Why does rejection wound us so deeply?
Because it attacks the very person that we are. It destroys our self-esteem, and attacks who we are and our purpose in life. This is why it is one of the most common tools the devil will use to destroy a person’s life. God never wanted us to feel rejected or abandoned. He desires for you to know who you really are, and realize how deeply God loves, accepts, and appreciates you so that you can live out the fullness of what all God has ordained you to be. God’s Word tells us that without being rooted and grounded in the love (and acceptance) of God, we cannot experience the fullness of God in our lives:
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:19
Rejection has a way of destroying a person’s life in a way that few other things can. The sad fact is that the number of people who are affected by rejection is staggering. If we want to be all that God has created us to be, then overcoming rejection and it’s affects is vital and absolutely essential.
The fruit of rejection
Many people who have faced rejection and abuse as a child, grow up with unresolved emotional wounds. Rejection causes emotional wounds, which if not cleaned and released, will grow and fester into spiritual wounds (such as unforgiveness, envy, blaming God, jealousy, etc.). Those spiritual wounds open us up to evil spirits which love to take advantage of this opportunity to invade us. The goal of the enemy is to get us built up with emotional baggage inside and negative feelings in our hearts against one another, ourselves, and God.
Rejection has a lot of fruit which can widely vary from one person to another. Some of the common symptoms of rejection include:
• Rebellion in both children and adults
• Fabricated personalities (being somebody you aren’t, in order to be accepted)
• The tendency to reject others, so that you aren’t the first one to be rejected
• A tendency to always wonder if a person rejects or accepts you
• The need to fit in or be accepted by others and be a part of everything
• Self-pity where a person feels bad for themselves being all alone
• Inability to be corrected or receive constructive criticism
• Rejection creates an environment where you are starved for love or just don’t fit in
• A tendency to blame God (“Why did He give me this big nose? Why did God make me so short?”)
• A sense of pride that says, “How dare they reject me!”
• Opinionated personality and the need to be right about things
• Feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, or hopelessness
• Seeking a parent’s approval is a sign that your basing your identity upon what they think of you
• Envy, jealousy, and even hate can be rooted in rejection
• Fear of confrontation (because your identity is based upon what they think of you)
A person who has a hard time admitting they are wrong, or receiving constructive criticism has an underlying problem with rejection. How do we know that? Because they are basing their identity, who they are, upon their ability to be right about everything. Stubbornness can also be rooted in rejection as well for this same reason. They have to be right, or else they feel worthless… that’s because “who they are” (their identity) is based upon them being right. This also ties in with opinionated personalities, who are always there to tell you all about something, even if they have little or no real understanding to speak from.
Then we have performance orientation and drivenness, certain variances of OCD, etc. where a person is basing their identity and who they are upon how well they perform at something in life. Whenever we base who we are upon our performance, or our being correct about something, then we fail, it is a blow to our identity.
Those who struggle with rejection can also become what we call fixers; a fixer is a person who is eager to tell everybody else how they need to be doing things, but many times have little understanding or experience in such matters. Such a person attempts to be the Holy Spirit in other people’s lives, where they have no authority or right to step in. They find their identity in fixing other people’s problems, and they love it when people come to them for help or advise.
The truth is that we were created to be loved, accepted, and appreciated. Rejection is an anti-Christ spirit because it opposes the very nature that God created in us. Rejection starves a person from love and acceptance that they were designed to receive. The problem is that when we turn to others or even ourselves for that love and acceptance, we are setting ourselves up for failure and the damage of rejection. Only God can be trusted as the source of our identity.
Self-rejection is another piece to this puzzle. Self-rejection is where a person rejects them self. They do not like who they are. This can often lead to self-hate, self-resentment, etc. It is often tied in with self-unforgiveness if the person has made mistakes in their life which they deeply regret. Just as it hurts when others reject us, it can do just as much damage when we reject ourselves.
Then there’s perceived rejection, where a person receives something as rejection when it really isn’t. For example, “Why is that person not coming over here to talk to me?” When the person may not be trying to reject you, but just feel shy at the time of stepping out and meeting you (or anybody else for that matter). People who have spirits of rejection can have a tenancy to receive a perceived rejection because the purpose of a spirit of rejection is to make us feel rejected.
A person who feels like God is always angry at them usually has issues of rejection. Perceived rejection can also make a person feel as if God has rejected them. This is a very common scene that we encounter in the deliverance ministry.
A good example of rejection, which caused feelings of envy, jealousy, and even hate to surface in King Saul can be found in 1 Samuel: “And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed [literally meaning that he looked with jealousy upon] David from that day and forward. And it came to pass on the morrow [the next day], that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.” 1 Samuel 18:7-11
I was reading my Bible one day, when this passage really stood out to me. First, we see the women praising David for slaying his ten thousands, but Saul for slaying his thousands. This rejection made Saul angry with David, and jealous of him. The very next day, an evil spirit came upon Saul and caused him to become exceedingly angry, to the point of attempting to murder David! Now there’s some ugly fruit that all started with rejection. It wasn’t rejection that opened Saul up to the evil spirit, but rather his reaction to his rejection.
The same is true when a person becomes stubborn or rebellious, or any other ungodly reaction to rejection. The rejection isn’t the sin, but their reaction can be a serious sin. This can open the person up to unclean spirits, and lead them down the path of destruction. God’s Word puts stubbornness and rebellion, for example, in the same category as witchcraft and idol worship!
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23
The root of rejection
The root of rejection is actually incredibly simple: damage from rejection is the result of a misplaced identity. Whenever we base our identity on somebody or something other than what God’s Word has to say about us, we make ourselves vulnerable to the damage of rejection. Many of us will base our identity on what our parents, teachers, or friends think of us. This sets a lot of children up for Performance Orientation bondages later in life because their parents give them conditional love based on their grades or performance.
What or who defines who you are? Is it your job? Is it what your parents thought or think of you? Is it what your friends think of you? Is it how well you perform in the workplace? How much money you have? Is it how good of grades you get? Is it what you think of yourself? Is it how physically strong, fit, or tall you are? When you die, will those things continue to define who you are?
Rejection and rising above rejection is all about identity and what you base your identity upon. The key to overcoming rejection is to solve the identity problems.
Let’s say that you are basing your identity on what your mother and father think of you. Now the moment that any hint of disapproval comes from them concerning you, that is going to hurt because they are the source of your identity. Anytime we base our identity on what we think of ourselves, or what others think of us, we are virtually trusting that person with our identity. Not even ourselves are capable of truly determining who we are; only God is qualified for that job. That is why it is absolutely vital for us to understand the person that God has made in us, and who we are as new creations in Christ Jesus. We were never made to live apart from God or base our identity on things of this world.
When we base our identity upon what the Word of God has to say about us, we will become virtually rejection-proof. We can become immune from the wounds of rejection as long as we are not basing our identity on what that person thinks of us.
Some dynamics of rejection
The closer a person is to you, the deeper their rejection can wound you. Authority figures are also able to deeply wound you because you look up to them and rely upon them. Parents often pass rejection on to their children when they say things such as, “I’ll love you when you get good grades.” Conditional love causes feelings of rejection and bondages such as performance orientation and drivenness.
Whether you love or hate a person doesn’t immune anybody from rejection. You can literally want to kill somebody, but still, be affected by their rejection. The question is, are you looking to them for approval? Are you basing your identity upon what they think of you? Does their approval of you give your life meaning and purpose?
A person’s age also has a lot to do with their vulnerability to rejection. Children are especially vulnerable to the damage of rejection because they are still developing their identity and learning about who they are. A lot of damage is done by peers in school. Either your too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, you have brown eyes when you should have blue eyes… you name it, and kids will pick on it! Insecure children can be very cruel and damage other children through rejection. Why? Because their own identity is not based on the right things. They do not know who they really are, or who they are called to be, so they go around putting other kids down to make themselves feel better. If they knew who they were in Christ, it would be an entirely different story! They would seek to edify other kids and help them find their identity and calling as well.
Is it possible to receive rejection from a child or even grandchild? Yes! Nobody is immune, providing that they are basing their identity on what that other person thinks of them. You can be 100 years old, and be damaged by the rejection of a caretaker.
Get your identity from God’s Word!
As I mentioned earlier, it is vital that we base our identity, who we are, upon what God’s Word says about us. When we do, we become virtually immune from the devastating and hurtful effects of rejection. God promises never to leave or forsake us, so when our identity is based on what He says of us, we can be assured that we’re not going to face rejection coming from Him.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
So what exactly does God’s Word tell us about who we are in Christ?
• Because of God’s great love for us, we are adopted into His family [1 John 3:1], and made joint heirs with Christ [Romans 8:17]
• We are made to sit in heavenly places (of authority over all demons, sickness, etc.) with Christ [Ephesians 2:6]
• We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ [Ephesians 1:3]
• We are the righteousness of Christ through faith, thus being made right before God [Romans 3:22]
• We are entitled to a clean conscience before God because of the Blood and can have full assurance of faith when we go before Him [Hebrews 10:22]
• Our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west [Psalms 103:12], and God Himself has chosen not to remember our failures [Hebrews 8:12]
• We are loved with the same love that the Father has for Jesus Himself! [John 17:23]
I could go on and on because the Word of God is so rich and powerful in helping us define who we are in Christ. One of my favorite books to recommend when it comes to this subject is Victory over Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. His book on this subject is an incredible tool to change the way we see ourselves through the eyes of God’s Word.
There’s one verse in Psalms that really shines the light on how we can be freed from the devastating effects of rejection:
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”
Overcoming religious strongholds is necessary to overcome the effects of rejection. You’re not going to settle rejection issues fully until you get it down into your spirit that you are accepted, loved, and appreciated by God. Dealing with religious strongholds is vital to this process, as religion paints God as distant, cold, and impersonal. Bringing your relationship with God into proper perspective is a vital step in the process of overcoming the strongholds of rejection.
Tearing down the strongholds of rejection is as simple as merely receiving, with childlike faith, what God’s Word has to say about your identity, who you are as a new creature in Christ, who is called to life, purpose, and meaning in Christ.