What Does God's Word Say About 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.

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).