The picture above is somewhat funny (unless you’ve ever proposed marriage and been turned down). Trying to get away as fast as she can, the woman seeks to escape a man with a ring. He’s got her leg and is being dragged along. As I say, it’s funny, unless you’ve been there and done that! This post is about such moments – the dealing with rejection moments. But, in particular, it is for those who feel rejection colors much of their lives. I want to speak to people who hurt in that way.
Recently, I was at a conference. Ana Werner, the speaker, provided a moment of healing for everyone who felt they are constantly bothered by rejection. She asked them to stand up. Not surprisingly, a large number of people stood.
Truly, many have felt the sting of frequent rejections. And, when you experience this, sometimes the rejection forms a stronghold, a fortress in your life. Consequently, you can perceive harm towards yourself even in the most benign moments.
As Ana ministered, she spoke a word from God. “You belong,'” she said. My own eyes filled with tears, having had experiences of rejection – in family, in church, and as a leader. Similarly, many there felt this too. How can we tear down the walls of our tendency to repeatedly feel rejected and get rid of it for good? True, people will go on acting in unkind ways in this fallen world. But how do we disengage, for good, from being overly bothered by it?
Fight the Lie that “You’re Not Wanted”
As I said, rejection can be like a big fort that looms in our path. Currently, I am preparing a talk about the battle of Jericho in the Bible. In this Bible account, Joshua, the leader of the Jewish people after Moses, has just taken the people into the Promised Land, the place that God said He had given them. It’s a good place – a land of “milk and honey” which means it is full of blessings.
However, they come to a walled city of enemies, Jericho. It stands in their way, and if they are going to truly “take” the Promised Land and possess it, they’re going to have to defeat the city and cause its walls to come tumbling down.
Similarly, you and I – if we struggle with rejection – have a “Jericho” in our way. Before we can enjoy everything that God has for us in this life, through Christ, and in the life to come, we’ve got to totally dismantle and defeat rejection’s power over us with God’s help. Otherwise, we continue to doubt His love and have little faith. Additionally, we stay at arm’s length from other people – having no real community. Truly, both of these states of mind come from seeing the world through the lens of rejection. It makes us unable to trust God or people.
Know That Rejection is Satan’s Strategy
Therefore, we’ve got to get very smart about this “Jericho” of rejection in front of us. Satan would like to use it to keep us thinking, “There is just something wrong with me!” For instance, he wants these thoughts to rule in our minds:
I am unworthy.
Others do not find me loveable.
Only I seem to be unacceptable.
A number of decades ago, there was a melancholy love song that went like this:
“They’re writing songs of love, but not for me. A lucky star’s above but not for me.” (by George and Ira Gershwin)
Truly, many of us let the devil work through our thoughts such that we believe others fit in, but we don’t. Indeed, the devil does a happy dance when we buy into his lies. So, let’s be spiritually astute. Constantly giving into the idea that we’re unworthy and being rejected again because of it is being in agreement with the devil, not God.
As an antidote, declare and believe all the verses in the Bible that tell you God is love and that He loves you. Hear the words that say you are unique and special to Him, needed in this world. Here’s one:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again and you…will be rebuilt.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“God is love,” says 1 John 4:16 Fight for this truth to constantly be the loudest thing you hear in your mind.
Tear Down the Walls of Rejection
With God’s help, our job is to tear down the stronghold of feeling we are constantly rejected and/or deserving of that. Indeed, if we recognize the devil wants to work through this real or imagined attack in our life, and by it, keep us from loving God and others, we are more apt to want to work on it.
So, we declare God’s love for us.
We look for scriptures that exalt God’s loving character.
As well as these two steps, we remind ourselves of how the devil wants us to see ourselves as rejected and thereby keep us distant from God and others.
In addition, we declare God’s ability to heal us and we actively pray for it.
Knowing that the God of comfort comforts us so that we can take care of others, we look for ways to help people who feel lonely, marginalized, and left out too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Above all else, we keep forgiving others and work to stay unoffended with God and with people.
Rethink Your Reactions to Others
Jesus said, “…first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5) The hard truth is that sometimes, we reject others or ignore them too. Furthermore, James wrote,
“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4)
In other words, have you been welcoming to some and rejecting to others too? Leaders, have no favorites. We need to examine our own hearts, not just the hearts of others in their attitudes towards us.
Don’t Let Rejection Take Hold Again
Finally, once you begin to identify your slipping into rejected thoughts and moods, and begin to pray and heal from this constant, unpleasant state of mind, don’t go backwards. When you’ve torn the “walls” of the fort down, don’t build it back up again. Catch yourself when you begin to “go melancholy.” Stop yourself if you pull away and isolate from others. Make every effort to forgive and to be the one who initiates love.
Leaders, you can be the recipients of love and admiration. But, you can also be the recipients of much hostility and critique when all you wanted to do was love people. Retreat into God’s arms and keep in mind your calling. Jesus “came to that which was His own but His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11)
Jesus knows. He’s endured the same thing. Keep right on loving as He did.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
If you would like to receive highlighted posts, other faith building materials, and occasional free resources straight to your inbox, please scroll down and sign up for our email list! I would love to share more with you! Blessings!