I know rejection. It was a constant reality for me for many years from childhood.
When I hit my preteen years, I went through what I call an ugly duckling phase. My hair, though blonde, also includes my Afro-Caribbean curls that often seemed as if they were being paid to stay frizzy in the hot, humid, tropical air. I'm fair-skinned, so being out in the sun all day made me turn red. My German-Irish long and slim body structure gave me the appearance of a stick figure. And my teeth ... oh, my teeth were deformed.
As I grew and changed into this ugly duckling, my peers at school soon caught on, and I began to go through a season of being bullied. A few kids pushed me around physically and emotionally. They called me names that included la garza, meaning "the heron," because of my skinny legs; el comején, what they said was a termite nest, similar to an Afro; la coneja, meaning "the rabbit," because of my protuberant teeth; and la jirafa, or "the giraffe," because of my very long neck. One time a kid at school ran up to me and called me just plain ugly to my face, then ran away laughing with his bully accomplices.
During that time, I learned what rejection felt like, how it hurt and how to use defense mechanisms to cope with it. It's not an easy companion to live with since it continually nags and harasses your every thought with whispers of not belonging, being disliked and being unaccepted.
Yet all those years I did not have a clue about how to heal from the rejection I encountered. I didn't even think it was possible to mend the chasm in me due to rejection. I considered myself permanently labeled "rejected and unwanted."
After I met God—truly met Him in a miraculous encounter with redemption—much later in my restoration journey, I realized rejection was a big issue in my life and an area where I needed to heal. I had to go from reject to reset and start fresh, with a clean slate, accepting God's truth in my life.
The Roots of Rejection
My pastor, Robert Morris of Gateway Church, said in a sermon something about rejection that shook me: "When we feel rejection, we feel as if there [is] something wrong with us. Here's why. It's because there is something wrong with us; it's called a sin nature."
Faced with this spiritual fact, I finally understood why so many people suffer from rejection issues. It's because we are, in fact, born rejected and separated from God because of the sin nature with which we are born. No wonder we long for acceptance. That need for acceptance really comes from our spirits' yearning to get past the barrier of sin into the acceptance of a Holy God and Father.
Scripture is specific about our sin being the cause of our rejection and separation from God. In Hosea 4:6 God affirms, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of My law, where I reveal My will]. Because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children" (AMP).
God's rejection comes as a direct effect of humanity's rejection of God, His Word, and His will. Even Jesus Himself experienced rejection and separation from God due to bearing all our sins on the cross (Matt. 27:46). The only cure for the wounds of rejection is to gain God's acceptance.
The good news is God wants to accept us. He wants to restore our separation from Him. That is why He sent His Son to give His life on the cross for us. Christ became sin and took on rejection so we could be accepted. Hallelujah! When we receive God by accepting the blood of Jesus Christ—the only way to the Father (John 14:6)—God automatically accepts us.
Surrendering Your Rejection
The vast majority of people who struggle with feelings of rejection develop a strong sense of pride. Rejection fortifies pride, which caused man's fall into sin and created the separation from God originally. However, we are saved and empowered by grace, our ever-so-undeserved favor. We cannot win grace; it's free to those who humbly accept the Lord.
If we want to truly be set free from the strongholds of rejection, we must lay down our pride at the cross. When we humble ourselves and confess that we need God and amount to nothing without Him (John 15:5), we can be truly set free from the burdens of rejection. God knows everything we've done, including everything we've forgotten we've done, as well as everything that has been done to us. Still He loves us. He loves us so much that He died for us. He will redeem and heal everything you lay down at the cross—including your life. Surrender is the key.
Christine D'Clario is a New York-born singer and songwriter of a Hispanic mother and an American father. As a child she moved to Puerto Rico, where she studied music at the Inter American University. She holds a bachelor's degree from Full Sail University in Florida. D'Clario is a Grammy and Dove Award nominee. She's part of the worship team at Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Carlos Cabán. This passage is an excerpt from her book Prodigal Heart (Charisma House, 2017).
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