Another type of person who can emerge from the experience of rejection is the “user”. This is a person who is very good at “looking after Number One”. They have set their life direction to the compass of taking advantage of anyone and any situation to suit their own ends.
Rejection is not the only reason a person takes on this lifestyle, but I am linking it to this study of rejection because I have met people whose response to rejection is to become a user of others.
Dead on the Inside
A user is someone who has put aside natural affection and expectations of happy relationships with others. Instead of enjoying normal friendships and bonds of affection, they devalue such things in place of personal advantage.
Rather than warmth and affection, trust, respect, mutual cooperation and other positive social concepts, the user, prefers simple opportunism.
To be able to do this they have become “dead” on the inside. Things that they should be alive to, such as warm affection with family and friends, mean next to nothing to them.
Rejection sufferers can easily enter this lifestyle, since their own experience of rejection and pain has hardened or deadened them to expectations of loving friendships and positive relationships.
Bright and Bubbly
A “user” can present as a very friendly, bubbly and bright person to have around. They can become good at “selling” their apparent friendship to others. However, they do not enter into true relationships of trust and mutual respect, but simply into relationships of convenience.
Life is evaluated by a user in terms of “What’s in it for me?” They don’t know how to be selfless, sacrificial, caring or thoughtful toward others, except to win their favour and openness.
Most people have self-interest as a high value in their lives, avoiding what they don’t like and attracted to what they think will be good for them. Western culture, with its diminishing stock of Judeo-Christian values in the hearts and minds of the populace, is becoming increasingly self-serving.
You Owe Me
Part of the user value system, for a rejected person, can be the feeling that society owes them a debt. They have been robbed, cheated and denied the affection they long for, so they see that as justification for taking advantage of others.
Their morality is based on a “Me” perspective. If something is good for them, then it is a good thing to do. Using people is good for them, so it is morally acceptable. Being able to further justify their attitudes and actions by feeling that others “owe” them something makes their lifestyle all the more legitimate in their thinking.
My Mission is Me
One young mum who had this problem explained that she took up a user, “Me” focused lifestyle when she was very young. After her parents separated she became a pawn in the parents’ tensions with each other and she realised that neither her mum nor her dad was committed to loving her and looking after her. So she decided, “I will look after myself!”
That decision, practical and simple as it may seem, became a curse in her life. As an adult she made friends easily with her bright personality. But the friendships became strained as others realised that she was always taking advantage of people.
A ‘user’ sees that their mission in life is to look after their own interests. Everything else comes second to that.
Give and Take
Normal relationships involve plenty of give and take. But they also involve commitment and self-sacrifice. When we care about others we will let our own comfort and priorities be displaced in our efforts to bless those others.
But for the user, life becomes much more of a balance sheet. And they must come out in front all the time. Any imposition must have a good payout, or they won’t suffer it.
Relationships are reduced to cold, calculated “cost/benefit” analysis. They will choose friends based on people’s ability to help them fulfil their personal ambitions. Once someone has past their usefulness the friendship can be easily tossed aside.
The user does not like give and take, preferring “take and more take”!
The Bible warns us that we reap what we sow. If we are a giving person, we will receive much in return. If we are a user, we have no investment from which to gain a return.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows is what he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7
“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, will men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measure out it will be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38
Users set themselves up for an empty life. They are not sowing genuine friendship. They are not sowing love. They are not giving of themselves. So there will be no harvest of the very things their heart most craves. They will receive no affection in return for their investment of care and love into others.
Self as God
When a person sets their own “self” us as god in their life, they think they can invest their skills in making themself happy. But they limit their potential happiness to only that which they can give to themself.
Having self as “god” is a most miserable place. I have desperately needed the super-abundance, awesome love and grace of God. I would be most miserable if I had set my horizon to the scope of what I could give myself.
The user, having their own “self” as the principal idol in their life, ends up empty at every turn. They have no investment from which to reap a harvest, and the best they will ever know in life is what their miserable self can give to their miserable self. How pitiful!
The God Connection
Our only hope as humans is in God. God’s love and blessing far surpass everything your family, culture, friends and nation can give you. You can lose all of them and be richer than them all.
You need a powerful connection with God. The eternal, Almighty God, creator of the universe and all that it contains, is the most important ally you can ever know.
Stop being a user. Give in and fall at God’s feet. Humble yourself and repent. Let God be GOD in your life. Let Him heal and direct you. You will be so much richer in every way when you do.
What a strong and important (continued)subject !
May the Holy Spirit move in our hearts and minds to make us recognise where we fail. We are, as you suggested, so saturated with the teaching importance of self. Self esteem, etc. People having itching ears for that what suits them.
I love most of Watchman Nee’s and Jessie Penn-Lewis teaching: being crucified with Christ! A life-long outworking!
In Him, Evie.