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I admit that rejection is not an issue I have struggled with personally. My attitude (which I'm not saying is a good one!) has always been, "If you don't like me, that's your problem."

However, through my years of working in ministry I have learned about rejection objectively--and, I must say, with surprise. At first I could not believe what people went through! But as I ministered to those suffering from rejection, God taught me about it, and I came to a special place of compassion and understanding.

Rejection can be described as the sense of being unwanted and unloved. I have explained it this way: You are always on the outside looking in. Other people get in; somehow you never do.

What is the opposite of rejection? Acceptance.

Here is the exchange: Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance. First John 4:19 says, "We love Him because He first loved us" (NKJV). How profoundly true! We cannot love God until His love awakens love in us.

This also is true of us in relation to human love. A person who has never been loved does not know how to love. Multitudes of people who suffer from rejection want to love but can't because love has never been awakened in them.

CAUSES FOR REJECTION

Rejection, I believe, is the most prevalent emotional wound in today's culture. There are a number of reasons for this. One is the breakdown of family relationships.

Every baby born into the world has one supreme need: to be loved. A baby needs to be cuddled and held. Mere abstract love cannot meet his needs; love has to be expressed actively.

I further believe--and many psychologists agree--that to a child, the love of a father is irreplaceable. I am not by any means belittling a mother's love. But there's a special security, for an infant, that's found in his father's arms.

When tiny babies are held by their fathers, they almost seem to be saying, "Anything can happen all around me, but I'm safe in these strong arms that hold me and love me."

Today, however, because family relationships have broken down, many babies do not experience this kind of loving acceptance from a father.

Sometimes the problem goes back to rejection before birth. Through the years I have talked with people who needed to be delivered from a spirit of rejection that came on them in their mothers' wombs.

Take, for example, a mother of four who's struggling to make ends meet. She discovers she is pregnant again and inwardly resents the upcoming addition to the family. She may think (or even say), "I wish I weren't pregnant!"

She doesn't have to say anything aloud because the little person inside--and bear in mind, it is a person--knows he is not welcome. That baby is then born with a spirit of rejection.

Divorce is another major cause of rejection. About 50 percent of today's marriages fail, and both parties usually feel the wounds.

Imagine what it is like for men and women who have devoted themselves to building a successful, godly marriage only to discover their spouses are unfaithful. There is no way for me to fully understand the rejection they must feel. How wonderful that God can--and does!

Other causes of rejection include even physical appearance. Most young women today feel they have to be slim to be popular.

A girl may be a little plumper or quieter than her schoolmates or wear the "wrong" clothes and feel rejected. A boy may be a little shorter or slower or not very good at sports. It doesn't take much to make a person feel rejected.

We can easily identify with the problem of rejection. Now let's look at the solution provided by Jesus, who on the cross endured total rejection.

JESUS' REJECTION ON THE CROSS

Those who experience rejection need to realize that Jesus Himself experienced it, too. Isaiah 53:3 prophesied that Jesus would be despised and rejected by men. John 1:11 says, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." Psalm 69:8 says Jesus would become a stranger to His brothers and an alien to His mother's children.

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