For a while now I’ve been contemplating the (in)action of what it means to ignore and be ignored by someone. This has been a prevalent issue for me during my entire adult life.
Often times ignoring someone is simply the easiest thing to do. Sometimes being ignored is not a big deal. So what’s the problem? When being ignored by someone almost hurts like you’ve been stabbed in the side and the blade is twisted a bit. Yeah. Being ignored hurts a bit (emotionally).
The word ignore originates from Latin and simply means “not know.” The expanded definition of ignore is, “refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally.”
I’ve been one who has intentionally disregarded people because talking to them would be emotionally taxing. I’ve ignored people because it was easier to not tell them I didn’t want to talk to them for various reasons. I’ve ignored people because I was mad at them and talking to them would only anger me more. I’m not the only one.
Oh yeah, if you didn’t know, ignoring someone is also known as giving someone The Silent Treatment or Cold Shoulder.
We all have our reasons for giving someone the Cold Shoulder. I’ve been the recipient of the Silent Treatment many, many times. I’m still trying to figure out why. I’ll probably never know why, at least, for certain.
My most common experience of being ignored is this: when I try to initiate a friendship (or deeper friendship) with a seemingly godly young woman, they refuse to respond to my messages or even acknowledge my physical presence. It’s not like I’m being a jerk to them. I honestly try to be godly, kind, and caring person towards them, but it’s as if I’m being treated as a phony and they want nothing to do with me. Often the person will be nice to me to my face, but refuse to acknowledge me otherwise. Once, I had someone refuse to acknowledge me in person most times, but would only speak to me if it was absolutely necessary, but it was with the briefest words. I still don’t know what I did wrong to deserve that. (With this person, things have gotten better. They no longer give me the Arctic Cold Shoulder.)
In most of these situations, I tell you, it hurts so very much.
As I mentioned before, I’m 28 and I’ve wanted to be married for over 10+ years. I am looking for a woman to love and serve the Lord with. Some may say I’m just being girl-crazy. It’s not like that. I genuinely want to love someone faithfully. If there is someone I’m interested in, I sincerely want to establish a godly friendship with them first. From there, if the Lord leads, I want that friendship to develop into a deeper relationship that leads into marriage. I don’t want to play games. I want to do things God’s way. However, I’m misunderstood and sometimes these issues arise.
So when I get ignored by a godly woman I’m interested in and respect very much, it hurts. A lot.
Even being rebuked or insulted is better than being ignored; at least that shows that the person cares enough to criticize you. But to be ignored feels like the person is saying, “You’re so unimportant to me that I can’t even be bothered to acknowledge your presence.” Except that they’re not saying anything at all. That can sting worse than any insult. — Darren Hewer
Darren Hewer articulates my feelings on this exactly. He’s on point.
Being ignored sometimes makes me feel that I’m unworthy of a godly woman and that I might never get married. The more that I get ignored, the more I feel this way. Being rejected and ignored sucks. If it were not for the love of God and the promise He made to me, I would be in despair over all of this. Though, I often walk the line between discouragement and despair, but the Lord brings encouragement and comfort in my time of need.
After being hurt so many times I’ve learned that I shouldn’t do it to others. I need to communicate with the people I don’t want to. Perhaps I need to be brave and tell them outright that I don’t want to talk, but in a kind way.
The apostle Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 4-5 that believers need to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the calling God has placed on their lives. Paul exhorts believers to live as Christians, followers of Christ, in love towards each other. We need to live in unity with each other. To speak the truth in love. To be kind to one another. To speak in such a way that edifies others so that our speech may give grace to those who hear it. We are called to be imitators of God, and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.
Believers, to ignore someone, to disregard someone intentionally, is not a behavior Christ would do. This does not convey love and kindness. I encourage you to speak the truth in love, even if its hard and you don’t want to in the moment. Do it all in kindness. You have the Holy Spirit to empower you to do it. Perhaps as we all mature in Christ, we will ignore people less and be more kind to others.