I. SEPARATE REAL AND IMAGINED REJECTIONS
Now I want to talk to you about some insights into DEALING WITH REJECTION tonight that I believe may be helpful to you in your progress toward wholeness. THE FIRST is this – SEPARATE out those REAL and IMAGINED REJECTIONS. Is this rejection REAL or is it something that I have PROJECTED into the situation that’s not really there?
Because I am not chosen for a particular athletic thing, or to sing in the elementary school choir, is not a rejection of WHO I AM as a person. – it is CIRCUMSTANTIAL. It has to do with the SITUATION. But if I project into that situation, that I myself am being rejected as a person, then I have GATHERED to myself a REJECTION that is not really inherent in the situation. It may or may not have anything to do with who I am as a person, and I have to separate that out that I am not being rejected.
If they have the NBA draft, and I don’t know what time of year they have the NBA draft, but if the NBA draft started tomorrow, I’m not going to stay by my phone. I doubt seriously that I’m going to be claimed by a single team, no matter how desperate they are.
You see, we read in the Word of God about the ascended Christ in Ephesians 4:8,
“And He gave gifts unto men.”
And not only does the Lord give us different gifts, but even the same gifts are uniquely and singularly expressed through the exotic specialness of each individual. I love basketball, but my gift was not basketball. God gave me other gifts but not that one.
So if I make out of that rejection of myself as a person, I am UNNECESSARILY WOUNDED in the circumstance. Now that’s a bizarre example, but it happens all the time in all kinds of situations. People go through experiences and situations that ARE NOT REAL REJECTION, but they RECEIVE it as REJECTION of THEMSELVES as persons.
A. Nobody Owes It To You To Adopt You!
Now listen, I would like to say something to you that’s a little bit of a hard sentence, and I want you to hear :
“NOBODY OWES IT TO YOU TO ADOPT YOU.”
Can I just say that again? NOBODY OWES IT TO YOU TO ADOPT YOU. You don’t have the right to expect that anybody take you in and accept you as their bosom friend, and take responsibility for you emotionally and spiritually. You don’t have the right to that.
If someone does that, and if God brings you to a friend who becomes your compassionate friend, your deep partner in life, and that friend is willing to work with you in all of the emotional and circumstantial situations of life, then thank and praise God for it! Praise the Lord for it! It’s a wonderful, wonderful miracle!
I have that in my wife – my wife is my very best friend. There are not very many men that can say that – my wife is my best friend. I am closer to my wife than I am to any of my male friends. I talk with her and I can share with her things that I can’t say to anyone else. But most people have to say, “I can share things with my friends that I could never say to my wife.” But I have that in my wife for she’s my best friend.
But do you know that nobody has the right to expect that anybody is going to just own you, take you in, and absorb your life. If you make those kinds of demands on people and try to press your way into relationships which do not open naturally, then you must now listen my friend. Listen to this,you are going to purchase for yourself rejection. Because the more you push your way into relationships – be responsible for me, love me, direct me, guide me, counsel me, talk to me, be mine, and you clutch at people – people are going to push you back.
And I’m telling you that I believe that many, many of the people who are living with the highest levels of rejection in their lives are actually PURCHASING REJECTION FOR THEMSELVES because they have an UNREAL EXPECTATION about what they ought to get out of life. You do not have the right to expect that anybody is going to adopt you.
When you really think about it, as Christians we all are adopted sons and daughters of God. Jesus Christ is the only Divine, eternal Son of God, and we have been adopted by God through Him. We read in Ephesians 1:6,
“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself.”
But God did not have to adopt us, nor did we have any claim or right to adoption. So we read later in Ephesians 1:7,
“…according to the riches of His grace.”
Grace is what everyone needs but no one deserves.
B. You Do Not Have To Come Into Bondage To Any Relationship!
Now I want to say to some other people here that need to hear this. Now listen to this and this is also going to sound a little bit hard. But I’m going to tell you one of the great truths about ministering to people. Listen to this:
“YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COME INTO BONDAGE TO ANY RELATIONSHIP.”
I want to say to you that there are people who will try to adhere themselves to your life. They will become ABSORBING PARASITES. I believe that there are many, many, good, Godly, Spirit-filled wives, especially minister’s wives, who do not know how to stop in a relationship. They do not know how to end it.
People will call you up at every kind of an hour in the day and night. They want to talk for 2 or 3 hours, and they want to pour through all the problems and things that they have. They are not going to get help, for they don’t want help – THEY WANT YOU TO BE THEIR CONSTANT HELP. You do not have to come into bondage in those relationships, and you must come to the maturity and the discernment and the wisdom to know when to draw the line.
Our goal in people’s lives must be to bring them to the glorious and all-sufficient truth of the Psalmist in Psalm 121:2,
“My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”
We must never allow people to substitute us for God in their lives.
You must remain in the driver’s seat! You must know when to stop! You must know when to say, “I’m sorry, I’ve done everything I know to do right now and I have to hang up. My children are crying, my husband needs me, and I must prepare supper.”
Now listen to this – they’re gonna throw guilt on you as in, “Well, there’s just another rejection. Okay, go ahead and reject me.” They called you up to get rejected! They’ve been and they are going to press it to the line until you reject them. I know this sounds hard, but I’m telling you that if you don’t use wisdom and discernment on these things, your life can come into bondage to unwholesome and counter-productive relationships.
You must know WHEN you can help, HOW MUCH you can help, WHAT you can do, and you must know when to DRAW THE LINE. I believe this with my whole heart, that it can become unwholesome.
C. Separate Behavioral Rejection And Personal Rejection!
There is in our effort to separate this matter of imagined and true rejection a need to separate out BEHAVIORAL REJECTION and PERSONAL REJECTION. That is to say, there may be those things that I do which are rejected, but I myself am not being rejected.
In the youth group that I had some years ago, there was boy named Chris who began to come. This was a conservative, small-town youth group. Chris began to attend and He wore a ankle-length raincoat 365 days a year. Whether it was dry, hot, cold, raining, he wore that coat, and was dressed in solid black clothes under this raincoat. He had a long dangling earring in his ear, hair down to the middle of his back. He said to me one day, “You know, Pastor, these kids all act like I’m weird. They treat me like I’m weird.”
I said, “Chris, that’s because you are weird, son.” I said, “I love you, I love you, but they’re not rejecting you. They may not be at the point of spiritual maturity where they could accept you as you are. Maybe they’re not as far along as they ought to be.”
He said, “You never treat me like I’m weird.” I said, “I may not treat you like you’re weird, but do you know, I get out to my car, Chris, and do you know what I say to myself? I say, ‘Boy, that Chris is a weird kid!'” He was stunned! He said, “Nobody has ever talked to me like this.“
I said, “I know. There is a reason you wear a raincoat 365 days a year.” I said, “I’ve been waiting for you to come to me about this.” I said, “Chris, if you want more acceptance, there are some behavioral modifications that you can make that might just make the kids accept you a little more.” He said, “Well I just, I’ve never had anybody talk to me like this.” I said, “Well, aren’t you glad I came along?” He said, “What do you think I ought to do?”
Look, we are told something in I Corinthians 9:22 which is really a life principle:
“I have become all things to all men that I may by all
all means save some.”
Indeed! And likewise we do well within the bounds of holiness and righteousness to stop being what will turn others away from us who we want to befriend and who we want to befriend us.
I said, “Son, cut your hair, take out your earring, and fold up your raincoat and hang it in the closet.” I said, “These things do not make you a more worthwhile person, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re RIGHT OR WRONG or any other thing. It means that these are behaviors that are frankly inappropriate and these people can’t deal with them. These people can’t deal with them, so SEPARATE OUT WHO YOU ARE FROM WHAT YOU DO, and there are some things that you do that you can change, that you can just change!”
II. WAYS TO BECOME LESS REJECTABLE
Now do you UNDERSTAND what I’m saying about SEPARATING out these kinds of things? Now there may be some things that you can change that will make you slightly LESSREJECTABLE.
A. Don’t Ask For Rejection!
There are people that just go around all the time saying, “All right, REJECT ME.” They do everything they know to do to ask for rejection. It’s not to say that rejecting them is right. It’s not to say that the church ought not be more loving and open and affirmative and all the rest of it. It is to say this:
“WE ARE DEALING WITH REALITY – WE ARE DEALING
WITH REAL PEOPLE.”
If there are things in your life, ask God to show you if you’re just living with CONSTANT LOADS OF REJECTION. Ask God to show you, “Lord, is there anything in my life that I might change, those ATTITUDE, ACTIONS, WAYS OF TALKING, WAYS OF DOING that might just make me less rejectable?” Just ask God to show you.
B. Don’t Make A God Of Acceptance!
Now, on the other hand, here is the balance, now watch this – if we make a God of acceptance, and now listen to this, this is very important, especially for young people – if we make a God of acceptance, then we will fall into the TRAP OF THE PERFORMANCE SYNDROME. What is that? That I will be willing to do anything that is necessary to make me acceptable. That’s the tricky balance on this.
There are some things that under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I can just proceed with wisdom to change, in order that I might find a higher level of acceptance. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if I make a “GOD OF MY ACCEPTANCE,” then under the guidance and direction of the flesh, I will accommodate myself to the demands of the world in such a way that I may even compromise my morals. When God clearly commands us in Romans 12:2,
“And do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which
is good and acceptable and perfect.”
And morally I can assure you of this as well:
“THAT WHICH IS ACCEPTABLE TO GOD WILL BE
UNACCEPTABLE TO THE WORLD.”
In which case, now watch this, the little girl who experiences rejection from her father, and she never feels loved, and she never feels cared for. Or her mother doesn’t want her, and she feels constantly rejected as a person. So she changes her performance, she changes her lifestyle, she’s constantly trying to please.
Then sooner or later some boy says, “I love you, and if you love me you’ll sleep with me….” Now instantly her morals and her convictions are challenged, but she is experiencing a TEMPORARY BLUSH OF ACCEPTANCE. And so therefore she goes wrong violating that which she knows to be right. She goes along with it because she had made a God out of her appetite for acceptance.
But here’s what happens, now watch this, the LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS sets in. It satisfies her less and less and less because gradually it begins to dawn on her that she is not being ACCEPTED AS A PERSON. She is being accepted because of her looks, her body, her lack of morals, her willingness to sleep with the boy etc. And so, gradually, what happens? As that cycle begins to operate in her life, she gradually begins to realize that she is NOT BEING ACCEPTED AT ALL. She is actually being rejected! This cycle goes on in the lives of people over and over and over again.
There are women who allow themselves to be used up in destructive relationships year after year after year – like married five times and going on six. (John 4:18)
I just saw a story about a pathetic movie star just marrying for the eighth time. It’s like she is saying to the whole world, “Love me, love me, love me, accept me. I’ll make another movie, I’ll win another Academy Award. Don’t reject me, don’t reject me.” But what do we do? We say to her, “We accept your BODY, we accept your LOOKS, we accept your TALENT.”
But there is a person that’s inside there and that person continues to feel rejected, because that person is not accepted as a REAL HUMAN BEING. She’s only being accepted because of outward circumstances. So she lives in terror.
Terrified by what? She’s gonna get fat, so she gets fat. She lives in fear of it. Now she says to herself, “All right, the world’s rejected me.” So she goes into Betty Ford Clinic, she drops off about 75 lbs., she makes another movie, she finds another husband, she makes another headline. And the world says, “Yah, yah, yah, we love you, we love you, we love you.”
Then she says to herself, “Oh, but what if I was old, what if I couldn’t do this, what if I couldn’t do that? Then will they reject me the next time.” And that will come true, for these are SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES that come true in her life, and it will happen, and the rejection will come again.
I give you no more hope of this serial-marriage than of a snowball in Hell, because you cannot throw together two PITIFUL, BROKEN, UNSAVED, NEUROTIC FOLKS who have just got so many miles on their odometers that it’s clicked over, and expect them to make a wholesome marriage out of it. Once aware, we’ve got to wake up! These are a couple of broken, used people, and it’s pathetic to watch it.
Oh if I could just spend 5 MINUTES with her and say to her, “Listen, listen my dear sister, there is a God who doesn’t care how many movies you’ve made. He doesn’t even go to them! There is a God who has never noticed your name on a marquee. There is a God who doesn’t really care about your past, and that you were a child-movie star, and that you are rich. God does not see anything about all of this. He doesn’t really notice anything about how much money you’ve got, or how big your diamond rings are, or what you did to get them.”
And then say to her, “But there is, a God Who LOVES YOU AS A PERSON, Who knows who you are deep down inside. Yes, that person that nobody has ever known , or has EVER been able to reach. That person that has never been brought to the surface! There is a God who knows and loves that person.”
That woman needs to be freed up from the FALSE ACCEPTANCE of CLOTHING, or BEAUTY, or TALENT, or SUCCESS, or SEX, or MARRIAGE, or RELATIONSHIPS that are NOT going to endure anyway. She must be brought into the place where she as an individual, where deep inside she comes to the WONDERFUL REALITY of GOD’S LOVE FOR HER.
Nothing, listen to this:
“ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WILL HEAL REJECTION EXCEPT FOR A
REVELATION OF THE PERSONAL LOVE OF GOD.”
You can go through counseling, you can go thru deliverance, you can go read all the books that have ever been written, but until the Holy Spirit gives you a faith revelation of God’s personal concern or you, you will not be healed of rejection.
C. Be Dependent On God!
Now I believe that there are certain terms that just kind of rise to the surface in different years. You can feel them coming, you know, and they rise to a kind of PSYCHOLOGICAL ACCEPTANCE both in the world and in the church. Everybody’s writing a book about them right now. My goodness, you want to write a book that will sell? If you want to write a book that will sell 500,000 copies right now, then write a book on CO-DEPENDENCY.
Right now, everybody wants to know about co-dependency. It has become such a popular theme that I now believe that its popularity makes people being healed of it almost impossible.
I understand co-dependency. I can talk like this, because I’ve got an education. But listen to me friends, I actually believe that the next person who comes for counseling – you might want to consider this before you call for an appointment – but I think the net person who comes in my office and says, “I’m CO-DEPENDENT,” I think I’m just gonna slap ‘em.
In the first place, what can it mean? What can it mean – CO-DEPENDENT? The Bible teaches us to BE DEPENDENT, not to be CO-DEPENDENT, but to be UTTERLY DEPENDENT. You will be healed of co-dependency when you are ABSOLUTELY DEPENDENT ON GOD – dependent on God for the BREATH you breathe, the THOUGHTS you think, the FOOD you eat. Matthew 6:11,
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Dependent for HIS LOVE, dependent for HIS ACCEPTANCE, dependent for HIS LIFE, dependent for HIS ETERNITY, dependent for HIS REVELATION, dependent for HIS HOPE, dependent for HIS HOLINESS.
“CO-DEPENDENCY IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY WHEN
WE ARE UTTERLY DEPENDENT ON GOD!”
“REJECTION IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY WHEN WE ARE UTTERLY
DEPENDENT UPON GOD’S LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE.”
In Christ alone will I glory,
Though I could pride myself in battles won.
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I’ll overcome.
Oh, I could stop and count successes
Like diamonds in my hands,
But those trophies could not equal
To the grace by which I stand
In Christ alone I place my trust,
And find my glory in the power of the cross;
In every victory let it be said of me,
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone
In Christ alone will I glory,
For only by His grace I am redeemed,
For only His tender mercy could reach beyond my weakness to my need.
And now I seek no greater honor than just to know Him more,
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord.
In Christ alone I place my trust,
And find my glory in the power of the cross;
In every victory let it be said of me,
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone, is Christ alone.