home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > March 8th > ADVICE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD OR A MOUNTAIN OF CASH ABOUT HOW TO USE REJECTION TO BECOME AN EVEN BETTER, WISER, STRONGER YOU!

For several reasons I am qualified to help people deal with acute and chronic pain. Some acute and chronic pain can be resolved medically. Some pains can go a long way to being resolved with the help of a psychologist. Some pains can be resolved with a hug from mum. But there is a pain that a doctor cannot cure, a psychologist cannot counsel, a mother’s hug cannot alleviate. It is a pain that goes deep – beyond the defences of our integumentary system, our neurological system (including our para-sympathetic nervous system), our muscular system, our skeletal system, our lymphatic system, our renal system, gastro-intestinal system, our respiratory system, our cardio-vascular system, our hormonal system, and our half-share of a reproductive system. It is a pain that wounds: our memory, our sense of self, our estimation of our worth, our confidence, and our ability to connect meaningfully with others (our ability to love and be loved). It is the pain of rejection. It not only effects who we are (our identity) but it also leaches symptomatically into each of these ten-and-a-half biological systems which every human being possesses. I am going to offer all those who have experienced the pain of rejection how they can be healed from its wound, and actually become stronger, wiser, more confident, as a result.

 

A UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE

We have, or will, all experience rejection. Rejection is painful. But its pain ranges from slight to intense depending why we are being rejected and by whom. Sales-people are trained to process rejection. Not every potential customer will buy. Good sales-people understand this (great sales-people learn from this). If you are a Christian, you and your message will be rejected (Matt. 5:11; 10:14). Mature Christians understand this and learn from it. 

 

YOUR IDENTITY

Your identity does not come from those who reject you—and neither does it come from those who accept you! We are each created by God to belong to a community. This begins with our father and mother – biological family. It is this foundational connection with others that contributes to our identity. Sadly, not everyone is blessed with this kind of beginning. Yet, the truth still stands: Your identity does not come from those who reject you—neither does it come from those who accept youPerhaps it will take years of processing for some to understand to this. In the meantime such vulnerable people are susceptible to the lie that their identity is defined by who accepts them.

 

THE PROBLEM WITH YOU IS…

In preparing couples for marriage I spend a lot of time with them helping them both to understand how to argue.This involves certain rules including: Identify the issue as the problem, not the person as the problem. This rule also goes to the heart of how to deal with rejection: Don’t confuse rejection based on your lack of abilities with rejection of you. One of the most powerful examples of this is the story of José Hernandez. He suffered rejection after rejection after rejection. But each time, and with great help later on from his wife, he was able to understand that he wasn’t being rejected – but his limited abilities for the task were being rejected. He then made a list of each of the criticisms he received as to why he was being rejected by NASA for their astronaut program and set about to gain each of the skills that NASA said he didn’t have. It is one of the greatest examples I can think of that illustrates how to process rejection in a healthy way.

YOU CAN NOT APPEAL TO EVERYONE

You could be the nicest, most caring, most loving, most helpful person in the world, and still be rejected! Jesus was.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Isaiah 53:3

And He 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.
Mark 8:31

One of the most injurious things you can do to yourself is to begin to define who you are by what those who reject – or accept – you, say you are. Follow Christ’s example instead. His identity, who He truly was, came from His heavenly Father – and so does ours!

 

PROCESSING REJECTION AS THE PATHWAY TO BECOMING A BETTER, MORE CONFIDENT, WISER, STRONGER, YOU

Here are five principles for processing rejection well:

{Read W. Somerset Maugham’s THE VERGER}

There is of course one overarching principle that must also be employed to process rejection properly: forgiveness. It is one of the main ministries of a pastor to help people to firstly receive forgiveness, then secondly to extend it to others. The words of Christ in Matthew 6  which come immediately after The Lord’s Prayer should startle every unforgiving Christian. Sometimes the pain of rejection hurts so much that we forget these sombre words of Christ and the eternal jeopardy they forewarn:

For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15

This warning comes from Jesus who has experienced rejection like none other:

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.
John 1:11 NLT

May God grant you the grace that you need to process rejection, to offer forgiveness and thereby grow wiser, stronger, more confident and become a better you. 
Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Weller

    Thank you Pastor Andrew, I found this extremely helpful!

    Reply

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