Sunday, July 22, 2007

In moments of pain -- part 1


Overcoming loneliness and rejection

“My close friends detest me.
Those I loved have turned against me.” Job 19:19

Complete and yet missing something

There are many people in this world who seems to have it all together. The looks, the talents, the brains, the fame, they are doing well in their career, and they have a wonderful family and lots of friends around them. In short, they are an example of envy for many people. However, some of them do actually feel very lonely inside their hearts. Things may seem to be going very well for them, but there is an emptiness in their hearts that cannot be comprehended.

Loneliness and rejection can cause far more damage than anyone can ever imagine. Imagine living in this world with people all around you, yet you are unable to find your place in it. The right human companionships can do far more than just wealth or talents. We all need healthy relationships in order to be able to function properly; but the truth is, that is just what many people are lacking.

Loneliness can attack anyone

Loneliness and rejection, like depression, knows no bounds. It devours people of any age, of any gender, of any position. A child can experience rejection if his parents are too busy or if favouritism is an issue in the family. A teenager may experience loneliness because she cannot fit in the normal crowd. A married person can feel the pain of rejection caused by marital problems. And likewise, an elderly person can feel cast aside. If we are to be honest, we can actually remember times in our lives when we had to battle with loneliness and rejection.

While some incidents of rejection are temporary, there are many who live their lives feeling lonely all the time. The devil knows when and how to attack us. Many children who have experienced rejection in their homes actually grow up with the inability to relate to other people. The fear of rejection can actually leave them so paralysed that they cannot function normally and sustain lasting friendships. Other incidents of trauma such as consistent bullying, or a failed relationship can cause severe scars in people’s lives as well.

We are created to be accepted

Deep inside every human being is something so creatively engineered by our Creator, and that is the need to be to be heard, loved and accepted. This need is like a switch which controls many other functions. If the switch fails, then the other functions connected to it will fail as well.

Many people go about their lives with a malfunctioned switch. They learn to cope with it and act as if they can function the way they are. Some may be able to smile, talk and work like any other people, while others will retreat and withdraw. The only thing that they have in common is that they are incapable of sustaining quality relationships. They are actually very fragile people, and a trigger can cause them to break down.

Many people who have experienced painful rejection and loneliness from a group of people will continue to expect the same treatment from other people. This is why it is actually a very effective tool to attack a child. The fear of rejection has had such a grip on their lives that they will rather not take the risk of intimacy.

It is not your fault

You do not have to struggle with rejection and believe that you are at fault. Many people who feel rejected actually believe that there is something wrong with them, and that is why people do not like them. If this is true in any way, then tell me, did Jesus do anything to be rejected?

The Bible specifically highlights many incidents of people who feel rejected. Hagar was rejected by her mistress, Sarah because of a mistake that Sarah herself has made. It was Sarah who suggested to Abraham to sleep with his maidservant so that he can have a child. And when Ishmael was born, Sarah could not stand the ridicule from Hagar and subsequently from Ishmael that she made Abraham drive out the mother and son.

Leah was rejected by Jacob because she was not as beautiful as Rachel (Genesis 29:14-25). It was not Leah’s fault that she has a sister who has a stunning beauty. The Bible never did mention that Leah was ugly; it only mentioned that Rachel was beautiful. But even though Jacob rejected Leah, God did not. She may not have the beauty that her sister has, but God gave her something equally precious as looks; He gave her children.

In the New Testament, we know about the woman with an issue of blood. She was rejected and shunned by society because she is ceremonially unclean (Mark 5: 25-34). She had to press by the crowd secretly just to receive her healing. When Jesus healed her, He did not only heal her physical problem, Jesus actually removed her rejection and loneliness, and restored her to society.

God accepts you

If you ever do struggle with rejection, remember that God does not reject you. In fact, I believe that for many people, God has kept us from the normal crowd because it is God’s plan to set us apart. God does not want us to be normal, even among Christians. Men’s rejection is God’s protection.

Remember that in due time you will see His deliverance. Just like how God raised David from being a shepard boy to being a king, he can do it for you too. All of his brothers are in the army, and they are obviously of higher status than a shepard boy. But though he may be rejected by the prophet and even his own father, he was accepted by God.

God is all that you need!

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