Rejection and Abandonment
REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT
DEFINITION: The original meaning of the word rejection was to throw back. Rejection occurs when a person or group of people excludes an individual and refuses to acknowledge or accept them. Abandonment is a similar term, meaning to desert someone, to leave and never return.
FACTS ABOUT REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:
Rejection takes many forms. It may occur through the ending of a relationship, unrequited affection for someone, losing a job, or through criticism. Feelings of rejection also can arise from emotional or physical abandonment by friends or family or close relations such as a parent or a spouse. Failure to achieve a goal like being accepted by a college or hired for a job can also cause feelings of rejection.
Reactions to rejection may include disappointment, anger, sadness, depression, and feelings of isolation and abandonment. Rejection may cause you to stop trying because of fear of rejection. You may experience feelings of inferiority and develop a critical spirit towards yourself or those by whom you were rejected. You may have difficulty in forming relationships because of rejections experienced in the past. Feelings of rejection can actually cause you to miss God’s plan for your life when you withdraw to nurse your wounds.
You are not alone in your rejection. Many people in the Bible experienced rejection. The Old Testament prophets were often rejected and disrespected. They ended up in lions’ dens, pits, and were martyred. Joseph, whose story is recorded in Genesis, was rejected by his family and his brothers sold him into slavery. Moses experienced repeated rejection before Pharaoh. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was stoned by one group of people, run out of town, and escaped with his life by being let over the wall in a basket. Peter and John were imprisoned and Stephen experienced the ultimate rejection–he was martyred after preaching one of the greatest messages recorded in the New Testament. Everyone experiences rejection. It is impossible to go through life without feeling rejected at some time.
God experienced rejection. In Numbers 14:11 the Lord asked Moses: “How long will these people reject me? How long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them” (Numbers 14:11, NKJV).
Jesus experienced rejection. The prophet Isaiah said concerning Jesus: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus came to His own people and they rejected him (John 1:11) and He was rejected in His own hometown (Mark 6:4). Like Jesus, you will be rejected because you are not of this world (John 15:18-19).
DEALING WITH REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:
Pray about your rejection issues. Turn your disappointment, hurt, anger, sadness, depression over to the Lord. Ask Him to heal your wounded emotions. The Bible directs us to give thanks in everything, so thank God that He is guiding your life, even through the pain of rejection and abandonment.
Determine that you will live by faith. Rejection is a feeling, but we do not live the Christian life on the basis of feelings. We live by faith in God. We do not live in the natural. We live in the supernatural.
Permit the power of the Holy Spirit to work in your life. As a born-again believer, the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Just because you feel rejected, you are not incompetent. You are fully equipped, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish all that God has called you to do: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Know that you are who God says you are. Regardless of what others think about you, as a believer you are who the Lord says you are. You belong to the family of God (Romans 8:16). You are so valuable that Jesus died for you (John 3:16).
Know that you are really never alone. Jesus said “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
Do not view rejection as a negative thing. If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, then He is guiding each aspect of your life. The fact that you are rejected by a person, group, job, college, etc., may be part of His plan for you. God guides us through closed doors as well as open doors. The Bible says that “all things” work together for your good when you are a true believer who loves God: “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).
Use rejection as a cause to examine yourself. Honestly assess your actions, attitudes, and responses to others to see if there is a legitimate reason for being rejected. For example, if you were rejected for a job was it because you did not interview well? If you are repeatedly rejected by others, could there be reasons? If you discover legitimate reasons for rejection in any area, correct these with the help of the Lord.
Do not let rejection hinder you from fulfilling your destiny. God has a plan for your life. Perhaps rejection has blocked the way you were planning to go, but if your goals and purposes are God-given, you will still achieve them–perhaps just not in the way you thought. Do not let rejection stand in your way. Get up and try again. You never truly fail unless you stop trying, and it is always too soon to quit!
Overcome your fear of rejection by putting God first. When the disciples were imprisoned and threatened by the authorities because of their stand for the Gospel, they declared: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:
Read the story of the woman at the well in John chapter 4. Because of her lifestyle, this woman had obviously been rejected by society, as she came to draw water when no one else was there–perhaps to avoid the feelings of rejection and the gossip. Jesus accepted her as she was and changed her life. She overcame her feeling of rejection and became a powerful evangelist–she brought the whole city out to meet Jesus.
… for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 14:2)
How long will these people reject me? How long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them. (Numbers 14:11, NKJV).
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17)
For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. (Psalm 94:14)
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9-10)
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ” (Matthew 21:42)
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:4-6)
He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ (Luke 13:34-35)
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:10-131)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)
We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:16-17)
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)
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:3-8)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:4)