The world is full of various perspectives and depending on how one filters “truth” will depend on their perspective of reality. Dictionary.com defines filter as a variety of devices used for removing impurities.
The Bible is a Filter
As a follower of Jesus Christ our filter should be the word of God; unfortunately, many Christians do not read the Bible. Therefore, their filter is often the opinions of others and the world. This is a very dangerous way to interpret the truth. We are not of the world, just as Jesus was not of this world (John 17:16). The truth, which is the word of God, whether an individual believes it or not, will set us free. 32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." ... 36 "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. - John 8:32, 36 NKJV. To “know” means to perceive or understand. The term “shall make” means to deliver, to make free. It is an action word that suggests that the truth will actively do something if we would “know” it. These scriptures also assure us that it is Jesus who “makes free.”
Just over a year ago, my husband and I underwent a considerable amount of distress and betrayal in several of our relationships. To make this matter worse, all of these relationships were ministry based as well as friendships. It didn’t take us long to realize there was a testing in this situation that required us to be quiet and allow the Lord to vindicate and defend us if He so chose. We also had to keep pressing on in ministry when we were profoundly broken, weary, and empty. When others hurt us, our first reaction is to defend ourselves and our reputation, yet we read in the book of Philippians that our minds should be as Christ Jesus who made Himself of no reputation. Thus, we should do the same.
During this time, I turned to a woman who I love as a spiritual mother. She told me to “pass the test for all of heaven is watching.” When I heard these words, I was strengthened within my core, knowing that we were going to be promoted, if we stood firm and passed the test. She also assured us that we were not to quit the ministry or even take a break from it. Under these circumstances, I would have thought it best to set ministry aside and seek to heal, however, we heeded our friends' advice and kept pressing.
For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety. Pro 24:6
Our friend offered us wise counsel based on the word of God and her own testimony. She had been a Bible teacher and a pastor's wife for over 30 years, sadly that marriage ended in her husband leaving her. She understood betrayal and rejection on a very deep and intimate level, so did Jesus. When speaking about the coming Messiah, the Prophet Isaiah said, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Is 53:3a)
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Rev 12:11 When we go through trials, testing, and tribulations it is imperative that we continue to hold firm to our testimony which is based on the gospel. Testimony means to give evidence, witness, or report. We are to continually be a witness to the goodness of God, the salvation and deliverance of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to see us through.
Countless troubles come our way as humans, and Jesus warned us it would be so. We are never told in the Scriptures that our lives as believers would be easy. We are told that if they hated Jesus, they would hate us as well. When people have a firm opinion of another there is nothing that can be done about it to change their mind; only God can break those hardened hearts down.
Rejection, Satan's Tool
Rejection is the devil's greatest tool to hurt us with. He uses those closest to us to do so. Mike and I have lost too many relationships to count. We understand what it means to know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings; our lives have been layered with years of sufferings. We also know Him and the power of His resurrection based on our lives being reconciled to Him and resurrected with Him. This knowledge of Jesus Christ is what takes us through the trials of rejection. The pain is still there at times, the disappointment in people rages at other times, but in the long run, our faith and knowledge of the Son of God is how we push through.
Dictionary.com defines the word reject as refusing to have, to take or to recognize; refusing to accept someone. Another definition is to cast out; vomit. These are harsh words to define the treatment of another person. Other words for rejection are; not to notice, set aside, disregard, disapprove, and repudiate. These actions produce painful emotions that are not easily overcome.
Whether a person has real rejection or only perceives a situation to be rejection is not important because if a person considers another to have rejected them, it is their truth and they still need healing as if it really happened. What one person believes is rejection another may not.
Symptoms of Rejection
Rejection can be inward (self), or outward towards others. Notably, there are three ways in which people typically react to rejection. The rejection tree by Doris Wagner defines these in detail, but I will give a brief description based on her writings.
The individual who filters rejection through aggressiveness tend to reject another before they are rejected; they filter rejection outwardly towards another. They often appear undesirable to others on purpose, sabotaging if you will, every relationship to protect themselves from rejection. These people tend to be rebellious, refuse to be comforted, harsh, skeptical, aggressive in the treatment of others, argumentative, and defiant.
The individual filtering rejection inwardly tends to agree with those who hurt them and essentially say “they are right, I’m not worth anything.” This person is full of fear, self-condemning accusations, may punish themselves in various ways. This person tends to be negative, insecure, may feel inferior to others as well as struggle in communicating their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs to others.
This individual also filters rejection inwardly and may desire to prove their worthiness. This rejection is protected by pride. This person may strive for perfection, be highly competitive and performance driven. These people are self-protective, selfish, self-righteous, arrogant, and judgmental. This person will manipulate and control others and their surroundings in an attempt to fulfill their need to be accepted.
Rejection is rampant in this world from a parent rejecting a child’s gender at birth, to friends gossiping and slandering, to spouses committing adultery. We live in a society where everyone insists on having their voices heard, even if doing so hurts another. There are organizations and societies formed specifically to create chaos, rejection, and fear towards those who dare to disagree with them. The answer to all of this and any other problems we may face in society is humility.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 1:6-7. This word care is translated from the Greek word merimna; it denotes distractions, anxieties, burdens, and worries. When we find ourselves worrying about our reputation or worrying about what others think of us and whether they like us or will receive us, we become divided and distracted from the purpose of Jesus Christ.
That latter statement takes us back to one of the reasons why Satan uses rejection towards us. It’s a deterrent, a distraction from our God given purpose. We are created to bring God glory in all we do and we won’t do, that if we act out of pain or our own accord. We must seek first the kingdom of God; it is there that we find our peace and gain rest.
If you are suffering from unresolved rejection and a spirit of rejection is hindering your ability to move forward in new relationships, trust, and forgiveness, then I encourage you to find someone you can process your pain with. Rejection roots can go so deep that one might not be able to recognize it as rejection because “false comforters” establish themselves over the pain.
Heavenly Abba, Father, today I cry out to You for healing my heart. I have discovered that I am covered in the rubble of rejection and am no longer functioning as a healthy person any longer. I believe You can heal me and desire me to be healed so that my life can bring You glory. I confess that at times I have been angry and unforgiving towards the people that have hurt me and on other occasions, I have agreed with the adversary concerning my worth. Touch my soul Jesus, heal me from the inside out and help me forgive those who have wronged me, just as You have forgiven me. I ask for Your mercy today to endure through the testing of my character, that I might overcome every trial through the blood of You, Jesus and through the word of my testimony. Help me seek You in the night hours of pain for I know that is where I will receive the healing peace of Your hand. I declare freedom over every situation of rejection in my life today and command every spirit of rejection that is enforcing pain in my life or my families to leave me now in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen