates them, it hated Jesus first. He knows. He understands. When the pain of rejection is too great to bear, Jesus invites us to come to Him. There we find grace to help us press on with hope in our time of need. There we find mercy where others offer only condemnation. As we pour out our hearts to the Lord, Jesus comforts us by His Spirit with a peace beyond our understanding.

So if you are feeling rejected, reviled, or misunderstood, do these two things:

  1. Pray. Pour out your heart to the God who sees and knows your heart. Tell Him your pain and ask Him for the grace you need to continue.
  2. Remember. Meditate on the truth that Jesus not only cares for you in your suffering, but He has experienced it Himself. You are not alone.

My prayer is that in the midst of the pain of being misunderstood, you will experience the comfort of the One who knows you fully.

Written by Joanna Kimbrel, Guest Contributor