Jimmy Evans - How to Overcome Rejection
God the Father on the cross turned his back on Jesus Christ. Let me say this: he rejected Jesus once for all 2,000 years ago so he'll never, ever reject us again in eternity. Those of us who have put our faith in Christ, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" from birth to death, Jesus was the most rejected human being that has ever lived, but he overcame it, and let me tell you what I mean by "Overcoming it". It never affected his decisions. It never, he did many things knowing it would get him rejected or killed, but he did it anyway.
Jesus was never affected by the fear of rejection. Number 2, it didn't affect the way he treated people. Jesus was stripped naked in front of his mother and died the most cruel, shameful death of any human being that has ever died, and he hung on the cross and forgave the people who put him there. It didn't change the way that Jesus treated people, or his emotional disposition. And number 3, it did not affect him fulfilling his destiny in God. Jesus did everything that God the Father called him to do knowing that he would suffer rejection. And overcome rejection, that's what it means.
But you just can't overstate the importance of this issue in all of our lives. Now listen, we were all created by a loving God to love. We were created by love to love. Jesus in Matthew 22, someone came to Jesus and they said, "Lord, what's the most important commandment"? Jesus said, "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is like it. Love your neighbor as you love yourself". He said the whole Bible is fulfilled in those two commandments. In other words, if we live to love God and each other, we've done everything that God asks. Everything else is just a detail. We were created by love to love, and because love is our greatest need, rejection is our greatest fear.
Most people fear rejection more than anything else. When people list their fears, public speaking, by the way, is the number 1 fear of most people. More than death. Most people fear what I'm doing right now more than they fear dying. But the reason is, it's not as though we're afraid of speaking in front of people. We're afraid of mass rejection. It's one thing for one person to reject you. It's another thing for hundreds or thousands of people to reject you. We fear rejection. It's also our greatest scar.
Most people, if I went back into your past and I asked you where your greatest pain came from, most of us, our greatest scars come from our past, and it's Satan's number 1 control point in our lives. When we develop a spirit of rejection, it is Satan's number 1 control point to come and to control the way we make decisions, the way we treat people, and whether or not we are going to do God's will for our lives. In most of our lives, we have suffered a lot of rejection. In fact, some of us have picked up a spirit of rejection. I carried a spirit of rejection in my life for many years. And when you're carrying a spirit of rejection, it just means you're being controlled by rejection, by the fear of it, by the need for love, and you're changing the way you live. You're changing the way you make your decisions because of it.
So, I want to talk about this issue of being free. Overcoming rejection in our lives. And let me begin by talking about forms of rejection, because when you say "Rejection", let me just make sure that you understand all the different ways that a person can be rejected, 'cause there are a lot. Well, first of all, it's being unwanted as a child. You know, but some of you, some of us, were unwanted as children. Now, my parents wanted another child, but my mother wanted a girl. I was supposed to have been a girl. I have two older brothers, Damien and Lucifer. I've told you about them. And because of them, my mother decided, "No more boys. I want a girl this time".
And so, back then, in those days, you didn't know what you were gonna get. You know, there were no sonograms, any of that kind of stuff. You didn't know until the child came out, so up until the day I was born, my mother had only one name picked out. It was Debbie Dale Evans. Now, remember. Dale Evans was a very famous country and western star. A movie star and a singer back when I was growing up, and so, she was naming her daughter "Dale Evans" after a female country and western star, but my name was going to be Debbie Dale Evans. So, when I was born, my parents didn't name me. My mother... I mean, my parents are loving and they wanted somebody else. Anyway... My mother didn't name me.
So, I was born in Wellington, Texas in Saint Joseph's Hospital. My parents lived in Clarendon, and I was an unnamed child, and so, after a couple of weeks of not being named, the hospital in Wellington called my mother and said, "We have to fill out this birth certificate, and if you don't name this child today, his name is officially Baby Boy Evans". First of all, I was almost Debbie. Then I was almost Baby. So, I avoided those names. So, they called my parents and said, "You gotta name this child today", and so, that's how I got my name.
I grew up being named after a female country and western star at the absolute peak of her career and all that. Some people are born and from birth you know that you weren't wanted. Lack of eye contact. Lack of affection. Lack of attention. Sometimes, parents just come out and say, "I wish you were never born. We didn't intend to have you. You know, you were a mistake". Children who were adopted almost always have to deal, at some point, with rejection. It doesn't matter how loving and how good the adoptive parents are, once you found out that your parents put you up for adoption, you have to deal with that issue of what was wrong with me? What did I do? Why did they put me up? Not being accepted or loved. Being excluded. Being laughed at or made fun of. Being gossiped or lied about. Being compared in an unfavorable way.
Divorce, adultery, abandonment, abuse, neglect, not being chosen or accepted for who I am. Having to perform or attain a physical, financial, social, or spiritual standards that are out of my reach. I just can't get there. I can't be accepted because I just can't live up to your expectations. Chronic lack of employment. Being rejected by a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or someone you desire to have a relationship with or have had a relationship with. Premature death or suicide. When people die prematurely, especially when they kill themselves. A huge issue there of rejection.
And so, as I read through those categories there, I'm sure every single person can listen to those and you identify, you know, that you've been rejected. We all know that we've been rejected on some level, but worse still is when you pick up a spirit of rejection. And a spirit of rejection isn't just "I've been rejected". A spirit of rejection is "I've been deeply wounded and this is now a point of control in my life and something that I deal with every single day, and something that's compromising my ability to function".
And so, let me talk about this for just a minute. Here are 4 common but unhealthy ways we react to rejection. Is we talk about being rejected, and you say, "Well, how does that affect people"? Well, here's the way. These are not healthy ways now, but these are common ways that we deal with rejection.
Number 1 is we avoid the risk of rejection. I've been rejected and I don't want to be rejected again, so I'm not going to try. I'm not going to give my heart away. It is, "I'm not going to try in relationships. I'm not going to befriend people". Many times when we've been hurt, we just simply say, "No one's ever going to hurt me again". We make an inner vow. "I'm never going to be hurt again". It's very common. I've done it before. But let me say this, God will never use you unless you risk being hurt. I'm not talking about being stupid. I'm not talking about opening your heart to people who are abusive, inherently abusive. I'm just saying all relationships pose risk and you can't eliminate risk from relationships.
Jesus had 12 disciples. One of 'em turned him in to be killed. And when he came, Jesus called him friend. Jesus did not close his heart to a person that he knew was going to turn him in. And so, we can't live eliminating risk from relationships completely, even though we need to be wise. Some people preemptively reject people rather that being rejected. It's the reason for a lot of divorce. A lot of divorce takes place because I'm gonna reject you before you can reject me. I want to be your friend, and I'm sitting here, you know, looking at you and sizing you up, and all of a sudden, I fear that you're about to reject me so I'll reject you before you can reject me. That keeps me from being hurt because I was the rejector.
Lack of commitment. If I never commit to anything, I'll live with you. I won't marry you. I'll hang around with you, but I won't commit to a friendship. If I never commit, I can't be hurt because I didn't give my heart away. Conforming to the environment rather than being myself. We need to be gracious people. We need to be loving people. Never need to be caustic or self-righteous.
But I'll say this: when you're a chameleon and you go everywhere you go and just kind of blend into the environment, if there's a liberal discussion going on, you're a liberal. If there's a conservative discussion going on, you're a conservative. If there's this discussion going, you just blend in to whatever discussion, let me say this: we need to be loving and kind, but sometimes, you have to express your opinion knowing that you're going to be rejected for it. But when you're reacting to rejection, many times, you conform to your environment, rather than taking the risk that I could be rejected.
Number 2 way. Not healthy way, but the way that we deal with rejection is anger and aggression. Most of us become more aggressive when we feel rejected. In marriage, when you feel as though your spouse has rejected you, you'll typically become more hostile and aggressive toward them.
Number 3 way that we deal with rejection is hopelessness and despair. It breaks our hearts. It's interesting, and again, this is just research, people who feel rejected, especially chronic rejection, get sick much, much more than people who feel loved. And they die of their diseases much more frequently. They have a much higher mortality rate 'cause they have nothing to live for. When you are loved and you feel loved, you will fight to death to live, 'cause it's our most basic instinct and we want to live to be with the people that we love.
The devil is the hurt whisperer, and any time that we go through hurt or trauma, he's always there to speak into that circumstance a lie into our soul to change the way we make decisions, to change the way we treat people, and to keep us from doing what God wants done with our lives. And since your birth, every time you felt rejected, you didn't know it was the devil. He doesn't present himself. He's a serpent. He's stealthy. He wants you to believe it's your voice or it's God's voice.
But he slithers up at our moment of pain and rejection and says things like this: "You're defective. You're ugly. You're unlovable. You'll never be loved. Get used to it. God doesn't love you. People are just treating you this way because that's the way God feels about you. You'll never be loved. You'll never be accepted. Get used to it". And he does it to break our hearts. And he does it to implant within us a spirit of rejection that, through that spirit, he can control us the rest of our lives, 'cause he's got our mind. He's got a stronghold now in our mind where we're convinced we're defective and unlovable and we can never be accepted by anyone. And so, he's going to use that as a point of control.
Number 4 way that we respond to rejection is being overly sensitive to rejection and overly dependent upon the approval and acceptance of others. Let me say this: people who carry a spirit of rejection are the most offendable people on earth. You can offend them more than anybody else on earth because they're just really, really sensitive to every single thing that's said and done. You're also overly dependent on the approval of other people. You become a people pleaser, a chameleon. You'll do anything to please other people. You perform for the approval of other people to an unhealthy degree. And the worst of all is compromising our morals and standards in order not to be rejected.
When I grew up as a kid, I had bad friends and I did bad things. So many times, when I was doing bad things as getting drunk, being immoral, doing awful things, I remember thinking to myself, "I really don't want to do this, but I'm afraid of what my friends will do if I tell them no". Peer pressure and the fear of rejection caused me to compromise my morals so much, and we can do it as adults. We really don't want to do the things we're doing. We really don't like the things that we're saying. But we're afraid of what will happen if we stand up for what we believe in and we really are ourselves. Avoidance of risk, anger and aggression, hopelessness and despair, and being overly sensitive and overly defendant. That's the way that most of us deal with rejection in one or more of those ways.
Let me talk about how to overcome rejection. So, if you're going to overcome it and not be defined for the rest of your life by rejection, what has happened to you or what's going to happen to you, well, how do you do that?
Number 1, base your life on God's perfect love and what God's word has to say about you. Don't be controlled by people. Base your life on God's word. Hebrews 13 says this: "Let your conduct be without covetousness: be content with such things as you have. For he himself has said, 'i will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say, 'the Lord is my helper: I will not fear. What can man do to me'"?
Let me say this: not one person feels rejected because of what God's done. It's what people have done. I love people, but you just can't depend on people to love you. Even good people. Because they have bad days. Sometimes, they go through a difficult time. And when you live your life based on people's love, you're just going to end up disappointed and scarred up. But God says, "I will never leave you and I will never forsake you".
There's 2 statements there. Physically, he will never leave, but emotionally, he'll never turn his heart away from us. There'll never be a moment for the rest of your life that God isn't emotionally connected to you and thinking about you. There'll never be a moment in eternity that God leaves you physically. I mean, it's a wonderful thing to know that our God is absolutely committed. It doesn't matter how bad of a day we have. On our worst day, he's our best friend. When no one else is there, he's still there. When he says never, he means never.
I know a lot of people have told us that they would never leave, and then they left. When we lost our looks or our money or couldn't give them what they wanted, they left. They said they were committed, but bad times define commitment, not good times. Words don't define commitment, trouble defines commitment. If you're still standing on the other side, you're committed. God says, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you". God's love heals a spirit of rejection. Perfect love casts out fear. That's the way the Bible says it.
Number 2 way to overcome rejection. Pursue relationships with fellow believers who are pursuing God in healthy relationships. Now, I lost all of my friends the day that I received Christ. And I want to say a couple of things. Nobody's perfect and Christians are not perfect. But Christians are different, I can tell you that right now. And I want to say this and I want you to listen to me. If your closest relationships are with worldly people, you're gonna get your heart broken. Because worldly people love because of the way you look, because of money or position, or because of what you can do for them. And when you lose your looks, you lose your money, your position, or what you can do for them, they're gone. They're history.
If you have friends, your closest friends are people with poor values, get ready for disappointment. But here's the issue with Christian friends, and this is Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity". And here's what I have found about Christian friends. Maybe not every Christian friend. Some Christian friends are still dealing with worldliness in their lives. But here's what I have found with the friends I have. When you're struggling, they don't run away. They show up. They have a different value system.
You can count on Christian friends more than anybody else not to reject you. They may challenge you. They may stand up to you to keep you from hurting yourself. Or when you're in sin or doing something wrong. But they're faithful. And those 2 issues of value system and faithfulness will define the rest of your lives. It's one thing to be rejected. It's another thing to set myself up for rejection. And when your closest friends, we ought to love everybody. We ought to be friends with people. But our closest friends should be people that we choose very carefully or we're gonna end up rejected.
Number 3, expect rejection. Don't take it so personally. You're just gonna get rejected sometimes. Jesus says in Luke 6:22, "Blessed are you when men hate you: when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil for the son of man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy"! Have you ever done that? Somebody excludes you or begins to talk about you that you're evil or they reject you, and you just jump up in the air, just leap for joy? That's what Jesus said to do. But that's not what we do, is it? We just cry and hurt. "Oh, they're talking bad about me", and all that stuff.
Listen to this. Let me interpret this verse for you, ok? Let me give you the king Jimmy version real quick. If you understood the reward for standing up for your faith, you would jump up for joy every time you do it and someone rejects you. If you understood what God will do for you if you stand up for him, you wouldn't be a coward anymore. You'd be brave and you'd stand up and be willing to be rejected for your Lord. Jesus said when they exclude you, when they reject you, you jump up for joy because your reward in heaven is great. You leap for joy.
And we ought to be gracious and we ought to be kind, but I'll just tell you, I'm against killing babies in their mothers' wombs. I'm against the immorality in the world today. I'm against the rebellion in schools today and the way that children are treating their parents. I'm against many things that are going on right now, and I believe the Word of God is the infallible word from heaven that we ought to live our lives by. I believe that, and because of that, I'm gonna get rejected. So be it! I've settled it in my heart. I'm gonna be rejected.
Number 4, this is the last one. Forgive those who reject you and give them God's love and acceptance in return. Don't respond in kind. Luke 6. Jesus. "I say to you who hear! Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them".
Listen. You know you're being controlled by a spirit of rejection when you can't love a person beyond the way they're treating you. "I'm gonna treat you just the way that you're treating me". Tit for tat. Exactly the way that you're treating me, I'm gonna respond in kind. You're nice to me, I'm nice to you. You're mean to me, well, so does your mama. You better watch it! That just shows you how weak in spirit we are. Let me say this. When God's love is flowing on the inside of you, you can rise above your circumstances. You can smile when they're frowning. You can love when they're hating. You can bless while they're cursing. And you've overcome a spirit of rejection when you can love. And Jesus said the way you want people to treat you, you treat them the same way. And some of the most unloving people in the world, all they need is for someone to love 'em. And we can only do that if we're operating by a better spirit.
You know, love is our greatest need as human beings. And rejection is our greatest scar. It's our greatest fear. It's our greatest scar. Love heals us. Love holds us and gives us the nourishment emotionally that we need. Rejection does the very opposite. It's just a dagger in the heart. It is something so painful for us to experience, and you know, we have different ways that we respond to it, just as I was saying in this teaching. But here's what I want you to understand. You're perfectly loved and accepted by God. God will never reject you. Hebrews 13:5, God says, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you". And he's saying that to you. And what that means is, God will never physically desert you, but he'll never turn his heart away. That's what "Forsake" means. It means there'll never be a moment in your life, regardless of what you do, that God turns away from you and rejects you. See, we are loved by God.
And people, some people, are very rejecting. You have to choose your friends wisely. You just can't go be around everyone 'cause some people are just rejecting and we have to forgive 'em. Just like I was saying in that teaching there. But it begins with the knowledge that we are accepted in God and we focus on that. You know, Jesus said "In this world, you'll have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I've overcome the world". Unfortunately, there are just people who are very cruel, they're very unkind. They're bullies. They're rejecting. Ok? We forgive 'em and we go on. We don't listen to what they say. We need to find friends, good church friends that love us and accept us. And if they say anything negative, they say it for the right reasons and they say it in love. That's the kind of friends I have.
Now, I grew up around friends that were very hurtful and rejecting, and I've learned to be very careful about who I let into my life. And I'm saying to you right now, maybe you have been rejected. Maybe you feel rejected right now. Maybe you've been divorced or forsaken or cheated on or something like that, and you're overwhelmed. Listen to me. You are loved by God. He will never reject you. And you go get involved in a good church. You go find some good Christian people. There is no one on earth better to be in relationship with than loving, Christian people who know God and express his kind of love. We can be free from the scar of rejection, and free to live an overcoming life. That's my prayer for you. God bless y'all. I'll see you next time.