The fourth response to rejection which I identify in victims is their choice to cut off the source of their hurt. This is an extension of the previous lesson, where rejected people distance themselves from certain people or type of people who have contributed to their pain. This lesson looks at the broader situation where a rejected person will create distance from the process or situation where they previously suffered.
Fight or Flight
If a wild animal hurt you it is natural for you to flee. You must either fight or take flight. Running away from trouble is a logical protective process.
In the same way, people who suffer rejection, at the hands of other people, either have to fight those people or take flight. It is not easy to fight those you want to love you. And it is not possible to fight such things as school systems, family networks or the like.
So the picture I created to represent cutting off the source of hurt shows a young rejected person hurrying away from a collection of things: school, piano, sport and their aunt Sally. I will explain why I chose those items during this lesson.
I’ll Never Do That Again
As a young lad in the school yard I watched a group of boys playing cricket. Unexpectedly one of the boys asked me if I wanted to bowl the ball. I had never played cricket before and may never have seen the game before. My father thought it to be a silly game and never encouraged an interest in sport.
I took the ball and threw it toward the boy holding the bat, as I had just seen others doing.
Immediately one of the other players derided me with his scorning remark, “That’s not a bowl, it’s a chuck!” To translate that, he was saying that I had failed to propel the ball by the approved, stiff-arm, over the shoulder means, known as ‘bowling’ the ball, but had simply propelled it as a child might throw a stone, for which term the colloquial word ‘chuck’ was amply descriptive.
Realising that I had done the wrong thing and had earned unexpected and unwanted scorn from boys I did not even know, I decided that I had insufficient interest in the sport to do anything but walk away. The boys were intent on their game and someone else was found to bowl the ball in the correct cricket manner. Unnoticed, I stepped away and decided, “I’ll never do that again”.
My childish choice was motivated by a sense of offence and rejection, at the hands of those who deemed themselves qualified to scorn others. My tender, boyish spirit had been offended. I was unprepared for being placed in a position of unwanted scorn. Clearly there was much that I needed to learn to be able to engage in the process of playing cricket without risking further unwanted rebuke, and my level of fascination with the game did not draw me to navigating that level of risk.
Simply put, I was hurt by an attempt to play cricket and so I walked away from the game. I never again took interest in the sport, until my own sons induced me to join in their back-yard game. And guess which part of the process I found the most daunting. Bowling the ball is the one thing which I was most sensitive about.
That is metaphoric of the whole process of cutting off the source of our hurt. When we are offended by some process or other we instinctively choose to avoid it and the unwanted negatives that flow to us from it.
I Hate School
Consider the situation of a child who is embarrassed by a school teacher. Maybe they are asked to answer a question or read out loud, and their wrong answer or some other issue causes the teacher or students to react, snicker, rebuke or otherwise respond in an unwanted manner.
If a child feels offended by their experience at school, either in the classroom or the playground, they can decide that they will avoid it. They may announce to their parents that, “I hate school!” They may tell their mum that they want to stay home. They may cry when taken to school and plead with their parents that they want to stay home. Such reactions are common.
Parents usually assume that they have no alternative but to force their child to go. They also believe that the child dealing with their reluctance is a process of maturity. So, in the main, children who are feeling offended and hurt by school are forced to go back again and again and face their hurt and fears.
Note that many children who skip school, or who miss certain classes, may well be carrying the pain of rejection and wishing to avoid the source of some of that pain.
The Piano and Aunty Sally
Consider the situation where a child who is learning to play the piano is asked to play a piece of music for Aunt Sally, who is visiting. The child, insecure about their talents and unfamiliar with playing for an audience, displays reluctance. The mother, however, wants to show off her child’s progress so she forces little Johnny to play his piece.
Johnny is already off-side, feeling vulnerable and afraid. As he plays his piece he makes a few mistakes and Aunty Sally seems to smile, snicker, or respond in a way that feels like an offence to the boy. He springs from the piano stool and runs out of the room. As he goes he says to himself, “I’ll never let my self get into such a situation again!”
From then on, Johnny loses all heart for playing the piano. It is a source of hurt for him. If he is forced to play he does so as if under sufferance. If he can get out of it, he will. And every time Aunty Sally comes to visit he runs and hides, goes on an errand, visits a friend, or otherwise gets out of the way.
He might even hold deep resentment toward his mum, for forcing him into a situation where he could suffer pain.
In all of that he is cutting off the source of hurt.
Pruning Your Life
Each time someone cuts something off, because it is a source of hurt they wish to avoid, they end up pruning their life. Some people, therefore, have greatly limited their whole life experience.
Some people avoid any situation where they will be asked to speak in public. Others avoid situations where they will be given responsibility. Others cut off any idea of performing in public. Others avoid situations where they must use maths, sing out loud, have the spotlight (even for just a moment or two), display physical strength, compete with anyone, do an exam, and so on.
Some people have remained single after being jilted. Some have dropped out of sport, academics, business, and the like, after a public humiliation. Some people avoid church, because they were made to feel foolish or unwanted there.
What have you pruned out of your life? Imagine how wonderful life could be if you could happily and freely bring back into your experience all those things which you have pruned out of your life.
An Open Door
Your healing from rejection is an open door to new horizons, new opportunities, new experiences, new scope, and the recovery of many things you thought you could never possess in this life.
I encourage you to find the freedom which God has for you, through His love, Christ’s sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s anointing in your life.
Rise and be healed, in the name of Jesus!