5 Steps to Reject Rejection
Rejection is ugly. It’s also an equal opportunity emotion. It latches on to grade-school children and haunts CEOs. It incapacitates actors and hinders artists and authors. And in today’s cancel culture, no one is immune to its suffocating reach.
Rejection causes us to think of ourselves in ways that contradict what God says about us. Like acid eating through flesh, it shreds our feelings of worth. Rejection blinds us to God’s Word and triggers insecurities that drown out His voice. Ultimately, rejection can cause us to question God’s purpose and plan for our life.
We’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Personal rejection. Rejection of our beliefs. Rejection of our leadership or our ministry. Dr. Charles Stanley, the founder of In Touch Ministries, once admitted the negative emotion he most wrestled with was rejection, stemming from childhood experiences. If Charles Stanley struggled with it, what chance of victory do the rest of us have? Actually . . . the answer is better than you might think.
Consider these five steps to reject the debilitating effects of rejection.
Recognize the resemblance
A natural response to rejection is to whine about how unfair it is. How could God allow His children to be treated so poorly when our goal is to live for His glory?
But Christ was rejected by those He came to save. He was saddened by the response of His people, but He wasn’t surprised (Mt. 23:37). Still, ancient Israel’s rejection of Jesus did not change God’s view of His Son. The apostle Peter noted that Jesus is, “The living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him (1 Peter 2:4).
Servants of Christ resemble their Master, suffering for righteousness as He suffered. “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Mt. 10:24). If Christ experienced rejection, what makes us think we’re exempt?
Release your hurt to God
Another natural reaction to being rejected is to isolate ourselves and wallow in self-pity. The pain of rejection is often more than we think we can bear. It gouges a hole in our heart that seems irreparable.
But we have a choice. We can nurse our hurts, coddling them until bitterness digs deep into our emotions and takes root. Or we can turn to Yahweh Rapha, the God Who Heals. No one understands the pain of rejection better than the Lord Himself. His Presence brings healing. The psalmist described it this way:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Reconfirm whom you desire to please
The pain of being rejected is magnified by a desire for the approval of others. But a servant of Christ cannot serve two masters. Reconfirm whom you choose to serve. Offer God yourself, your ministry, your goals, and your hopes as a living sacrifice for His glory alone.
The apostle Paul wrote put it this way: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom. 12:1).
Refocus your thinking
We are most vulnerable to the pain of rejection if we have not dealt with our own insecurities. Unresolved hurts from past relationships will spill into current relationships. Lies we’ve been told as a child about not being good enough render us susceptible to wounds of rejection as an adult.
Paul provided the answer to wrong thinking: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). The more you focus on an “audience of One,” the less the rejection of others will matter.
The comfort we receive is not meant to be hoarded. One of my favorite verses is a bit of a tongue twister which reminds us “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
When we give others what we ourselves have received, our comfort is multiplied and God gets the glory.
Rejection doesn’t have to be fatal. We can reject rejection by remembering who we belong to, applying God’s Word, and relying on His Spirit!
How have you been touched by rejection?
How did you respond?