By Stephen L France
This is the emotion that emerged on April 18, 2016 when I discovered that I’d been deceived for 30 years.
For three decades, I’d constructed and nurtured the belief that I was an outcast; a loner. Believed I was conceived in the wrong time period, forcing a powerful wave of isolation. I would joke with friends that I was born in 1784, outside 21st century Western society’s loose morals to cover my sense of alienation. In my mind, my teenage years even jested with the idea that I wasn’t human – perhaps inspired by too much supernatural fiction.
30 years of grand deception; a fabrication that sustained my solitude; a phenomenal lie generated from one universal untruth, that we all experience at some point or another – REJECTION.
Rejection is possibly the most painful sensation that separated me from God. It doesn’t belong to His world and is created by the most cunning trickster of all time, deemed here in the Bible as the serpent: ‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.’ Genesis 3:1 (ESV)
Rejection emerges in multiple ways, and living in this world means you’ll have experienced it. It has been a humbling fact to face in my choice to serve God; however, I’ve been led to work through this because it’s these moments of rejection that created the divide between the Lord and I.
The Holy Spirit has been gracious and has allowed me to confront many past occasions in my life where I perceived myself as a reject – has He done the same for you? Or, have you yet to face these dark points of your own life?
The Spirit has helped me dissect how the agonising situations manifested and manipulated my thought process. These focal points in my life convinced my adult-self to see the worst in people and always prepare for unwelcome outcomes in life’s challenges as self-defence from further rejection.
Here are a few examples of rejections that my walk with God has raised to vanquish:
When I was three years old, we had a party at nursery. I recall seeing a small, round chocolate cake on the ‘banquet’ table. I reached for it and took a great bite, anticipating chocolaty goodness. Much to my disgust, it was filled with cream. I tried to put it back, but the supervisor caught me and denied me any more food from the table unless I finished the revolting cream-filled cake. I forced it down amid retching.
- I attended a Church of England Primary School where the pupils were predominantly Caucasian. When I was six, I was told by three girls that my black skin was dirty and God didn’t clean me. I remember trying to scrub myself clean that night.
- At eight, I was in a class with a teacher who favoured certain students more than others. I wasn’t one of the preferential pupils.
- When I was 10, a motivating dream/ambition was born from my mother’s hopes for me: the dream was of meeting the perfect, educated woman at a good university, getting married, and having a family. After struggling through seven years at a single gender school with this vision as my guiding light, my truth, ‘my god,’ three years at university stood as a colossal disappointment; I hadn’t met her. This translated as a universal, global rejection from humanity of everything that I am – a total failure: ‘You couldn’t even find a partner in a huge institution such as university. All your friends have found someone. You don’t have a hope now…it’s over.’
- At 24 years old, I had the most painful rejection of all – the event that I relived at the EEC Easter Conference this year, prompting a slew of revelations from the Holy Spirit. At 24, I had met someone and within months she’d decided she couldn’t commit to a long distance relationship. The anguish of this occasion rendered a profound confirmation about my soul – I was unlovable and worse; God had utterly betrayed me.
My reception of each of these scenarios as ‘rejection,’ had fully severed any connection I had with God.
Following these ‘worldly’ events that I perceived as rejection, I adopted multiple endeavours to seek acceptance. In gaining achievements in these activities, PRIDE grew, a strong sense of power from my INDEPENDENCE, and a JUDGEMENTAL attitude over others, further forcing my detachment from the Lord.
Today, the main lesson I’ve learnt about all this rejection, is that it’s a massive LIE, for as it says in Romans 8:1 ESV, ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’
The fact is, Jesus was always there for me, but I had to let Him into my life.
For those who experience a challenging start in life with parents that aren’t supporting them, Psalm 27:10 ESV explains that the Lord will always uphold you. We’re never rejected, because God—the creator and all powerful force of this world—loves and accepts us.
God was always there for me and He always loved me. He is ‘love’ and a great definition of love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7.
Rejection was my perceptions turned against me by ‘the enemy’ and what I’m learning is that in every situation, Jesus was and is there; this means there is a positive way I could have viewed each and every scenario of the past that parallels God’s viewpoint. He doesn’t see the rejection – He sees us as loved, for as scripture describes: ‘When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.’ Psalm 34:17-20 (ESV)
Perhaps the toughest element about awareness of the REJECTION LIE, is learning that my mind requires a total transformation. The 30 years of rejection forged a suspicious mind-set, built on the self-serving notion of protection from further rejection, thereby living in a state of fear verging on paranoia.
As said in Romans 12:2, I look forward to a time when my mind is renewed to a degree, that I’m unified with God’s vision of people.
Everyone battles rejection and it’s a lifelong struggle as the enemy will always attempt to attack us. The opposing realisation that we must actively assume, is Jesus’ provision of salvation; we are already victorious and adopted by our Heavenly Father. There is no room for rejection on the narrow road with God, because our heart is already filled with overflowing love – 1 Timothy 1:14 ESV.
The main question you have to ask as a starting point is: have you tackled your past rejections? Those deep spiritual strongholds that may have altered your thought process and heart?
Here’s what I did at the beginning of my path to conquer past rejection – these points may seem like obvious steps, but if done without the obstruction of ego/pride, the Lord in all His grace WILL respond:
- Recall the challenging moments of your life – BE BLUNT HONEST and HUMBLE about it (I had to put on some sad music to evoke feeling when tapping into my memories – one track I will confess I used was – Madonna: This Used to be My Playground…
- Voice these tough moments to the Lord with HONESTY – every single thing you think and feel about those dark times. It may be hard to say some of these things out loud, but it will be worth the discomfort to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit
- Speak the Spirit into the situations – acknowledge your victory over these scenarios through Jesus’ victory – what He’s accomplished. This is an even more personal part of the process and all of us have different ways of communicating with God. I was fortunate enough to have the Spirit arrive, counsel me by connecting all the dots of the devil’s strategy in my entire life, and then comfort me as He promises: John 14.26 ESV
- Going forward: keep walking with God through daily Bible study – a chapter takes around 5 mins to read and it’s a further 5 -10 mins of reflection – prayer, and meditation on the Word (at this moment in time for me, this means vigilance and scrutiny over my thoughts)
Remember: WE’RE ALREADY ACCEPTED – REJECTION IS THE GREATEST LIE EVER TOLD Written by Stephen France
For more from the author visit his Feeding Faith series.