What is rejection?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that to reject means: to refuse to accept, consider, submit to. 2. to refuse to hear or receive 3. to refuse as a lover or spouse; obsolete : to cast off, throw, repulse, spew out.
Rejection is probably one of the hardest things for humans to experience, yet we practice it all of the time. Sometimes we set ourselves up for rejection without even knowing it.
Rejection is also a form of defense and fear. We use it to protect our own feelings and pride while severing the emotions of another all in the name of self-preservation.
But to understand rejection, where it comes from and why it’s not a good thing, we need to study this topic.
Think about this…
Rejection has many faces. It can come in the form of failed friendships, failed marriages, failed job opportunities. It can be as simple as people forgetting your birthday or as complicated as someone saying “I don’t love you anymore” or “I’m really not that in to you.”
Hearing any of these words bruises not only our egos but our minds and emotions. Some people handle it well while others become ripped a part.
But rejection is not always verbal. Sometimes we see it in people’s body language or facial expressions. Say you’re on your way to class and you see someone coming toward you. You don’t know them, but out of courtesy you feel the need to smile. So you smile and they just walk right past you, not even looking into your eyes and acknowledging your existence.
Think about the games the devil can play with that encounter.
Oh, they didn’t smile at you, there must be something wrong with your face. Did you wash it today? You probably shouldn’t have worn those bottle caps over your eyes, you know they’re not attractive. Maybe you should have smiled wider or said hello. Why do you have to be so insecure and stupid! Why can’t you be smooth like that person over there with 10 people around them. You’re worthless, you’re never going to amount to anything!
OK. Maybe a little extreme, but it happens.
It starts with one incident gone wrong and that’s all the fuel the enemy needs to start planting seeds of doubt in our minds. The Bible says it’s “the small foxes that tear down the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15). It only takes a little bit of rejection to instill anger, resentment and fear in our hearts.
But thank God that He is the complete opposite of the devil.
First John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Look at that second part, “Fear involves torment.” Jesus never intended for us to be tormented. He said that a spirit of fear did not come from Him.
So why are we holding on to something Jesus never promised?
Because of our human nature (Romans 5:12). It’s that whole “survival of the fittest” Darwinism that’s got us trapped in the lie that we always have to be on the defensive. Parents try to teach their children how to defend themselves from bullies. We’re taught how to disarm people with this verbal weapon called the tongue (James 3: 1-7). We’re taught how to reject people with a look or by not looking at all.
Why do we do this?
We just don’t want to get hurt. We don’t ever want to give someone the opportunity to make us look like fools.
Ladies, what about that guy? You know, the one who you’ve probably daydreamed about; the one who’s phone number or screen name you’ve memorized hoping that it would flash across your screen. With Facebook nowadays, you’re probably hoping that he’ll send you a little “poke” send you a thank you note for helping him out with his physics homework. You know what I’m talking about.
Fellas, what about that girl? You thought I was going to leave you out. You know, the gorgeous one who never gives you the time of day. Every time you pass her, you hope that she’ll look at you or even just smile. That might be asking too much. Maybe if you hold the door for her one day she’ll have to say “Thanks” and you would be satisfied with just the sound of her voice.
But she never says hello and he never “pokes” you and now you’re bitter.
Some of you might be thinking you don’t know me, how can you tell me about my situation. I would never let a guy or a girl treat me like that. I’ll get them before the get me.
And therein lies the problem.
Some of us have been wounded so many times by rejection that it becomes natural to want to reject other people. It hardens us and causes us to die a slow, painful internal death. So now when people pass by you, you don’t smile or make eye contact. You’ve stopped holding doors for girls, every guy now looks like a poisonous snake waiting to break your heart and you’ve lost. The devil has you right where he wants you.
Next week: Check out The Art of Rejection: Part 2 to continue this topic