One of the gravest problems is making rejection personal and sometimes it is. There are times when rejection is not you but your beliefs and because the person or persons rejecting cannot separate the two they reject you along with your beliefs. That happened to our LORD and He forewarned that it would happen to us as well.
We’ve all heard about and maybe heard the words, “It’s not you, it’s me…” as the rejection edict is issued. There is probably an element of truth in that but I would venture that most of the time it is both or neither. Ideological beliefs and values held by each of us make associations and relationships with some difficult if not impossible. The Bible plainly declares that “two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement.” Some have taken that to mean TOTAL AGREEMENT on EVERYTHING and I do not see that in the passage. We may find it possible to build an alliance on particular issues based on agreement but on many other issues we are not in agreement. If our disagreement rises to the level of embittered animosity they a relationship, partnership or association would be impossible or destructive.
In our world of social media, I find that almost daily I am either approached by someone wanting to be my friend or being rejected by someone who no longer wants to be a friend. I have learned, in life, and applied that to the world of social media that the reaching out or rejection is usually not personal but ideological. Although I have argued that you cannot separate what you believe from who you are a person who does not know you cannot reject your person but must reject your beliefs or words. If I took every rejection personally I would be a basket-case and probably plunge into deep depression. Our world today is so performance oriented and acceptance driven that rejection shatters their psyche and alterations in belief and public declarations ensue.
I have watched politicians when accused of something immediately apologize when an apology was not appropriate but the desire to be viewed as likable, agreeable, and to appease the accusers drives them to take that path. Most of the time they are then viewed as weak, lacking personal conviction and courage to stand for their beliefs and the attacks become more intensified until the candidate is so marginalized they are ineffective. I have seen the same thing in preachers who so water down their message, violate their core convictions and compromise the message they are about as useful to the kingdom as screen doors in submarines. They give the appearance of usefulness but have no practical value. I know that is harsh but I believe it to be reality.
Among the reasons that rejection hurts is that we genuinely care about people and their opinions. However, another reason is we are ‘insecure’ in who we are and because we are insecure rejection is devastating. Some derive their significance and sense of value and worth from acceptance and rejection dismantles their incredibly fragile psyche. Feelings of insecurity can come from many roots including lack of preparation or talent. If we are convinced we are unable or unprepared we lack confidence and that lack of confidence translates to insecurity and then when our thoughts, words or deeds are rejected we translate that to our inadequacy and personalize the rejection. We are shattered and for some recovery becomes virtually impossible.
Let me give you two or three passages that I believe can diminish the sting of rejection and empower you to achieve the goals and dreams of your heart.
Philippians 4:11-13 – “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Notice Paul addresses need, learning and contentment and THEN as a result of his life experiences and spiritual development he declares, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Rejection, pain, suffering, plenty, applause, accolades all come into my view of life and whether I am accepted or rejected I stand having LEARNED and know that IN CHRIST I CAN.
Then in Philippians 4:19 he addresses the church being there for him and tells them that he is going to pray for them and out of his confidence in God, learned through his life experiences, he is going to pray for them and declares that, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
You may be rejected by man but you have not been rejected by God and because of your acceptance in Him YOU cannot be rejected only your beliefs can. You are secure in Him and therefore IN HIM you live and move and have your being. Therefore, when rejection comes to you simply look to Him the author and finisher of your faith, bless those rejecting and rejoice that the seed has been sown and now another will water and ultimately God will give the increase.
I am dead in Christ and in that condition rejection has no power over me. God bless you as you go through this day!