Mark Alan Williams
How To Survive Rejection And Find Acceptance Today
Podcast (listen-to-this-article-here): Play in new window | Download (Duration: 7:04 — 12.9MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS
During high school I dated a girl who, along with her parents, decided I was not right for her. That rejection cut deeply.
CC Image courtesy of Linda Tanner on Flickr
In retrospect, that rejection was one of the best things that ever happened to me. God later gave me Carolyn to be my wife and spending life with her has been absolutely wonderful.
Garth Brooks sang about a similar experience in a song titled “Unanswered Prayers:”
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
Unfortunately, it often takes years to see the good side of rejection. In the meantime, it can be devastating. And sometimes we never figure out the whys.
So how can we cope with rejection?
Here are four points to remember when you feel the pain of rejection:
Everyone Experiences Rejection–Even Jesus
Rejection is a fact of life—everyone faces it at times. And it can be one of the most hurtful emotional pains that human beings can inflict on each other.
There are many sources of rejection:
Divorce, abuse or neglect by a family member
A trusted friend betrays us
Being cut from a team
We are passed over for a job offer or promotion, or even fired
We should not be surprised when we suffer rejection. Both friends and enemies rejected Jesus, the sinless One. “He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)
As with Jesus, rejection often has nothing to do with our doing something wrong—it is due to circumstances and even jealousy over how well we have done.
We Can Deal with Rejection in Healthy Ways
It is important to deal with rejection by responding in a positive ways:
Pray honestly and share your feelings with God. He knows them anyway, so just go ahead and talk with Him about them.
Study the Bible and learn how Jesus, David, Joseph and others handled rejection
Talk through your feelings with a trusted friend and be open to receive their input. Be careful however not to gossip.
If you are a Christ-follower, remember that God has fully accepted you. Scripture says that God “… made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 KJV)
Set a time limit to process grief and consider areas for improvement. At the end of that time set aside the episode by forgiving those who have rejected you. Note: this does not mean trusting someone who has proven untrustworthy, it only means forgiving.
God is in Control and Has a Plan
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Christians have the assurance that nothing happens merely by chance. The Heidelberg Catechism put it this way: “All things…come to us not by chance but by God’s hand.”
It is far easier to make sense out of rejection when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Invite Him into your life today if you have not yet done so.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
You will Someday discover the Underlying Purpose for Your Rejection
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
God is in control and does not waste any pain. He uses rejection in all kinds of ways:
Perhaps our rejection is meant to build our character.God might be directing us toward a new and better path.
God might be correcting us.
Rejection by some can open the door to acceptance by others who will be a greater blessing.
Joseph was rejected by his eleven brothers. They nearly murdered him. Instead they sold him into slavery. But God used that rejection to save many lives.
Years later Joseph summed up the situation to his brothers; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20 NLT)
Sometimes we learn the underlying reason for rejection in this lifetime. Other times we must wait for heaven to understand. But what we know is that God has a deeper purpose in our rejection that we can rest in whether we understand it or not.