Whole Truth Help gratefully presents the ministry of Pastor M. Wayne Benson as he shares with us his teaching on “Dealing With Rejection.” Wayne is a former senior pastor of First Assembly of God in Grand Rapids, Michigan; a former college president of Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri; a former president and CEO of Emerge Ministries in Akron, Ohio; and is now an associate pastor of leadership development in Rock Church of Huntsville, Alabama. You will as we have through the years, find his teaching rich, insightful, and most helpful. God bless you as you partake of this deep well of Biblical truth. And now – Dealing With Rejection.
I believe with my whole heart that the world and the church and the devil have all underestimated the depth of Christ’s commitment to His brethren. I think that we have not understood the height and the width and the breadth and the depth of His identification with us.
Remember when Saul of Tarsus is leaving Jerusalem in the 9th chapter of Acts to go down to Damascus to arrest the Christians and put them in chains. And the voice of God spoke out of the sky as Jesus strikes Saul blind and knocks him down to the ground. Then the voice out of Heaven says in Acts 9:4 KJV,
“Saul, Saul, why persecutest Thou Me?”
And yet the fact of the matter is, as we read Scripture, that we cannot find any place that Saul had anything to do with the death of Jesus Christ. In fact, previous to his being a Christian, there was no indication, and in fact, many indications to the contrary that Saul ever even saw Jesus previous to his own conversion. And yet Jesus says to him here,
“Saul, Saul, why persecutest Thou Me?”
In other words, Jesus is really saying,
“When you touch one of Mine, you touch Me.”
Jesus had so thoroughly identified with us, in the church, in our humanity through the power of His blood, and through the fact that He has grafted us into one Body of which He Himself is the Head, that when anyone reaches out their hand to touch the church, they touch Jesus Christ.
My dear friend, do you see how that meets us at the point of our fragile, frail understanding of who we are in Christ? If I could ever come to understand what it is that Christ has done for me in Christ, I believe that the hard and tough issues in life like rejection would be swallowed up in victory.
I. THE PAINFUL FACT OF REJECTION
There is so much rejection in this world! It is heaped on us and fired at us from every side. I believe that there is hardly any emotional difficulty which people deal with so constantly as rejection.
Mark Rutland tells the story of when he was in the second grade at Southside Elementary School in Arlington, Texas. He relates: “I will never forget when they organized a little elementary school chorus. We were going to have a program there and sing songs and people recite patriotic things etc. We were celebrating the birth of Texas or something like that, and they were going to have all kinds of songs. They organized a choir/chorus from the elementary school. Of course it was not a religious choir, but a chorus, and I was excited to be a part of it.
All the second graders were lined up in there and we were singing some songs about Pecos Bill. I don’t remember the song, but I remember that it had to do with Pecos Bill. It was an exciting, fun cowboy song. We were all supposed to wear our little cowboy boots and cowboy hats, and there was a part in the song where we were supposed to stomp our heels in those cowboy boots, and then wave our hats in the air. And I really liked that, and I wanted to be in there with all of the rest of them.
We were singing, and all of a sudden without warning in front of about 500 elementary school students, the teacher snarled, “Mark Rutland, step out of there and come down here. Mark, you can’t sing, and I am asking you to step out of there.” I am telling you, rejection shot through the core of my being. I felt completely and totally humiliated. She went on, “I’ll give you another part in this thing, a sign to hold or something like that.” But that wasn’t it. I wanted to stomp those cowboy boots and wave that hat. I wanted to stand up there with all of the other second graders.
Well now, the fact is that the teacher told me absolutely nothing but God’s honest truth. I absolutely cannot sing even to this day. I have over the years come to grips with it. But in the second grade, I hadn’t. And I believe that for every person here there are many stories just like that. Every person has been through moments when someone else gave you the blow of rejection, which many times felt like a mortal blow indeed.”
II. THE HEALING OF REJECTION
Well then, I just want to say something to you that is hard to balance. The gentle shepherd is so sweet, so careful, and He never breaks a bruised reed, and I do not want to do that either. There are some people here who have gone through some horrible things as children. Others have gone through marriages that were horrendous, husbands that deserted you in the middle of the night and left you with two children and a horrible financial situation. I may not understand just how deeply it hurts, but I am deeply sympathetic with you and my heart goes out to you.
But listen to me, you will never be healed of those things until you come to understand the unsearchable riches of God’s love to you as a person. As an individual, there is no relationship, there is no person, there is no counseling, there is no prayer of deliverance that can heal you of those things. I know people that go through deliverance semi-annually like it was psycho-therapy or something. They say, “Well, I’m going through deliverance again next week.” My goodness brethren, what’s the matter with us? We as Christians do not have to go through semi-annual deliverance.
A. Seek A Revelation Of Who God Is
We need, each one of us, a revelation of Who our God is. I believe that there are Christians that live their whole lives believing that they are saved. They trust in the blood of the Lamb, and trust that their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They believe that if they die they will go to Heaven.
And yet it is obvious that their faith gives them no joy, they have no power in it all, and they don’t understand what it all means. They are clinging to their lives and their souls with their fingernails. Year after lonely pathetic year, their salvation is seen as only a thing, and not a relationship with the God Who is love (I John 4:8, 16). They do not grasp somehow that Jesus shed His blood for them because He Himself loves them as individuals with a love that is deeper than the deepest oceans, higher than the highest heavens, wider than the universe, and longer than eternity. Now!!! In this life!!!
That is why the Apostle Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3:14-19,
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,”
from Whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you,
being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth
and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you
may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
B. Enjoy Eternal Life And Love With God Now
Christianity is not a matter of a cabin in the corner of glory land, for Pete’s sake. This is a matter of enjoying eternal life in and with God now. “Emmanuel! God With Us” means more than a vague sense of His presence. It means God knowing me, God knowing my past, God understanding me and loving me deeply just as I am – HIS CHILD AND FOREVER I AM.
I believe that even when we begin to come into an understanding of what that means, or as Paul states in Ephesians 1:6 KJV,
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made
us accepted in the beloved,”
then a rejection that we’ve experienced in the past begins to be swallowed up in His perfect love for and acceptance of us. We in Christ are infinitely loved and accepted by God now!!! Enjoy your perfect Lover and Acceptor Who loves and accepts you unconditionally.
C. Lay Aside Childish Things
Alright then, let’s say what has to be said for your good and mine! I’m sorry for the painful things you have endured. I’m sorry – I hate it that your father rejected you. It’s wicked and evil and no one ought to have gone through sexual abuse as a child. Oh God, it’s horrible. I am so sorry, but I must tell you this in all faith and love, but in the firmness of the Word of God:
“THE PAST IS THE PAST.”
Now you and I must begin to put those things behind us once and for all – cutting away, carving away, laying aside those childish things. We hear a critically important life principle from the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:11,
“When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as
a child, reason as a child; when I became a man
I did away with childish things.”
Now that you are an adult, you must begin to say to yourself, “That child.” Distance yourself from THAT CHILD as no longer being you. You see, sexual abuse as a child rejects the child. It says, “I’ll only accept you for what you can do for me with your body.” You see, that child inside is rejected.
O God, if I could wave a magic wand and take away those abusive and rejecting childhood experiences. If I could say something to you and cast out all your experiences and heal all your memories. But life is complicated, and the human machine is infinitely complicated. The human brain is complicated, and then you throw in emotion, mind, and spirit, and put all of that in there together. And somebody tosses in a monkey wrench and it all gets jammed up.
And then there is the fact that you just can’t explain everything in your life, every weakness, every fear, all those things, because your daddy wasn’t nice to you as kid.
But what I know is this – we must take the machinery as it is to the foot of the cross, and we must say, “O God, I give You my past, I give you my childhood. Now Lord, I know all that I went through, I know all that I have experienced, but now I give it to you. I give THAT CHILD to you, and now help me to be the man/woman that You want me to be.”
God alone can release you from the hurt and rejection of your childhood, and He will when by His grace and Spirit you put away and give over the childhood things that have held you captive ever since.
D. Seek A Revelation Of His Word
The healing of God comes through the power of the Holy Spirit in a revelation of His Word. If you have gone through rejection in your life, if you went through a parent’s rejection, or through a broken relationship, or a marriage in which you have been rejected, listen to what God’s Word says to you. In Psalm 27:10 we read,
“For my father and mother have forsaken me, but
the Lord will take me up.”
I want you to read now Ephesians 1:3-14 for yourself. That’s right, before you go any further, read it aloud to yourself with me…..Okay, this chapter says the following that we must embrace and hold to our hearts:
-Verse 3 says that HE HAS BLESSED US.
-Verse 4 says that HE HAS CHOSEN US.
-Verse 4 says that HE HAS SANCTIFIED US.
-Verse 5 says that HE HAS A PLAN FOR US FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
-Verse 5 says that HE HAS ADOPTED US.
-Verse 6 says that HE HAS ACCEPTED US.
-Verse 7 says that HE HAS REDEEMED US.
-Verse 8 says that HIS LOVE ABOUNDS TO US.
-Verse 9 says that HE HAS SPOKEN TO US.
-Verse 10 says that HE HAS GATHERED US TOGETHER WITH OTHER SAINTS IN THE CHURCH.
-Verse 11 says that HE HAS RESERVED FOR US AN INHERITANCE.
-Verse 12 says that HE HAS GIVEN US A HOPE IN CHRIST.
-Verse 13 says that HE HAS SEALED US IN HIMSELF WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
-Verse 14 says that HE HAS GIVEN US A PLEDGE OF OUR INHERITANCE.
Well then there you have it:
-GIVEN AN INHERITANCE
-GIVEN A HOPE
-GIVEN A PLEDGE
“THAT SURELY BEATS SINGING IN OR NOT SINGING
IN THE SECOND GRADE CHORUS.”
I don’t care what you have been through, though I do care! I don’t care what you have faced. I want to say to you that I don’t care how many people have told you that you are useless and that you were ugly and that you were any other thing. Now listen to me:
“IN THOSE DAYS OTHER PEOPLE SPOKE TO US, BUT
NOW IN THESE DAYS GOD HAS SPOKEN TO US
IN HIS SON.”
And His word is perfectly clear – we are ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED – I say – ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.
Is God then a fool? Can God ACCEPT that which is not acceptable? Now listen to this, you don’t have to sing well enough, you don’t have to play the trumpet well enough, you don’t have to direct the choir, or be a minister, or tithe in the church, or any other thing to be good enough to make God like you.
“BY HIS GRACE TOWARD US HE RELIEVES US OF THE
BONDAGE OF HAVING TO PERFORM FOR HIM OR
ANYONE ELSE, BECAUSE THROUGH THE
BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HE HAS
MADE US ACCEPTABLE
We don’t have to gain God’s acceptance. He has held us up before all the powers of cosmic darkness, and he has said, “Do your see all of these, these are My children, and I love them and totally accept them in My Son.”
Who can reject you? Who dares reject you as God’s child? You have been accepted by the hand and heart of Almighty God. Who can condemn you? What condemnation could ever stand against God’s child? That is the reason the Apostle Paul states in Roman 8:1,
“There is therefore no condemnation to them that are in
Christ…and live according to the Spirit and
not by the flesh.”
If God has taken away my condemnation, then who can place condemnation on me? If God loves me, then who dares to hate me? Or as we read inRomans 8:31,
“If God is for me, who can be against me?”
And Romans 8:25,
“What could ever separate me from the love of God which
is in Christ Jesus?”
E. Now Apply This To Real Life Situations
Look, divorce can separate you from your husband. Divorce can separate you from your parents. Some of you children here are going through horrendous things in your homes. Oh God, I hate it for you! Children ought not have to go through those things, but life isn’t fair.
But listen to me, in the midst of it all, God loves you, God accepts you, God has redeemed you if you are in Christ. God has chosen you. Oh the thrill of that wonderful moment in your life when you realize that you are loved and accepted by God. Many children never get it. Many children never get accepted and loved.
Alright then, we are going to play basketball. You all know the little child that can’t play basketball, and he stands off to the side or in the back. Now, we are going to chose teams. “Yes,” says the team leader and head jock, “I’ll take you, and I’ll take you, and I’ll take you.” But there is always that little shrimp of a kid who can’t play basketball. He is not coordinated, and he is not athletic, and he is not popular. He is the unjock! Finally someone says, “Okay then, we’re stuck with Johnny. Come on, Johnny.”
Oh that is such an exhilarating experience for a child. And it is rejection! But you know what? Listen to the God of the universe saying to Johnny, “I choose you! I want you! I must have you Johnny.” Listen to God! He has chosen us! Glory to God!
Let me deal with the issue of ADOPTION for just a moment. Frankly, and let’s be clear on this matter:
“NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO EXPECT ANOTHER HUMAN
BEING TO ADOPT YOU.”
Now then, I want to tell you what God has done. When we as sinners had no right to expect anything of Him – when we as lost sinners had no right to demand anything from Him – when we had no way to extort anything from Him! When in fact we were sinners, weak, lost, hopeless, and helpless – GOD ADOPTED US IN CHRIST.
Do you know that I have felt that it would be easier to explain the Gospel to adopted children than it is to anybody else in this world? Because there is something wonderful, isn’t there, in realizing the awesome love of adoption. For we all are the adopted children of God as Ephesians 1:5 tells us.
Okay then, so I am the natural born child of such and such. They got me! I was the one that came out! That’s it! They were stuck with me! Do you understand what I am saying?
But, do you realize that two people, a husband and a wife, see this baby in the Adoption Agency, and they say, “We see him or her. We know what he looks like, and he or she doesn’t look anything like us. There he or she is, and we choose him, we choose her, he or she is the one sent by God to us. We love him or her. This one belongs to with us.”
I have never understood adopted children that say all their life long, “Well, I am dealing with a great deal of rejection.“ I ask the question:
“WHAT REJECTION FROM YOUR NATURAL BORN PARENTS
CAN POSSIBLY DIMINISH THE WONDERFUL AND
MAGNIFICENT JOY AND LOVE OF BEING
CHOSEN BY PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T
HAVE TO CHOOSE YOU.”
Glory to God! Glory to God!
F. Finally, Meet The Resurrected Christ
It’s RESURRECTION DAY. The birds in the cemetery are just beginning to wake from their slumber. The darkness and the depression and the fear and the loneliness that seemed to have engulfed the world for 3 days begins to break.
The explosive power of God rolls the stone away. The angels are standing in the cemetery and the Lord, the risen Messiah, the Christ of God, has come up out of the grave with the keys of death and Hell in His hand as He walks into the sunlight.
Just at that moment a lonely woman enters the cemetery. She has been rejected, used, and abused by men who slept with her as a prostitute, and who never even knew her name and did not want to know it. She has no family, and as an ex-prostitute with a dismal past, her future seems to be hopelessly sealed in the grave with Jesus. She comes when no one else will come to anoint His body.
I wonder what dark, mournful thoughts are in her head? Perhaps thoughts such as, “He is the only man Who ever cared about me and didn’t use me. He is the only man Who ever spoke to me as a real human being. I wonder what future I have now.”
Suddenly she looks. The grave is open, and there are two men robed in white. They asked her in Luke 24:5,
“Why do you seek the living One among the dead?”
She can’t understand it. It makes no sense. The others turn to flee out of the cemetery. She alone remains behind. She is confused and disoriented. And suddenly she hears a voice. Now hear this:
“THE FIRST WORD OF THE RISEN CHRIST WAS
THE NAME OF AN EX-PROSTITUTE.”
I don’t know if that helps you, but it does wonders for me. He didn’t appear at the temple in Jerusalem and utter some great and wonderful theological truth. He said to an ex-prostitute in John 20:16,
Hear it! In other words, “I know you, I know your name, I know you as a person, I call my sheep by name, and they know my voice, and they follow me.” And what is more Mary, “I am alive. Death was not able to hold Me.” Mary – all of the love and the acceptance and the grace of all of the heart of God was in that one word – Mary.”
Have you been defiled and abused and rejected? Now listen. Turn your ear to the empty tomb and listen to the voice of God, “John! William! Josh! Charles! Susan! Ruth! Meagan! Jacqueline! I see you in your rejected, abused, wounded humanity. But I have accepted you in My glorious resurrection power. Child, you are accepted by God. Peace be unto you. The peace of God be unto you. You are the adopted child of the Most High God.”
You say, “My natural father deserted me and left me in a motel room with a teenage girl who didn’t love me.” I have wonderful news for you. Your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has prepared a place for you in the Heavens where you will reign together with Him forever and ever. But first, listen, He is calling your name – Mary, Mary, I am alive and will never leave you nor abandon you.
Well my friend, here we all are, in the same place. We are with our Lord rejected and despised by the world. Some have been rejected by their parents. Others have been divorced by their husbands or their wives. Some have been deserted by their children.
A husband had an affair with a woman and he tells his wife. He then says to her, “Well, if you had been more of woman, I wouldn’t of had to do this.” He leaves her and deserts her for some 19 year old girl with a bod but without a brain in her head. And he forsakes and abandons his wife who finds that divorce is worse than death.
Now dear woman, come with me to the cross of Jesus Christ. Let the love of Calvary and the grace of the cross flow down upon you. Hear the voice of God Almighty so big that it drowns out the voice of your unfaithful husband, or the voice of your abusive and perverse father, and all of the voices that have wounded and broken your heart. Hear the voice of Jesus Christ from the cross and the empty tomb,
“I LOVE YOU – I CHOOSE YOU – I ADOPT YOU – I HAVE
MADE YOU ACCEPTABLE – I HAVE REDEEMED
YOU – BE MINE – I WILL BE
Today, let all that hurt and rejection be swallowed up in the power of God’s love and forgiveness, and now forgive even as He has forgiven you. We don’t have to go on acting out our own rejection year after year after year. We don’t have to live in this suicidal depression that comes from it – the self-rejection, the self-hatred, and the self-loathing.
There is no other healing for rejection but to come before God’s throne of grace this morning and hear God’s words in Christ to you,
“YOU ARE SO PRECIOUS TO ME, IF YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE,
I WOULD HAVE DIED FOR YOU.”
I wonder if there is anyone here that has ever heard someone say to them,
“YOU’RE NOT EVEN WORTH KILLING.”
Do you know what Christ says,
“YOU ARE WORTH GOING TO HELL FOR.”
Think of the inestimable value of a God’s created one in His Image that is so precious that the Creator would die an unfathomably painful death for His beloved one. It is beyond measure. If you can receive this from the Holy Spirit today, you will be healed in a wonderful, wonderful way. Amen!