We all have experienced rejection in one form or another. It is part of our fallen human nature and the world we live in. One person can feel always being an outsider, another, a deep sense of loneliness and yet another, a sense of never quite fitting in. The pain of rejection can even sometimes seem unbearable leading to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
“There must be something wrong with me,” or “I deserve this” are some of our conclusions we can come to. Over the years you may have tried to minimise the pain but no matter how hard you tried it may even have got worse.
Rejection grows in a cyclical manner. Past rejection breeds an expectancy of rejection. Pushing people away seems to be a sensible way of protecting yourself but it leaves you with a deeper sense of rejection and thus the cycle continues and grows. Rejection after rejection follows you. You may ask how you got to this place and if there is any way out of it.
The good news is there is a way out of this bottomless pit and cycle of pain. There is One who offers true, lasting healing from these feelings of rejection. Many people can testify to the healing of rejection received from Jesus, the One who offers us unconditional love, hope and acceptance.
The truth is that the roots of rejection go deep and have probably been there for a very long time. Rejection can be experienced from as early as being in the womb, through childhood and follows us into our adult lives.
Rejection comes in all shapes and sizes and from all directions and rejection from those closest to us causes us the most harm. Parents, teachers, church leaders… those that have authority to speak into our lives, are the ones whose rejection cuts deepest.
Rejection plays a formative part in how our self-image is developed, leading us to question our personhood and acceptability to the world, to God and even to ourselves. The more rejection we face, the more we question our self-image and the downward spiral continues to a complex web of symptoms that include fearing rejection, withdrawal, isolation, independence, control issues and more. The lies we believe about ourselves are subtle and very deceptive. They become our truth. Such beliefs include, “It must be my fault”, “I don’t deserve love”, “I don’t need anyone else”, or even “Nobody could love me, including God”.
To be accepted for who I am and not for anything I do or achieve is one of the deepest cries of our hearts. Ultimately only God can unconditionally accept us, but to fully receive this assurance deep within us it’s necessary to challenge our beliefs about who we are, who He is and who others are. When we are able to start to focus on who God really is, we are able to embrace his acceptance of us as we truly are.
However, many of us still see God through the blurry filter of our hurt, pain, disappointments and rejection. Rather than being able to experience acceptance and love by God, we may see Him as angry, distant or fearful. This is a distorted understanding of who He is and leaves with a sense of separation and disconnectedness. There is great power in undermining these wrong beliefs with the Truth that only God can bring. Whilst we may feel a level of disconnect between how we feel and what the Bible teaches, we need to choose to believe His word and remain steadfast to it.
‘You will know the Truth and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32, NIV)
Studying the Scriptures gives us a clear picture of who God really is and His love for us. Reading stories such as the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) can give us deep insight into love that we may not have experienced in the past nor even believe possible. The image of a father who never rejected his son, who can love so deeply, forgive so willingly and restore so completely is one that we can hold onto despite how we perceive ourselves or the rejection we have suffered. It may well be worth spending time asking God why you struggle with some of the elements of his character and seeking Truth in those places of distortion and conflict.
All worthwhile journeys begin with the first step.
Out of this place of healing you can learn to love yourself and others and live assuredly in the unconditional and eternal love of God.
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