Beyond the Pain of Rejection
Carl H. Stevens Jr.
Table of Contents
- The Problem Of Sorrow And Grief
- The Damage Of Rejection
- Jesus Knows Our Deepest Pain
I read a story about a situation that happened in a town in Louisiana. A young married couple on a romantic outing on Valentine’s Day, drove through a wooded area to spend some time alone. As they drove up this little bit of a mountain, they caught a glimpse of something hanging from a tree.
As they drew closer, they got out of the car and found the body of young man who had hung himself. Stuffed in his pocket was a note that read, “I have no friends. My family doesn’t even recognize that I exist. My life is worthless, useless. I have no reason to live. It has no meaning. For this reason I take my life, because it is better to take it than to live this way.”
This tragedy happened as the result of rejection.
We bear so much pain throughout our lives. We bear many physical ailments — chest pains, back pains, toothaches, headaches. In our emotions, we bear many wounds and scars. Yet, perhaps nothing penetrates as deeply as the pain of rejection. My prayer is that this booklet will reveal to each heart the reality that you are not alone. Jesus is acquainted with your pain and grief, and He desires to see you through it all.
The Problem of Sorrow and Grief
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5).
As we open up this Book — the Bible — it is amazing to think that we are gaining access to the single most powerful tool in the universe. The greatest life-changing tool God has given is His precious Word along with the power of His Holy Spirit to communicate it. As you read these verses, consider this: When you hear the Word of God and simply receive it through childlike faith, there is not a thing in your life that cannot change — nothing. Any area of weakness can be changed instantly, because God does things differently than we do.
In verse 3, we see some of the characteristics of rejection.
First, speaking of our Lord, the Bible says, “He is despised….” People do not take rejection easily. Rejection is often perceived as a representation and a revelation of loathing. When you are rejected, the hurt goes to the very root of who you are. Whether it is communicated in a letter, a phone call, a confrontation, or a reaction to self, rejection hurts so badly.
Isolation and Insulation
There are two ways of rejection. One is a reaction of isolation, where people isolate you by putting you on the shelf, so to speak. Next is the rejection that comes because of insulation where people insulate themselves from others in order to protect themselves from getting hurt. Unfortunately, this also keeps out those who might bring comfort.
Isaiah described Jesus Christ as being despised, “a man of sorrows.”
When you are feeling rejected, there is nothing but sorrow. It is like a cloud that hangs over you — nothing but sorrow no matter what you do. People look for alternatives, be it alcohol or d rugs, looking for anything as a substitute for the sorrow that they feel in their hearts because they are not experiencing what they were created to be, which is to be an object of God’s love.
A man of sorrows, the Bible says that Jesus was “acquainted with grief.” This speaks of a heart that is heavy with grief, unbearable grief — grief that just will not leave.
The Bible goes on to say that we hid our faces from Him. He was isolated. People did not want anything to do with Him.
Then, in the same verse, the Holy Spirit reiterates that He was despised. The word jumped out. The picture here from the original language is to regard someone or something with contempt, as worthless, to be flicked off as a bothersome creature like a gnat. When you are not loved, you are despised.
Finally, this passage declares, “We esteemed him not.” To disrespect somebody is to reject them, because God created us as so valuable and so precious in His sight. He created us to have self-worth, and He wants us to live understanding our value and self-worth because that is how He loves us. To live in any other attitude is not to reveal the love of the Lord.
The Damage of Rejection
I had a couple of conversations this week that were so relevant to this subject. I spoke with one individual who told me that he feels so rejected in his home. He says it hurts so much to be rejected by his spouse. He has done everything to try to be accepted, but all he gets is rejection, and he cannot get it off his mind. He goes to work and he remembers the rejection, because it hurts so deeply. He tries to work. He tries to watch a ballgame. Still, no matter what he is doing, he feels the pain, the sorrow, and the grief of rejection.
In Song of Solomon 1:6, we have the story of the Shulamite woman and the shepherd king. The Shulamite woman, who represents every individual who has ever lived on the face of this earth, says, in verse 6, that her skin was darkened by the sun — and the sun speaks of the world in this case.
If we let it, the world will harden and damage our skin, taking away the glory of the Lord, which we were created for. It hides us from the light of God’s glory, which He meant for us to reveal, and it puts us in a place where we project the appearance of the world, which is something other than the Lord.
This passage in Song of Solomon goes on to say that she had stepbrothers who did not accept her. They forced her to do their work in the vineyard. She was so busy trying to labor to be accepted by others. She worked so hard to be accepted in the natural, and all she got was rejection.
The stepbrothers represent two things: the law and the moral conscience. The law, which none of us can ever live up to, is a school teacher for the old sin nature. The law reveals our imperfection, because of sin, in the face of God’s holiness. And because of who we are in Adam (Romans 3:23), born in iniquity, we will never meet up to the expectations of Jesus Christ.
The second stepbrother is the moral conscience. We can only be accepted by our moral conscience if we are perfect. The first time we violate our moral conscience, which we all have done in one way or another, whether it is a lie or whether it is something small or great, we get rejected.
The Shulamite woman was rejected by her step brothers — the law and the moral conscience. Later, when she went looking for her Beloved, she was rejected by the daughters of Jerusalem — those around her who called her their friend. They did not accept her. They probably teased her and laughed at the way that she was doing all the work for everybody else but was still never fully accepted. She was so busy that she neglected her own vineyard.
Song of Solomon 8:8 explains that her brothers in the world — the law and the moral conscience — said that she had no breasts, speaking of value in this passage. In their minds, the Shulamite had no value. In their eyes, her own stepbrothers said that their sister, their precious sister, the creation of God, had no value: that she was meaningless, useless — despicable.
Approached by the Shepherd
All was not lost for this woman, however. The shepherd approached her in the field. She did not go near him. In her own mind, she could not earn the respect of anyone. According to the world, she was unacceptable, and yet here he came, saying things to her that nobody had ever said.
He said, “Thou art fair, my love. You are so beautiful. Your cheeks are like jewels, they are so precious. Your neck is like gold. I love every inch of you” — and that is what love is. Love loves people just as they are, no matter what their faults. Suddenly she had self-worth that she never had before, because the shepherd came to her and revealed so much love to her.
Eventually, all those around her witnessed the love. Then, something even greater happened. They found out that the shepherd was not just a shepherd at all, but he was a king. He was a king! She was not accepted just by some person who felt sorry for her. She was accepted by the king.
Jesus Knows Our Deepest Pain
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).
The Word of God says that Jesus Christ, our Shepherd and King, came unto his own, and his very own people did not receive Him. He was rejected. According to Matthew 26:56, His very own disciples forsook Him. Those whom He had invested in, those whom He had spent time with, those whom He had loved, His disciples rejected the Lord.
Mark 15:34 says that because of His identification with sin, God the Father had to forsake His Son while He hung on the Cross for us. Jesus cried out, “My God, My God.” In the heart of His humanity, He had to be thinking, “Not My Father! Not Him, the One who loved Me. Anybody but Him!” Jesus Christ was rejected by the Father because our sins were upon Him.
He experienced utmost rejection for two reasons. First, by it He came to know our deepest hurt. He knows our deepest sorrow. It is not distant to Him. He felt the pain that we have felt. Because of what He did in His humanity, Christ identifies with us. You see, unless you can identify with somebody, you can never fully understand what they have gone through. But thank God, He came as a human being, and He did that for us — and He identifies.
Second (and here is the positive aspect), He came and experienced the utmost in rejection so that we would never have to experience it again. That is why He came. That is why He went through all that He did.
The Glory of God’s Grace
Jesus Christ came so that we could be fully accepted forever, in love, just as we are. Ephesians 1:6 says that it is “to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
If there were ever a testimony that jumps out for Christian believers, it is that we are accepted by Jesus Christ. This is the glory of His grace. His grace is a revelation and a shining trophy, attesting that we have been accepted. And no matter who you are, no matter what you have done, you have been made accepted in the Beloved.
So, if you feel rejected, go to the Lord. Go to the One who was rejected for you. Go to Him and receive His love. Live in that love and let it be manifested through your life.
If it is a situation with a friend, do not live in rejection. To live in rejection is to live in a lie of the devil. That is neither a trait nor a treasure of a child of the King.
No matter what the situation is, the most precious thing that we can say as a royal truth to any Christian believer is this: No matter what the devil says, when you look in that mirror, reckon on the fact that you are fully accepted and loved by Jesus Christ. You are accepted in the Beloved, by the Beloved, and for the Beloved.
We are going to live with the Beloved. Just live in the love of God and let that permeate our hearts. That becomes our identity, and not the tragic pain of rejection.
Loved to See Our Worth
Back to Song of Solomon, the king came back for the Shulamite woman as he promised and took her with him. They went into the chamber and he loved her just as much as he could love her. He kissed her. He hugged her. He held her.
Now, there was a romance!
In the same way, Jesus Christ just wants to love us today. He wants to love us and reveal all of the self-worth and value that He sees in us.
He wants us to live, understanding that each one of us was worth the price that He paid on Calvary. All of the sorrow, all of the suffering He endured and that we go through for His name’s sake — none of it can compare to the glory that awaits us in heaven. What’s more, we can have a taste of it now as we hold fast to the promises in His Word.
Jesus came to earth so that He could seek and save the lost. In His suffering, He was able to identify with every hurt and every pain that any person on the face of this earth will ever go through.
With this booklet, we have given you truth that could change your life. No matter where you are, do not think that one thing has happened to you that the Lord has not seen. He is not ignorant of the hurt you may be experiencing. He is not ignorant of one single pain. He loves you, and He is just waiting for you to live in Him — in the love that accepts you as you are and calls you, just as you are, by name.
Jesus Christ says He wants you to know this: “You are accepted. I died for you. I cannot do anything else. I paid the price of sin, which is the only thing that keeps you from me, so that you could live with Me forever.”
Father, we thank You today that if there is a truth, a reality that we can cling to, this is it. This truth prods us to go on and give this message to others. It encourages us to let the whole world know how much God loves us when there is hatred everywhere. We love You, Father. We love You, Jesus. Amen.