The Message (MSG)
31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
People can live in bondage to rejection and not even know it. It causes us to believe lies about ourselves and undermines our relationships with the Lord. Even though God says He is for us and nothing can separate us from Him (Rom. 8:31-39), past experiences can make us feel differently. It’s impossible to avoid feeling rejection’s sting, so we must deal with it by acknowledging its presence, discovering its source, and letting the Lord help us overcome it.
II. The Nature of Rejection. It is a painful emotion that is created when someone refuses us, and it has many negative outcomes:
A. It creates a feeling of being excluded or unwanted. We can feel unworthy or like we don’t fit in.
B. It is a form of control. Those who refuse to accept us can influence what we do and think.
C. It leads to self-rejection. We become critical of ourselves and lose self-respect.
D. It can become a syndrome. Those who have never dealt with their feelings act in ways that cause others to reject them.
III. What are the characteristics of a person suffering from rejection? People who are consciously or unconsciously enslaved by rejection will:
A. Have a critical spirit toward themselves and others. People with low self-esteem often try to bring other people down.
B. Experience difficulty in loving others. If people don’t love themselves, they’re not equipped to love others.
C. Have feelings of inferiority. Rejection makes people believe they never fit in or measure up.
D. Be overly attentive to appearance. Hurting people try to dress in ways that will help them feel accepted.
E. Be prone to perfectionism. To avoid failure, some people won’t try tasks they cannot do perfectly. This also leads to procrastination.
F. Live in a state of floating anger. An attitude of anger permeates their lives and leads them to find fault with others.
G. Display an attitude of superiority. An arrogant demeanor is really just a cover-up for feelings of inferiority.
H. Be overly sensitive. Those who struggle with feelings of rejection are easily hurt and prone to misinterpreting comments as being unkind.
I. Resist being loved. People who don’t feel worthy have difficulty accepting affection.
J. Be suspicious. Some people become suspicious of anyone who tries to befriend them because they believe there must be an ulterior motive.
K. Become aloof. To avoid rejection, some people become loners.
L. Fall into depression. When people feel unworthy, they naturally are sad and discouraged.
M. Be cheated out of life. People who can’t overcome the emotional effects of rejection miss God’s best blessings.
N. Have a materialistic focus. To feel wanted, some people gather possessions only to find they never satisfy.
O. Miss God’s plan for their lives. Feelings of rejection cheat people of all the Lord wants to do in and through them.
P. Adopt sinful practices. When people can’t accept themselves, they sometimes turn to drugs, drinking, or sex in a search of relief.
IV. Reasons for Feeling Rejected. The underlying cause of this painful emotion is a person’s opinion of himself, which is brought about by hurtful experiences such as:
A. Physical defects. Not liking how he looks can make a person feel undesirable or unlovable.
B. Past emotional hurts. When a person is hurt, the damaging effects always linger.
C. The death of a loved one. Some people interpret loss as rejection because they feel alone. In their eyes, God has turned His back on them.
D. Divorce. This is a very painful experience because both spouses and children are affected and are left feeling discarded.
E. Childhood experiences. Words of criticism and rejection stick in a child’s memory and shape his view of himself. He will spend a lifetime trying to validate his worth.
V. How can we overcome feelings of rejection? These negative feelings must be dealt with if we are to be truly complete. There are three essential elements that comprise a healthy attitude, and the Lord supplies them all. Through Him, we gain:
A. A sense of belonging. Those who are a part of the body of Christ belong to God’s family (Rom. 8:16). Once we fix this truth in our hearts, we’ll feel secure no matter what.
B. A feeling of worthiness. Jesus considered us so valuable that He was willing to die in our place (John 3:16).
C. A sense of competence. When we accepted Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit came to live inside us. One of His jobs is to enable us to accomplish whatever God calls us to do (Phil. 4:13).
VI. Conclusion: There is no need to go through life handicapped by past experiences. The first step to gaining victory over rejection comes when you choose to believe the Lord and find your acceptance in Him. Begin by asking the Lord’s forgiveness for allowing hurtful emotions to hinder you. The next step is to deal with your offenses toward others and ask for their forgiveness because true healing demands that you address both sides of rejection. After that, it all boils down to a choice between believing what God says or what others say about you.