How to Handle Rejection

by: Steve Cox

Proverbs 18:14, “The Spirit of man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”

Proverbs 18:20-21, “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Genesis 37:1-5, “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.”

Rejection: 1. To refuse to accept, recognize, believe, 2. To refuse to grant; deny as a petition, 3. To cast away as worthless; discard.

This subject is one that everyone struggles with. No one wants to be rejected. When someone rejects you, they are saying that you are not important to them right now. They refuse to accept you for who you are. When someone rejects Christ, they are saying that Christ is not important to them, or they don’t need Him right now. In Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Christ is still being rejected every day. When a man slams the door in your face, although it does not feel good, he is not slamming the door on you, but on Christ. Christ knew how rejection felt when the crowd yelled, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Rejection is nothing new to our Saviour, but to us as Christians, we struggle with it.

Everyone wants to feel accepted, not rejected. When a young person is rejected from a certain group of kids, it hurts very deeply. Rejection can lead to a wounded spirit. Rejection can cut straight to the bone; so deep that no one seems to be able to heal our hurts.

There are three groups of people from whom we can experience rejection:

  1. Friends: Your friends are what make you or break you in your youth. I would be very careful trying to fit in with a certain crowd. The right crowd of friends won’t reject you, but will help you to be a better Christian. If a certain group rejects you, it is probably not the right group to be with anyway. Get your Bible out and study the lives of Daniel, Joseph, David, Joshua and our Saviour. These men did not try to fit in with any certain group, yet still faced rejection. The apostle Paul experienced this when he said, “Demas hath forsaken me, loving this present world….”
  2. Foes: This group of people is the one group you can expect rejection from. Handling rejection from this group is still tough. You have to remember that the reason you are being rejected has to do with what you believe and what you stand for. You will have some enemies along the way because of the stand you take for Christ. 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
  3. Westside Baptist ChurchFamily: This group of people may hurt you the most when it comes to rejection. I have personally dealt with many teens who have faced their family turning their back on them. Living for God, going to church faithfully, reading your Bible, having a prayer life, practicing biblical separation and other things can cause your family to reject you. In Genesis 37, we see a young man by the name of Joseph who was hated and rejected by his brethren, sold into slavery, falsely accused, forgotten, etc… By Genesis 50:20 he says, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

As we have seen, rejection can come from all kinds of people, but we don’t have to let it destroy our spirit. Here are some ways to overcome and handle rejection:

  1. Get in God’s Word: This is the greatest source of strength to heal a wounded spirit. Have a schedules time each day to read your Bible. Set some goals of how much Bible you can read in a week or in a month’s time. Try to read the Bible through in one year.
  2. Memorize Scripture: This will get the Word of God embedded in your heart. You will need this when going through tough times. I can’t tell you how many times I have needed a certain Bible verse, and that very verse pops into my mind. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart….”
  3. Have a faithful prayer life: Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me and I will answer thee…” God will always hear your prayer and will heal your wounded spirit.
  4. Get to the man of God: During this time of rejection, seek godly counsel from your pastor or youth pastor. You will need this in your life to fill that void. Psalms 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
  5. Try to avoid dating relationships in your early teen years: As a youth pastor, I don’t promote boyfriend – girlfriend relationships among our teens. I don’t think it is wise to get tangled up in a premature relationship. I have discovered that most of these relationships end in hurt feelings and rejection. Teenagers are not ready to tackle a dating relationship at fourteen, fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age. I know this doesn’t set very well with a lot of parents, but they want the pastor or youth pastor to piece broken hearts together after the break ups and the rejection comes. Teens get emotionally wrapped into these relationships and when they don’t work out, they go into a state of depression. As silly as it sounds, it is a very true and harsh reality. Parents, do your teenager a favor and let them be a teenager. They will still experience some rejection, but when they are old enough to start dating, they may be mature enough to handle the rejection part as well. For example, I asked my wife out two times, and both times she rejected me. It was a tough thing to go through, but with me being a senior in college, I was able to handle the rejection. I later asked her out again and she accepted and we have been married for several years with two children. Dating relationships are a great thing if you handle them correctly and those involved are mature enough to be in a serious relationship.

Every single person is going to have to face rejection sometime in their life. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions. Following the simple points above will help you when that time comes. Ultimately, how you handle rejection will determine your success in life.

Steve Cox
Youth Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church
Mocksville, NC

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