Overcome Rejection with love.
Rejection is a difficult thing. I bet we’ve all walked through seasons where we’ve felt the realities of being rejected. It’s defined as “the spurning of a person’s affections.” I mean- that just really doesn’t sound good.
Throughout my own journey, I’ve had to trudge through those muddy waters, myself.
I felt prompted to write this in hopes to lift the chin of those that may be in a season of battling rejection.
Here are a few things we know about rejection:
It comes in many forms
It’s often unmerited
Rejection isn’t selective: People we love most can reject us
It’s a tactic the devil uses & it’s dangerous to play with
It CAN BE OVERCOME with the truth of God’s word and His love
We can walk in forgiveness, even while being rejected
Rejection is a sad thing that only leads to pain. I’ve been on both ends of rejection. I’ve received it and I’ve also dished it out. On both sides, there is pain. I’ve never felt life and peace in the midst of rejecting others. Only through repentance and a changed heart can I see so clearly how damaging rejection can be. In his love and grace, God has shown me that rejection is not part of his Kingdom. I am so thankful for his grace that he has given me the eyes to see that rejection is painful.
It comes in many forms
Emotionally, rejection can be seen as ignoring someone, telling someone a flat out NO without hearing their heart, refusing to give love and grace. We can even reject the people we love and trust by only allowing them to know us superficially, which is what I would often do. I thought if people learned about my struggles or fears, or the broken parts of me, they wouldn’t like me. My fear of rejection lead me to rejecting intimacy, with God and others.
Physically, we can hold back affection, turn away a hug or touch, or even worse- push someone away when they come in for some love.
We also see people reject others in literally leaving them behind. Broken families and relationships are often a case of rejection.
It’s often Unmerited
Fortunately for me, I learned young, the error and sin in rejecting others. In my weakness and pain, I thought if I rejected people, they’d feel the pain that I was feeling. If I felt rejected- I’d reject them in return. As a little girl, I was often rejected because of my appearance. If I showed others how hurtful it was to be rejected, I’d feel weak and exposed. So, instead, I thought it made sense to grow in anger and bitterness and reject others. The sad thing is, I would reject everyone, even the ones I loved the most. Often times we reject the best people in our lives in an effort to stuff down our own pain. Talking about feelings is SO HARD at first. Instead of covering the lies we believe and the pain we are feeling in God’s truth- we resort to tactics that never result in spiritual growth. Meanwhile, we impact so many people in the process. I closed myself off to receiving love and began believing the lies that I wasn’t worthy or able to be loved. Just like I didn’t deserve to be rejected because of the way I looked, those that I rejected in return didn’t deserve it, either. I am so humbled and thankful that the Lord delivered me from my past and redeemed my life into one of peace and love. God has done such a work in my heart. Not only am I an expert at wearing my heart on my sleeve, I also praise God that He has brought me into such an incredible intimate relationship with himself.
Rejection isn’t Selective
Ever notice it hurts more when the people we are closest to reject us? Seems obvious right? Who cares if a stranger rejects your kindness? What does it matter if you offer love or help to someone you don’t know well and they don’t accept it. At least you tried, right? It’s usually most painful and confusing when the people we love reject us. I can’t imagine the struggle for people who have been left behind by family members. It’s terribly sad when you see your friends and family suffering, but reject your love or efforts to help. It’s natural and good to want to help them. What happens when these people reject our love? OUCH. If someone quits your community BINGO night- meh, no biggie. If someone quits in your family- stake to the heart.
The Devil uses Rejection & it’s dangerous if we do.
One thing I’m pretty good at is calling out the devil. I don’t do it to bring attention to him, instead I do it to help open the eyes of God’s people. Rejection is served to us on a silver platter from the devil himself. We see him use rejection as one of his first strategies in the Garden of Eden. “If I can get them to REJECT the truth and God’s instruction- I got ‘em.” And sure enough, with some manipulation and lies, we see the most perfect, loving relationship between God and man breakdown under the destruction of Adam and Eve’s rejection of God’s word. Rejection is one of the worst things we can do to God and to one another. Before we sin, we first have to REJECT the truth. It’s a slippery slope that I’m just not interested in.
Overcome Rejection with truth and LOVE.
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of rejection, there is still hope. If you find yourself battling rejection from others, you can root yourself in the truth of God’s word. God says you are valuable, that you were knit together by himself. He says that you have a purpose and a calling to love others as He has loved you. Even though we know people aren’t our enemies, we still have to navigate how to treat them while they reject us. In the case of being rejected we should be aware of the truth and power of LOVE. If we receive rejection from people close to us, we love them in return. If they continue in their sin, we love them in return. One of the most powerful things we can do for people who are in the trenches of sin, are to love them patiently and pray. And when we pray for them, we have to pray from a place of LOVE. I’m SO excited to publish a post all about effectively praying for others, soon. It’s something I’ve seen God open my eyes to. When we pray with selfish motives, we are not praying in love. To overcome being rejected- we love in return. There is no other answer. Ever. Yes, loving someone who is actively hurting you is hard and takes wisdom. Get in God’s word and stay committed to praying.
If you are currently using rejection to hurt others, you’ve got to stop. It’s damaging and will only continue causing you pain. God NEVER rejects the people He loves. My warning to you: be careful you’re not trying to spiritual-ize your rejection as, “creating safe boundaries,” or “sitting quietly with God.” You know whether or not you are rejecting someone. Don’t give yourself any excuses. As someone who has overcome the temptation of using rejection as a tool to punish, manipulate or hide in my own pain- I’m telling you, it’s not healthy and it doesn’t produce fruit. God doesn’t hold us at an arm’s length. He doesn’t silence himself to teach us a lesson. God doesn’t manipulate or hold grudges. Instead He is patient and He is always loving. If you’re a Christian and you’re rejecting people you love- be careful, and remember, God loves you, SO MUCH. He’s gladly walking through this with you, and will guide you how to right every wrong. He isn’t MAD at you and expecting you to clean up your own mess. He is waiting with open arms. I know from experience, there’s a good chance your rejection stems from a deeper hurt and God will comfort you and mend those wounds as you turn to him. If you are rejecting God and His word and what He wants for your life- come back to Him humbly, repent and let his love and truth set you free.
Walk in Forgiveness
Unfortunately, often times we have to wait for those that have hurt us to acknowledge the wrong done. Even more often, we are called to overlook it. It’s possible we will never receive an apology. The people who hurt us may never take ownership of their wrongs. What do we do with that? Proverbs 19:11 is one of my favorites. It says, “A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense.” If you are being rejected, I encourage you to overlook it for the sake of honoring God and growing in his likeness. Consider what it says in 1 Corinthians 13 about love. Verse 5 explains that true, Godly love, keeps no records of wrongs. Meaning, we forgive and remain in forgiveness, constantly. If we can accept that we are forgiven and that our sins are as far as the east is from the west, we can forgive others in the same way. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things we can do. Our salvation is hinged upon it. But isn’t it AMAZING that Jesus came to do more then just forgive our sins?! He came to change us! He came to transform us back into the fullness of himself and His image. If God is love (1 John 4), and He wants us to become like him, that means he is working to transform us into LOVE itself. Love holds no records of wrongs. So, forgive always and hope for the day that rejection no longer lives.
OUR JOY CAN NEVER BE IN HOW OTHERS TREAT US. Remember that. As I’ve been walking out my own struggle with rejection, God has kept me fully protected and in HIS JOY. My heart now aches for the pain of others, not the pain they cause me. When we are rejected, we can either let it ruin our joy or let it catapult us into the arms of Jesus. He’s who I run to, and I only grow in love and joy as I do so.
I’ll leave you with these few powerful verses:
Colossians 3: 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity.