The Pain of Rejection
By 06/25/2012 06:00:00
Have you been rejected? There is nothing quite as painful as being told verbally or otherwise that you are not wanted or needed. When I worked in the medical field, my largest clientele were elderly people. It was very sad to hear their stories of being rejected by their children and left to waste away alone. Several of the marriage cases I have in counseling are ones in which one spouse has rejected the other and that is very tragic.
Rejection comes in all different forms. A person can be rejected for a job, for a date, for a friend and even rejected as a parent and spouse. I have been on both sides of rejection, refusing to admit someone into my heart and life and I have also been rejected. Quite honestly, there were times I really didn't care that I was spurned. I simply picked up and went on in life. Then there were the other times...the times that I thought I would collapse in a heap from the pain. The times when it seemed my spirit was wounded beyond repair and my heart seemed to have been ripped from my chest and ground under foot.
Rejection is such a deeply personal hurt because often it is not our deeds or actions that are rejected, it is us as people, our very person hood is what seems to disqualify us from being a part of the life of the other person. There is little we can do when someone finds our very existence unacceptable to them or too distasteful for them to be around.
The rejection that seems to hurt the most is the one that comes from a person in whom we have placed value and meaning. I wonder if there is anything more painful than being rejected in that way.
I once had occasion to live this in a very personal manner. When I was a very new Christian my then-husband rejected me in part because he did not like who and what I was turning into. My new found faith bothered him and he didn't like that I was no longer interested in saying and doing the things I did pre-regeneration. He scorned me and my faith and ridiculed me, calling me "holier than thou" and other things along the same lines. I was deeply hurt by his treatment of me, and even more devastated when he actually left me.
The Lord used these words of comfort from Isaiah 54 to minister to my soul many, many times over that dark period:
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, for your Creator will be your husband. The LORD Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:4-8 (NLT)
While not being used in context, these words were a soothing balm to my soul. I claimed the Lord as my Husband and placed my trust in Him to care for me and my two young sons. I knew God had not abandoned me, His Word tell me He will never forsake His own (Heb. 13:5) so I placed my confidence in that truth.
I also learned though a study of the Scriptures that I was not alone in being rejected, that better followers of Christ than I had also experienced abandonment. Those who have endured the pain of rejection share a common bond with our Lord. He is their protector, defender and avenger.
He (Jesus) was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3 (NASB)
And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. Mark 8:31-32 (NASB) (also see Luke 17:25)
At my (Paul) first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 2 Timothy 4:16 (NASB)
So we can see that no one is exempt from rejection or abandonment. It is a result of the curse of fallen mankind. It seems that we are doomed to be cruel to one another in this life because of what took place in Genesis 3. Mankind became completely self-centered and began to live to worship and serve only himself. We have carried that sin into the present age and are more than willing to throw others under the bus when it suits us. There is no other explanation for our hurtful actions.
Rejection often happens when a person decides they are "worth" more than what the other offers them or does for them. It is like the reason a person chooses one job over another, they think they either have or can get a better deal elsewhere. When it happens in a relationship it is an outflow of the heart. It is indicative of self-worship and is the epitome of a person who is selfish and self-centered. Having a heart of self and being self-serving and self-worshiping is rebellion against God. It is plain and simple idolatry.
Rejection does not mean it is over for you, God is faithful and promises to never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5). You can trust in Him with your whole heart (Prov. 3:5-6), for He loves you with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).