What is rejection? Rejection is telling someone by your words and actions that they are not important. Rejection is telling someone by your words and actions that what you want is more important than your relationship with them. Rejection is telling someone by your words and actions that they are no longer a part of your agenda…THAT THEY NO LONGER MATTER TO YOU. Rejection is telling someone by your words and actions that you really don’t care what kind of hurt you are causing them, because you no longer care about them.
What do I know about rejection? In a word…a LOT. Being rejected by others has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a kid growing up, we moved around a lot, so I was always the “new kid on the block“…the “new kid in school“. I might make a friend or two, and then we would move – again.
Because of my Tourette’s, I was teased a lot in school. I was called “twitch“…and worse. Other kids made fun of me by imitating my facial tics. I was a book-worm, and read encyclopedias in my spare time, so my nickname was “Brit” or “Encyclopedia“.
Even my parents rejected me… Probably the worst case of my young life was on my eleventh birthday. My grandfather died on that day, and his death was more important than celebrating my birthday. Rather than celebrating my birthday, dad drove to Illinois to be with his family for the funeral. He couldn’t wait a couple of days, and be a part of his son’s life, before he went to the funeral. His family, and the funeral, were more important than his own son. Maybe that seems trivial, but it isn’t. It was to become a pattern, repeated at various times and various ways.
By about my thirteenth birthday, mom no longer came into the bathroom and talked to me while I took my bath. Perhaps that was to teach me “modesty“, but in the long run, it taught me that she no longer cared enough about me to take special time for me. Sure, I was getting to be a “big-boy“, a “young man“, but other than the fact that my sexual equipment was getting bigger, and getting hair around it, I was still the same kid she had brought into the world just a few years later…but I wasn’t to her. As I got older, my parent’s lives got busier and busier, and they had less and less time for me. I no longer “mattered“. I was rejected. When I didn’t do well in English, dad simply grounded me until I got my grades up. Never mind that he had been a college-English instructor, and could have helped me, but he didn’t have the time. I didn’t matter, just my grades.
After my sophomore year of high-school, we moved again, so my dad could pastor a church in Oklahoma. Again, I was the “new kid on the block“…the “new kid in church“…the “PREACHER’S KID“, and I wasn’t welcome. Sure, there were other kids my age in the church, but they already had their own clique, and I wasn’t welcome. Whether it was in church, or elsewhere, I didn’t “fit-in“. I was an outsider looking in. I vividly remember those interminably-long church-bus rides between Oklahoma and church-camp in Colorado. The rest of the kids carried on, cut-up, and generally had a gay old time…and sang “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love“, while I sat…lonely and rejected. I hated that song for many years, because it represented what they should have been, but weren’t…loving. Even at camp, about all the people that had anything to do with me were other pastors. One particular pastor stands out in my mind as having the kind of love that I wasn’t getting elsewhere.
After I graduated from high-school, instead of going to college…like all the other kids I graduated with did, I went into the service. Once again…out of sight, out of mind. I was just a fleeting shadow, and not worth keeping up with.
After I got back home from my time in the service, I met and married a lovely young lady. She supported me through two years of college. I got recruited right out of college, so we moved to where my new job was.
Along the way, we had four kids…three girls and a boy. That presented its own unique set of challenges, because particularly when they were young, my wife’s full attention was devoted to them. While we did have some “us” time, it was never the same. I was “dad“…I was the “provider“, but the husband-wife relationship had been seriously disrupted. After we had been there about a dozen years, my wife started getting home-sick. She was very close to her family, and being over five-hundred miles away made that difficult for her. When I saw the handwriting on the wall, that the work for the group I was in was being seriously curtailed, we decide to move back “home“. That really was the beginning of the end of our relationship and our family.
Things seemed to hum along for another couple of years, and then my work started taking more and more of my time. I worked a lot of overtime due to me responsibilities. My wife and kids spent more and more time with her family, and less and less time with me. Her mom got to the point of needing 24/7 care, but her family was unwilling to put her in a nursing home, and the only person in the family that didn’t have an outside job was my wife, so she became her mom’s caregiver. Not only was our husband-wife relationship stretched from having four kids, but it got stretched thinner by her caring for her mom. I was no longer her #1 priority. At one point, she even demanded that we buy her mom’s house and move in with her. I refused that demand, because it wouldn’t have been good for anything but her being able to take care of her mom even more. The house was also way too small for our family. I saw less and less of my wife and family.
My wife started realizing what her actions had done to our family, but by then, the damage was all but irreparable. Her health was also suffering, and she refused medical help. She also refused any form of marriage counseling. She took her own life shortly thereafter. I am sure that she thought her death would unite our fragmented family, but it totally destroyed it. Suicide may be the ultimate form of rejection, because it is totally self-centered. Suicide tells those affected that they aren’t worth living for…
Because her family blamed me for her death, the very people who should have rallied around me didn’t. Old friends and family became mortal enemies, and they did everything in their power to destroy me. One brother-in-law even threatened to kill me. I had to move out of the community because I was no longer welcome there. Her family even poisoned my own kid’s attitudes towards me, so that they didn’t even want to see me or have anything to do with me. It has been over eighteen years since their mom’s death, and they still refuse to have anything to do with me. My oldest daughter threatened to call the police if I tried to contact her again. I am still not welcome in that community. The bitterness and hatred still run that deep. BTW…those people even call themselves “Christians“. Where is their love?
About a year later, I remarried, and shortly after we got married, we moved completely out of the area. The first place she started rejecting me was in the bedroom. Even though we didn’t have a truly-active sex-life, it went to non-existent…from sex every few weeks, to sex once every two or three years. That marriage lasted until I lost my eye. She decided that I was no longer part of her agenda, and she divorced me. She couldn’t even be bothered to send me a “get-well” card, let alone come and be with me in the hospital. I was thrown away with yesterday’s trash.
A few months after that divorce, I met another lady, and we started courting. I had a steady job, and she was disabled and unable to work. We got married, and as long as I had steady income, I was the greatest guy in the world. After she got her disability, and I lost my job, I became expendable. I was no longer part of her agenda…no longer desirable…thrown away with yesterday’s trash. Oh, we can’t forget that she had promised faithfully to NEVER do to me what my previous wife had done, but she did…
Maybe I should have gotten wiser, and avoided further romantic contact, but I had never been a “happy single“. I was “wired” to be married, and that was how and where I was happiest.
After being divorced for about two years, I met another lady. She had been down many of the same roads I have been down, including being a widow. She seemed to be the “ideal” wife. At least she talked a good talk. We got married in December 2013, and less than six weeks later, she moved out…while I was out of town at a doctor’s appointment. All she left was a note. We had sporadic contact for a few months, and then abruptly she wanted to move back home with me. That lasted exactly two weeks, before she moved out again. A couple of weeks later, she texted me and told me that she is in love with another man, and would be filing for divorce shortly. Oh, we can’t forget that she had promised faithfully to NEVER do to me what my previous wife had done, but she did…
Perhaps that is the most unkind cut of all…leaving me for another man. That tears at the very heart of who I am as a man. It is rejection – in spades. She has thrown me away with yesterday’s trash, because I am no longer what she wants in life. I was a brief interlude, but little more. She claims she is sorry for what she has done to me, but her actions show that her remorse is only superficial. She is unwilling to do what is necessary to start undoing the hurt she has caused.
Do I know a bit about rejection? I could probably write a book on it, but what would that accomplish?
Rejection – when a person willfully and deliberately hurts and discards another person who trusted them to never do that. Someone else knew quite a bit about rejection.
Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53)
One of His close associates, Judas, betrayed Him. Another close associate, Peter, denied him, not just once, but three times, after he swore that he would NEVER do that. When He was arrested, only Peter and John tagged-along behind the mob to His trial. John is also the only disciple who was there when He was crucified. All the rest had turned-tail and ran. Mark fled the scene of His arrest naked.
Yes, Jesus Christ knows a few things about rejection, and He keenly-feels our rejection with us. Who better to turn to in our pain?