Healing the Hurt of Rejection

Some of my favorite childhood memories are playing sand lot baseball at the neighborhood schoolyard. 

I don’t know how the word would get out, but soon you had a dozen kids at the playground, someone would bring baseballs and a bat. Others would bring cardboard to mark the bases. Our field had twelve- foot- high fences and a backstop around it.

I loved clinging to the fence and cheering to my teammates through it. I loved the smell of the limestone gravel and going home all dirty from sliding into the bases. Most of the time, the two oldest kids were chosen to be the captains.  Then they would pick players to square up the teams.

To decide who would be first to pick a team member, they would perform this bat throwing exercise.  One captain would throw the bat to the other.  Then they would each take a turn wrapping their hand around the bat and move upward until the last hand reached the top.  That captain was the winner and would get first choice of players.

I loved every minute of this.  I loved the strategy of choosing and never thought a thing about it until recently.  After a conversation with my childhood best friend, I found out that she hated it.  I was dumbfounded and asked her why. 

She said, “Sure you loved it.  You were athletic.  I, on the other hand, was not. I dreaded the picking of players because I was always the last one chosen. Sometimes they would argue about who had to take me.”

It was good memories for me, but for her, it was memories of “rejection.”

Have you been rejected at some time in your life? 

A rejection can be a life-changing event or sometimes the memories just make you cringe. Most of us have been rejected in some way and at some time in our lives.

My worst rejection happened when I became divorced.  I struggled with my self-worth daily. I was rejected by my most intimate friend, my husband.  Then one day, God comforted me by showing me that even Jesus who was perfect was rejected.  The Bible in John 1:11 ESV says, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” And again in Isaiah 53:3 ESV the verse begins “He was despised and rejected by men.”  Even his own brothers rejected Jesus as stated in John 7:5 ESV “For not even his brothers believed in him.”

Jesus was perfect in all ways.  He performed miracles which proved He was God.  He treated people with compassion, love and kindness and yet, He was still rejected. On the night Jesus was betrayed, Peter rejected Him three times. (John 18:15-27) The story of Jesus has the dark side of betrayal and rejection, but now, He understands how we feel.

During my divorce, I was feeling like my heart was bruised, rejected and betrayed.  I am grateful that I have a God who understands what I went through because Jesus experienced all of those emotions, too.

Mankind still rejects Jesus today! 

People still choose today to reject Jesus.   You can’t make them love Him. That’s true of a relationship with Jesus as well as in our own relationships.  As much as it hurts, you can’t make someone love you.

Love thrives on choices of your own free will

Love thrives on choices and the free will of giving yourself to another unselfishly. 

Rejection from others can lead you to reject yourself

I still struggle with rejection at times and that negative self–talk discourages me from being all I can be in Christ.  Maybe you can relate to the following:

  • I’m not good enough…
  • I’m not pretty enough…
  • I’m not smart enough…
  • I’m not fun enough…
  • I’m not charming enough…
  • I’m not spiritually gifted enough….

All of those are lies. Realize that being rejected has nothing to do with how good, smart, or beautiful you are. You are wonderful as stated in Psalm 139:13-14, “you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Related Post: Rejection, Grace & Truth

So you have been rejected, what should you do?

Acknowledge that it hurts to be rejected.  It is a loss, so grieve that loss.  Surround yourself with others that support you. With all circumstances in life we are to learn something from the experience and move on.  Don’t allow yourself to stereotype others or build walls and not allow others in.  Rejections just make us stronger. 

Become the strong and resilient person that God wants you to be. 

I know my friend’s example of rejection is simple and most of us have been through much worse rejections, but we can learn things from her experience.  My friend didn’t wallow in sadness all of her life over childhood baseball.  She didn’t decide that all sand lot baseball games were evil.  She didn’t even surmise that there was something wrong with her because she wasn’t accomplished at baseball.  She focused her attention on other things that she knew she was good at. She grew from the situation and moved on. 

God doesn’t want you to carry the hurt of rejection.  He desires us to have an abundant life (John 10:10) and to be whole wanting nothing (James 1:4). Give your hurt over to God who is able to heal.  I have experienced it and found the words in Psalm 34:18 ESV to be true: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Join the Conversation About Rejection

How do you heal the hurt of rejection? Is there a Bible verse you could share with us?

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