The gift that keeps on giving.
Why does it hurt so much?
The original stab wound is almost always in childhood. Parents die, walk away, abuse, belittle,. All just words for “reject.” Kids don’t know the difference. And it sears a distinctive scar on our souls. From then on, we either try to be like everyone wants, seal the deal for love and acceptance. Or we rebel, plain ol’ pissed off, and hit back at the world.
Most people think sex, drugs, and rock n roll are the dangers to our youth. Not so. A 2001 Surgeon General report said that rejection is a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, gangs, poverty…anything society tends to blame it on. School shooters, people who “go postal” in the workplace are almost always found to have suffered recent rejection.
We must all be born needing love, because when that gets crimped along the way, it changes us for life. Like we are born on Life Support, and as long as it is on we prosper. When it is lost….pffft. Damage.
Yet it happens all the time in our fallen world. Your mother abandons you, or your father leaves. Or they stay and treat you wrong, abusing, belittling you, or divorce and confuse everything. Or they die in a car wreck and you never see them again. A child’s mind doesn’t know the difference between intentional and accidental rejection and abandonment. Their brain will grow around that wound best it can, but will always bleed a bit.
You see it everywhere in nature. Young sapling trees are braided or trained in odd shapes to sell as curiosities. Damage to a fingernail bed causes that nail to grow out a little warped. Once I saw a large Walnut tree that had grown up from a seed through an old wood and iron wagon wheel. That old wheel was at the literal heart of that huge old tree, imbedded forever. You could see it, but it could never be removed. Some pioneer heading West in the 1800’s dropped some walnuts at that fertile spot by a creek where they changed an iron wheel, never imagining that the abandoned wheel would shape the tree that would grow there over the next 150 years.
Cuz hearts are like that. They go on beating.
But wow. The fresh wound later rips the scab right off that old wound and we bleed again. What to do about that?!
The world has got meds and booze and food and porn and all kinds of dead-end “help.” But the only medicine I ever found big enough for this wound is the Lord’s perfect, unconditional love.
I know, I know. He’s invisible and we crave someone with skin on ‘em. But with a little dedicated determination He becomes so “real” to you that it is almost physical. And in time you learn to trust His love and acceptance. Then in more time you say, and mean it: “Your love is sufficient for me.” Start with His direct Word:
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
That won’t be enough yet. The wound is too fresh. But it is a promise. Just take Him at His word and agree to open your soul to the rest.
“I cannot feel it,” we murmur inside. Too many bad preachers and crooked friends and relatives.
But we can’t start with feeling it. We start with choosing it. And that starts with the facts:
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
We are holy, blameless, chosen by God since before the earth. Ephesians 1:4
I am God’s child John 1:12
And it is My desire to lavish My love on you 1 John 3:1
Because I love you with an everlasting love Jeremiah 31:3
For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed John 17:26
I am adopted as His child Ephesians 1:5
I am safe. I John 5:18
There’s a million more. God reallly meant to convince us. I am still learning myself, and my turn is almost over. But I never found one other thing that helped soothe, heal, and give meaning and purpose to a fresh dose of rejection.
Plus it cheers me that God promises He will “turn it all to good.” I think that’s where we go off the rails. The anger and tears and pain are easy to understand. Makes us “normal.” But we have a really hard time imagining how He could possibly take that big a dose of mean and turn it to good. Turn it to payback maybe. Or revenge. But good?!
Yes. Hide and watch, fellow Pilgrim.
If someone told you your nose was purple it wouldn’t hurt you. Right? You’d laugh and go on. Know they were kiddin’ around or nuts.
But if they dump you, act against you, that hurts bad. Why do you think that is?
Because you believe them. Believe that you are unloved, not worthy, whatever. You think of all the nice things you’ve done for them. Wonder, through the tears, why they pay you back with this fresh stab.
Good case for believing someone else, huh? Instead of them.
Like, say, the GOD of the UNIVERSE maybe, huh?
Cuz maybe, just mayyyybe, rejection is not someone wanting you out of their life. Maybe it’s someone that God wanted out of your future.
Or the ones who wound you have their own issues. Or have picked “Flesh” instead of “Spirit” for walking through Life. There’s just the two roads, you know. Spirit/Flesh. Left/Right. We pick a zillion times a day. And we are not responsible for what the other guy picks, are we?
Breathe. Read those verses ‘til you get it. Down deep. In between, think about that first wound. The one you know lies under that old scab. What stabbed your heart first? Can you remember? Do you know? Wrap that around the verses of God’s perfect unconditional love and His flat-out promise that He will turn it all to good. That He is your forever “Abba.” Daddy. That we don’t have to know how, we just have to have enough tiny mustard seed of faith to be willing to agree…with…GOD. Not the jerk who stabbed ya. GOD. Instead of the fleshy, wounded, adolescent, impaired “others” who just echoed that first pain and stabbed you again. In a way you never would have done to them. Ouch. And if you recall, every scab coming off hurts. Bleeds.
I ain’t sayin’ it’s totally healed and gone and won’t hurt the next time somebody stabs ya. That rejection wound from childhood will always be there. Your heart grew up around it. I’m just sayin’ you know where to get the real big medicine. No hangover. No guilt. No grudge. No revenge. No side effects! A perfect medicine that soaks down into that wounded heart and holds in a love so deep and pure it overcomes our pain with what we craved all along: perfect love.”
Jesus Himself was rejected, you know. The Bible is abundantly clear on that:
He was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Is 53)
“If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (John 15)
So it is an honor to suffer innocently from rejection, share in the Lord’s own rejection. We share this with Him. It does not make the pain of rejection, the suffering, go away. It redeems it. Transforms it. Turns lead to gold.
Way way better than what we thought we might do about it, huh?