“…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph.1:6)
The emotional soil our roots are planted in has a bearing on our entire lives. God designed that we should receive love, care and protection in the family. As a child is born into a family it is totally defenseless, and dependable on the family that surrounds it. It is during the formative years of its life that it will receive its identity message. A child brought up in a loving atmosphere and home will face future relationships with security and confidence. Our family loved us and valued us; therefore we must be people of worth.
Psychologists confirm this. They tell us there are three parental attitudes that are absolutely necessary for a sense of security and to develop a wholesome personality. These are acceptance, affection and approval. A lack of any of these things will be interpreted by the child as rejection. Rejection may come as a deliberate hostility from others, or as a failure to communicate acceptance. Often it is communicated in its more subtle form of parents not being emotionally available to their children.
If for some reason love and acceptance were not there for us in the formative years of our lives we will face all other relationships with suspicion, mistrust and insecurity. If a life has not been properly rooted in love, its entire lifetime will be a struggle against fear and anxiety. We expect to be let down, left out, ignored, rejected. The rejected expect the present and the future to be a repeat of the past. Some people seem to get hurt in almost every encounter with others. The fear of rejection is a severe form of insecurity.
Parents who reject their children usually do so because they were rejected, or are going through problems of their own. Sometimes children are rejected because they were unwanted from the start. Rejection says nothing about the real worth of the child. It is a perception. Since a child has such a high regard for its parents it will naturally think that there is something wrong with him, when rejected.
Rejection is not being wanted, valued or regarded as significant. It brings shame. Shame, like guilt, has to do with how we feel about ourselves. Unlike guilt, which is based on my performance, shame is feeling bad based upon the way others have esteemed me. But shame is deeper than guilt. Guilt says, “I made a mistake.” Shame says, “I am a mistake.” If I make a mistake there is hope. I can confess and be forgiven. I can change what I do, but not who I am. Shame causes us to hate ourselves. Robert Louis Stevenson once confessed that he was suffering from “crushed wormery”, i.e. the feeling that he was no more than a worm, groveling on the ground.
One Hebrew word for shame is also translated as blushing, another word as contempt and another still as nakedness. Closely associated with the idea of shame is nakedness. When Adam & Eve sinned they were ashamed, and knew they were naked. Shame is a feeling of being uncovered. It is the feeling that everyone is looking at you and can see every part of you. It comes from being abandoned by the significant others in your life. Those who should have covered you have actually exposed you, uncovered you, abandoned you and made you feel vulnerable. Shame strikes at our identity and makes us hate ourselves and feel worthless.
Rejection can result in:
Spiritual consequences. There will be difficulty in relating to the Fatherhood of God.
Physical consequences. E.g. identity is found in performance and achievement therefore this leads to burn out.
Emotional consequences. When there is a breakdown in the human family, or a failure to communicate acceptance, there are profound emotional and personality effects in the lives of the children involved. This later results in personality and relationship problems., such as:
Inferiority, isolation and the fear of abandonment.
Withdrawal for protection. Will never get into situations that we cannot control. Thus no risks, no creativity.
Driven to cover mistakes. Not allowed that luxury.
Because rejection tells us that we do not have a legitimate reason for being it leads to constantly wanting to justify our existence.
Fear of failure. Fear of trying new things. The need to succeed in order to be accepted.
A reluctance to ask favours. Giving, but not receiving. A “repay” mentality.
Fear of saying “no”.
It is wrong to have a need. It is wrong to express your opinion.
Shame is veiled by dress. Great emphasis on appearance.
Drawing back from God.
Ministering to the rejected.
Only God can minister effectively to the rejected. David said, “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me” Psa.27:0. If you have been rejected God knows all about it. In fact Jesus suffered rejection more than any other person. Isa.53:3&4 tells us, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He is despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”
He was rejected:
By His own people. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not”
By the religious authorities. He was “the stone which the builders rejected.”
By His disciples. “They all forsook Him and fled.”
By the Father. “My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
The Bible says that Jesus was made perfect through sufferings. This is not a reference to moral perfection but to being perfected or completed as our High Priest. He passed through every kind of suffering known to man and is now equipped in the role of a sympathetic High Priest, able to identify with us, and minister to us in our pain. The Bible says He bore our rejection. (Isa.53:3&4). He, Who died of a broken heart (Psa.69:20), now lives to heal the broken-hearted.
The opposite of shame is glory. God created us for glory. At creation He crowned us with glory and honour (Gen.2:25). Glory is the feeling of dignity, being of value. Satan wants to fill us with a sense of shame. He uses significant events and people to do that to us. When Jesus was crucified they took His garments. This is figurative of what took place at the Cross. He took our sin, rejection and shame and exchanged it with the robe of His righteousness and glory. We are in Christ. And the glory has been restored to us, 2 Cor.3:18. We are no longer products of the past, but of the cross. We are no longer rejected, but accepted in Him.
We must be willing to part with rejection, including the lifestyle that goes with it, self-pity, etc. Do you think often of past failure and rejection. When you recall past experiences is it with strong, painful emotions. Do you believe that certain past experiences have ruined your life and that you only have second best now? Do you have a victim mentality? Do you withdraw from people? The Bible says that you are no longer a rejected person. Therefore, reject rejection. Do it once, do it well.
Receive God’s unconditional acceptance of you. Eph.1:6. God took the initiative. He knew what we were like before we were born. His plans for us are positive. He acknowledges us, has established a relationship of permanence with us, has a purpose for us, is patient with us, has granted us access to Him, and accepts us unconditionally. There is a difference between acceptance and approval. Acceptance is a legal matter that deals with our status within the family of God. Approval has to do with our actions. These do not affect our position in the family.
Forgive all who have ever rejected you.
Ask God to heal you of a wounded spirit and make you a whole person with a whole personality. Knowing the truth will set us free.
Understand that you have been empowered with meekness. Knowing we are no longer rejected people does not mean that others will no longer reject us. But we need to understand that we do not have a problem with rejection any longer. “Rejected people, reject people. Healed people, heal people.” Meekness is the ability to handle rejection. God’s grace does not just free us from the past, it empowers us in the present.
Enjoy human relationships, but draw your confidence from your relationship with God. Heb.13:5. Rejection is like the bottom falling out (lack of support). But underneath are the everlasting arms.
Mark Rutherford once said, “Blessed are those who heal us of our self-despisings!” Thank God for His wonderful grace to us in Jesus Christ.
“Ministering to the Rejected” is one of the subjects covered in “Counselling God’s Way”, by Ken Legg Counselling God’s Way