What we have seen in recent lessons is that people who suffer rejection can develop in various ways into different and even contrasting personality types. There is no one stereotype of a “Reject”. Rejected people are all unique individuals and they will respond differently, based on personality, things that influence them, their ambitions and the manner and degree to which their rejection has impacted them.
A group of highly rejected people can contain quite diverse personalities and lifestyle characteristics. There will be leaders, followers, loners, negotiators, carers, retaliators, aggressors, crumplers, jokers, performers, high achievers, and everything else.
So, from a ministry point of view, I always have in mind that any person I meet, no matter what their appearance of success or wholeness, may be carrying some rejection baggage which needs to be cleared away. I don’t go looking for rejection, but I recognise that it can be present in unexpected places.
Pity Please Punch
Three of the main characters I tend to notice the most are those who give in to the Pity party, those who seek to Please others (such as the extrovert performer), and those who give in to aggression (that’s where the word “punch” fits in).
The crumpled ‘hopeless case’ type person may well be a rejection sufferer. But so too might be the ‘life of the party’ person who is always seeking to amuse and impress others. And so too might be the hardened aggressor who stands up to others and does his own thing.
We have also seen that rejection addicts and users are not uncommon types of people to emerge from a rejection background.
Many years ago I was speaking at a Christian meeting in Kings Cross, back when it was the ‘bad’ part of Sydney. Drugs, prostitution and all manner of vices could be readily accessed in Kings Cross at the time.
After the meeting, my host called me to the shop window and pointed out two youths walking up the street. They were kitted out in the most extreme punk rocker garb of the day. Everything about them shouted that they were outsiders to normal society.
My host, converted from the ugly side of life, asked me what I thought those kids were doing dressed like that. I had no answer. I had never thought it necessary to play the part of a misfit.
He advised me, from his own personal journey, that people who dress and act as those boys did were addicted to the pain of rejection. He claimed that they actually wanted people to scowl at them, be afraid of them, and reject them from normal society. These, then, were rejection addicts, in an extreme version.
No Good in Rejection
I know that some people are able to rise above their circumstances and use their challenges as stepping stones for personal success. This is true of those who have been rejected. Their experience of rejection motivates them to achieve, to prove themselves, to outperform others, and so on.
I think of a highly successful businessman who seems to run on high-octane (so to speak), since he is a high achiever in everything he does. He has risen above the pain of his past and the tragic loss of his parents when he was young.
So, some people might tend to think of hardship and pain as possibly a good thing in places.
However, rejection is an evil experience. It brings pain and harm. It is not good, even if people are able to rise above it in some way.
Do Not Use Rejection
I have seen parents, teachers and even peers, use rejection as a tool for manipulation or to motivate people. “You don’t want people to think you are STUPID, do you?” “If you don’t lift your grades then you are not one of us!” “We won’t be your friend any more, unless you do what we tell you.”
Humiliation was a tool some teachers resorted to in years gone by, sitting a child in a corner with a dunce hat on their head. The hope may have been that the child would be motivated by the experience to work harder, so as never to suffer that again.
But, even if you appear to create a positive outcome, rejection is toxic and is not a tool to use. Toying with people’s being, by using rejection, can bring untold damage.
Win and Lose
While rejection may appear to produce a desired result, it leaves deep scars which will not go away. Money, fame and success do not remove the pain of rejection.
The businessman I referred to earlier, who is a high achiever and highly successful man, is locked up on the inside. He is unable to relate to people with ease or with self-confidence. He is highly committed to performance and achievement, rather than relationship. He only understands “doing”, not “being”.
Those who could have helped him work through his pain and loss did not do so. He ended up relying on his personal abilities and living his life to compensate for what he lost. But he cannot have the warmth and depth of relationship that his heart was made for and which he is seeking at a deeper level.
Nothing Like Freedom
There is nothing like freedom. The Bible talks about the “glorious liberty of the children of God” and being “free indeed”. We are told to stand firm in the liberty which Christ has liberated us into.
“Creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8:21
“If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you will be free indeed (truly free).” John 8:36
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1
Do not become attached to your rejection. Do not think of it as a gift or a blessing in your life. Do not use rejection on others. Do not live with your rejection any longer.
Be healed, by receiving the Love that comes from God. I will explain how God’s love impacts on rejection in the coming lessons.