Thursday, April 17, 2014


My absolute favorite button on my cell phone is the "decline" button. A bit harsh, I know, but hear me out, I have legitimate rationale to support my enthusiasm for hitting decline.
Namely, solicitation phone calls. Are you plagued with these incessant automated callers who want to sell you a new insurance policy or inform you that you just won a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Tahiti? Ninety nine percent of the phone calls I receive are from these phone banks which are probably somewhere in India.
Before the decline button, I used to answer, get annoyed and then press end.
As a side not, hitting end on a touch phone just doesn't have the same stress-releasing benefits as hanging up the old phone with big round buttons and cumbersome wire. At the end of a frustrating call there was nothing better than smacking the receiver back onto the cradle with force and an exacerbated "humph." It made the annoyance of the call less acute.
Those days are no longer. Now you and I must settle for a weak little red "end" button that only responds to a light touch. Try hitting the end button with force and see what happens. The call doesn't end. It is as if the high tech screen can't register frustrated poking so it just remains on the line. So instead of easing frustration, the whole situation is aggravated further and that telecommunications caller from India is still on the line trying to convince you to upgrade your motorcycle insurance when you don't even own a motorcycle. "Humph" just doesn't cut it in this situation.
That brings me to the "decline" button. This whole situation and subsequent frustration can be avoided by employing a slight tap of the finger on the "decline" button when one of these unknown, blocked or obscure numbers pops up on the phone's screen. Numbers with 800, 866, or no numbers at all are immediately flagged in my mind. They all are met with a touch of decline. No answer, no frustration, no aggravated hang up. Just a simple little decline and the whole ordeal, sales pitch and cruise ship run around is avoided. Thank you, whoever thought up the decline button. You are a genius.
As much as I love hitting the decline button when I'm faced with another solicitation call, I can't stand the decline button when it is used against me. Being declined is only tolerable if your an automated machine but if you are a human being with feelings and no sales pitch, decline is more hurtful than helpful.
Sometimes the declining doesn't come in the form of a physical button. Sometimes the decline is administered with the silent treatment, being ignored or being avoided. Have you ever experienced this kind of decline? You reach out to someone and they decline you by denying your request for friendship or backing out on plans you've made. Maybe you extend an invitation to someone you'd like to get to know better and they respond with excuses for why Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the next three months won't fit into their absurdly busy schedule. Decline can come in the form of not receiving a call back or being down right stood up. No matter how the decline is issued, it hurts.
This side of heaven you and I are bound to be faced with our share of declines. For most of us they are probably too great in number to even count. I know because I've been there, over and over and over. And even if I could count all of my declines I'd rather not because it is embarrassing and downright depressing. So, I'll keep the tally to myself. Just take my word for it, this world loves to use the decline button on more than just solicitation calls.
Being the recipient of so many declines has taught me a valuable lesson. In this world I am going to face rejection. That is a given. It is to be expected. Jesus even warned His followers when He said in John 15:18-19,  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." 
Well, that about settles it, don't you think? If you and I are going to follow Christ we should expect to be on the receiving end of the decline button. He tells us upfront, no sugar coating or whitewashing, that we are to anticipate being declined, rejected and hated. The world did all of these things to Christ and they are sure to treat His followers in the same manner. 
There is no escaping rejection in this life as a Christ follower. By being in Christ you and I are out of this world and are no longer accepted and embraced by this world. That is the trade-off we make when we surrender our lives to God and enter into a union with Jesus. We give up this world and our place in it so that we can be one with Christ and spend eternity with Him. 
Is the trade-off worth it? Of course it is. I'd take a thousand years of relentless decline buttons for one day in the presence of my perfect Savior. His love is truly better than life and the promise of Heaven is greater than any acceptance you and I could ever attain here on earth. 

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