If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. (John 15:20)

SIXTH GRADE WAS a tough experience for me. I was the new kid on the block—a transplant from California to a provincial town in the Northwest. Our family didn’t have much money, and it was unfortunate that I ended up in a school populated with upper-class kids. From the very beginning, I was excluded, made fun of, and ridiculed for where I had come from and for my lack of proper fashion. It seems they had me pegged as unworthy of friendship.

It took me a long time to forgive and lay aside the hurtful comments from others. I continued to have many of those same kids in my junior high and high school classes, but the humiliation eventually faded. Later I was more accepted, although never completely.

But I have come to realize that it wasn’t personal. If it hadn’t been me, they would have teased and bullied some other kid. It was who they thought I was that led them to reject me. I will admit my courage waned many times during those years. There were many days I dreaded going to school.

I had no choice then, but I do have a choice now. Will I stay on the path of my calling? I will if I remember who God says I am and ignore the negative opinions of others. Therein lays my strength.

Take a moment today to encourage someone who feels rejected.

Jan Cline is the mother of three and grandmother of seven. She loves golfing, camping, singing, and speaking to Christian women’s groups.