Charles Stanley — Victory over Rejection
Many people are living in bondage and not even aware of it. Not talking about bars and chains, but there are other forms of bondage besides things that you and I can see. And sometimes the worst form of bondage is something emotional in a person's life. And if I should ask you if you've ever felt like you were in bondage to something you couldn't see, you couldn't touch, but you felt it on the inside. Probably most everybody has at some point or the other.
If I should ask you what is the most painful bondage you've ever experienced? What is the most painful experience when it comes to our emotions? We can think in terms of unforgiveness. We can think in terms of bitterness or resentfulness and hostility or depression, whatever it might be. There are lots of them. What is the most painful one of all? And the one, for example, that seems to sort of slip out from under us and you live with it for years and years and years and do not even realize that it has hindered you in every single area of your life, because the truth about this form is this. It causes you to believe a lie about yourself. It causes you to project upon other people thoughts about you that are not true. And it also undermines your relationship to God. What kind of emotion can do that?
So I want you to turn if you will to Romans chapter eight and I want us to look at this awesome passage of assurance and confidence that we have because of our relationship to God through His Son, Jesus. And I want us to begin reading just the last part of this chapter beginning in verse thirty-one. Paul asked the question, "What, then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Now, every one of us ought to answer that question. If God is for us, what He's saying is who can successfully be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? That is, having given us His best, will He not freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Then he asks the question, Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered".
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer he says through Him who loved us. That is Jesus. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Now if you'll read that passage, think about this. There is no room, no room in that passage of Scripture for rejection. Rejection is probably the most painful of all the emotions. And the truth is, all of us have been rejected either by somebody or some group or something at some point in life.
And so the question is, how did you respond? And if I should ask you, "Well, did that rejection bother you, or do you ever think about it"? No, it doesn't bother me. I never think about it much. But let me just correct that, it does bother you. Until a person recognizes the presence of rejection in their life and discovers the source of it and deals with it, it will bother you all of your life. And I will give you a list of things, for example, the consequences of living with rejection in a few moments. Rejection is very, very painful. And if you have ever experienced real rejection, true rejection, you know that if you compare that with all the other emotions you've ever felt, there's something about rejection that goes straight to the core. It isn't skin deep, goes straight to the core of the very person you are, who you are and what you think and feel about yourself.
And when I think about in the Scriptures, for example, where do we start? Joseph was rejected by his brothers in the most awesome way. You know that story. But Moses, who led the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, they rejected him over and over and over again. And David was continually running from Saul because Saul rejected him out of his sense of jealousy of him. And then of course, look at the Apostle Paul. Everywhere he turned, Jews, Pharisees, Sadducees, you name it, they hated him, they despised him. They did the very best they could to assassinate him, over and over and over again. And then of course, there's Jesus. And the passage in the Old Testament and in the New Testament about... He was rejected by His own. He came unto His own and His own received him not. Why? Because they rejected Him. And so how do we take these passages and the Scriptures and apply them to our own life in order to eliminate the attitude of rejection in our life? You cannot live with it without it having a devastating effect upon your life.
And so, let's just think for a moment and, and clarify what we mean by rejection. And the truth is if somebody rejects something, that means they refuse it. If you come to me and say, I'd like to be your friend, and I reject you, what I'm saying is, I don't want to be your friend. I refuse your offer of friendship. And what does that do? That causes the other person to feel less respect for themselves, less worthy of themselves and, and to be, and to be self-critical for the simple reason why wouldn't somebody want to be my friend? And so there are some basic things that are very basic when it comes to that, and what it does, it sends a message. In other words, rejection isn't just a feeling, it sends a message.
When you reject somebody, you send them a strong message going straight to the core of their heart, you're not worthy, you're not fit, you don't belong. I don't want you. You don't fit into this situation. And anytime anybody feels that, especially from somebody that's very precious to them or very important to them, it's devastating. Now one of the worst things about this is simply this. It cheats the person out of what God wants to do in that person's life. And so they live their life on a lower level down here wondering why they can't get up and, here's what people do. They want to blame somebody else for their situation. As long as you live in the blame game, you're never going to do anything in life. We've all had our difficulties, hardships, pain and suffering, rejection and all the rest. That's just the way life is.
Everybody's going to get rejected by somebody at some point or maybe many people. The issue is, how do you handle it? What do you do with it? Now. What are the causes? This is the most important part. What causes people to feel rejection? Well the underlying basic cause is it's their opinion of themselves. If I come into this world and early in life I am somehow taught, somehow impressed that I don't really count and I'm not really worthy, then what happens? I'm going to have a problem all of my life. And many, many people suffer all of their life as a result. And so, I want us to think about some general causes. Why do people feel, why do people feel rejected?
Well one of the causes, for example, sometimes it's physical defects. It can listen, it can be because of how tall you are, how short you are, how thin you are, how fat you are, what you think, you look in the mirror and you think "well, who am I" and "why would anybody want to marry me" and on and on it goes. Sometimes it physical defects, but sometimes they are imagined. And so, it's a powerful, powerful situation in a person's life and they can't get beyond that. Of course, one of those causes, one of the primary causes is deep emotional hurt from the past. It can be a father or a mother, it can be a child, it can be a friend, whoever it might be, deep hurts of the past. Sometime it's a death of a loved one. Let's say, for example, there are people when their husband or wife, passes away, somehow in their mind they take it as rejection. Well, the person didn't want to die, but all of a sudden they're left alone. And to them, it comes across as an act of rejection as if God rejecting them. Doesn't make any difference what they think about it, that's the way it figures to them. And then of course, think about this. Divorce is one of the most painful of all experiences in life. In every single divorce, there is rejection. A husband either rejects his wife, or the wife rejects her husband, or they both may reject each other.
Now think about this. When two people who love each other, live with each other, become one person, and then one decides to reject the other, that's really what it is, whatever the reason may be. And so they walk away from the marriage, and the other person is left with what? Terrible, horrible, painful rejection. The sense of rejection, no matter what, in other words, they may have all the money, everything else in the world they want. But the person they love said, I don't love you anymore. I don't love you anymore. I don't want you anymore. You're not worth living with anymore. You don't fit me anymore. We don't, you don't belong to me anymore. There's a whole array of intense rejection that goes on in a person's life that oftentimes they never get over it. Or, they get over it, they attempt to get over it by making a big mistake, got to find somebody else who will love me.
And if a person gets married on the basis I've got to have somebody to love me, you're headed for trouble. You don't marry somebody because you want somebody to love you. That's a great part of marriage, naturally, but you take baggage into that life and one of the worst things you can take in life is rejection, for this reason. If you, watch this carefully. A person who is full of rejection, had they been rejected and hurt terribly. I'm not saying it's something they did, but they feel, they feel this. Their antennas are out. And all you've got to do sometime is say the wrong thing and what happens? All this rejection that was placed there because of that experience, it just gets multiplied and divided and multiplied.
And then what happens? They dump it on the other person. "Well, you don't love me. You've rejected me," because, listen, rejection by one person whom you deeply love so absolutely, totally overwhelms a persons and penetrates every cell of that body, so to speak. It doesn't take much. And this is why you've got a person marrying this time, second time, third time, fourth time, fifth time, doing what? Trying to find something to satisfy what only God can satisfy. Listen to this. For example, let's take, let's just take childhood experiences. All I can think about some of my childhood experiences, but let's just think about a couple of things. Parents, let me just say this to you. You can set your child in a wrong direction in their life very, very, very early in life.
You say, "Oh, they forget that". Well, I can tell you several reasons why they don't. Number one, because it is the truth they don't. And I think about the effect that parents have on children and they think, "Well you know what? Kids grow up, they get over these things". No they don't. Because every single one of us has a library. A library, well we used to say tapes. I want to stick with the tapes 'cause CD's don't fit this. All of us have a library on our shoulders. It's our mind, and everything we've ever felt, heard or seen is up there. And so, think about this. When a child hears, "I wish you'd get out of here. You're just an encumbrance to this family. You slow things down," records. Or, "Of all of our children, you cause us the most problems," record. "The truth is, I wish you'd get out," record, record, record, record, record.
Now watch this. It doesn't take but one devastating statement to be recorded in a child's mind to devastate them for life. It depends on who said it, and what the circumstance was, and the relationship of that child to the father. We think it all goes away quickly; it does not. It's all there recorded. And so when I think about people today, things will crop up in their mind, they'll think, "Oh, you know what"? That's not important, or, I forgave them. Well isn't it interesting it keeps cropping up? And you see, here's the subtle thing about it. It affects us on a daily basis if we don't deal with it in ways that we don't even think about.
Now what in the world can you do about it? Some things, if you get this, and you will, there is a way to overcome that no matter what it is. There are three, there are three feelings that are absolutely essential to a healthy self-attitude and your own personal view of yourself. Your self-respect and everything else. These three attitudes are a sense of belonging, I belong, very important to be a part, I'm a part of. The second one is, I'm worthy. That is, you know what? I'm worth something. I'm of value. God loves me. And thirdly, I'm competent. I can do it, I can handle it, whatever it is. If you don't have those three feelings about yourself, emotions about yourself, you'll go through life suffering and hurting.
Now, scripturally, think about, scripturally think about it for a moment. What, Paul said in Romans eight, sixteen, well, In Romans eight, sixteen. You don't have to look, I want you to write it down. Eight sixteen, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God". Listen. It doesn't make any difference about what somebody else thinks or who they want where when. You and I are a part of the Body of Christ. We belong to Him. And He welcomed us into His family, into the Kingdom of God. We belong. We may not belong as far as somebody else is concerned in some other situation, we belong to Him. And once I get that in my mind and heart, I'm going to start getting over these things, feelings of rejection.
Not only do I belong, look at this. Do you want to know whether you're worthy or not? All you have to do is to turn to John three, sixteen. Listen to this, "For God so loved the world". You say, "Well that's the whole world. Mm-mm-mm, wait a minute. "God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever," which includes you and me, "whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life. And Paul said again in Romans, he said, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". And we read a few moments ago that nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. So your worthiness, He died for you. He considers you worthy that He died for you. Watch this. He not only considered you worthy that He died for you, but He's living on the inside of you. Every father, if he loves his son, he's proud when his son acts like him or looks like him.
So think about this. God loves you. He doesn't see what's on the outside, He sees on the inside. He loves you. And here's what He said in the Word of God. Nothing, watch this, nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing can separate you. Therefore, I have to believe the Bible or I don't. And the third feeling is a feeling of competence, I can do it. Well why do I feel that? Because He says the Holy Spirit who lives within us will enable us to do whatever He calls us to do. And you can quote that verse from, from Paul, in Philippians chapter four, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Now watch this. If you have a sense of belonging, belong to God. I know He loves me. I'm worth something. He died for me. And besides that, He's put His seal upon me, sealed for all eternity. He says, "Nothing can separate me from, from His love for me. And I can do anything and everything God calls me to do". It's like a tripod. You've got three feelings, a feeling of belonging, a feeling of what? Worthiness. And a feeling of competence. And when you have those three, you take out any one of them, a tripod can't stand up. And no person is, no person is really and truly full and complete if one of those is missing. If you don't feel competent, then you just back off. If you don't feel worthy, you back off. If you don't feel like you belong, you back off.
And so what happens? You go through life handicapped by things that happened in the past in your life. So what if somebody rejects you? You know some people reject you because they have got a problem, not because you have them, because they have one. And it doesn't make any difference what they say, or why they reject you. They're the ones who have the problem. There's not a verse in the Bible that tells me I should reject anybody. Because every single one of us is loved by God. So ask yourself the question, What is it in my past that every once in a while crops up? Is it something somebody said, something that happened? Or maybe if you, if you begin to look inside, here's what you'll think. You'll think, "Well, you know what? I just misinterpreted it, exactly what that was all about". And all of a sudden you get free.
Now watch this. It's going to be there until you deal with it. You should pray for God to surface those things in your life, past, present, surface those things in your life that you need to deal with so that you can deal with them. And what you need to do is what? He surfaces it. You ask Him. You acknowledge that it's there. You ask Him to forgive you for allowing these things to hinder you. But now that you understand from His perspective that, that you have a, you belong to Him and you're worth something, and you're competent. Listen. What you're doing is you're getting God's attitude towards you into your life so you can operate on the basis of who He is in you and not those bad feelings you had about yourself.
So what does it boil down to? A choice. I can either choose to believe what God said about me or I can choose to believe what other people say. They don't, they don't know the truth about you. God does. Listen. Almighty God who loves you unconditionally knows the absolute truth about every single one of us and here's what He says. I love you. And I love you so much that I'm not going to let anything separate you from me. That's how much I love you. And not only that, I love you so much I'm going to come and live My life in and through you through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Listen to this. A person of the Trinity, living on the inside of you. And not only that, He's there to do what? To enable you and me to accomplish anything and everything He calls us to accomplish.
Now, listen carefully. There may be some people like your own children, or your friends that you rejected. You've said things you shouldn't have said. Or, you just absolutely rejected them for some reason, whatever you thought it was. You should have the courage to go to that person and say, "I really need to ask you to forgive me for something. My attitude toward you was not right". You see, it all boils down to one thing: either I believe what God said or I don't. If I believe what He said, I'm going to be free. Amen? And you say, "Well, I'm not even a Christian". Well, let me just say this.
Watch this carefully and listen so you won't misunderstand. If you die having rejected Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, who's the Son of God, then you will experience the ultimate, eternal rejection. You don't have to. It's a choice you make. If you recognize you need Christ in your life, you're living in sin and disobeying God, prideful, rebellious, whatever it might be. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin, that you believe that His death at the cross paid your sin debt in full, and you're receiving Him as your personal Savior. That is the beginning of life for you. And then God will have to sift out a lot of junk. He's had to sift out a lot of junk in all of our lives. But He will. But you start with accepting His loving forgiveness for your sin and the gift of eternal life. And that's my prayer for you.
Father, how grateful we are for your precious Word. That we can be freed from anything and everything. You said, "I came to set the captives free". And I pray the Holy Spirit has and is and will speak, not only to people here, but to people around the world who hear this, who are living in all kinds of circumstances beyond our comprehension. That they may recognize that You love them, that You care and that You're in it with them no matter what. And we pray this in Jesus' name, amen.