noun re·jec·tion \ ri-ˈjek-shən \
: the act of not accepting, believing, or considering something : the state of being rejected
At the end of this month, I shall be 38 years old and I have only recently discovered that…
…my dad does not love me.
Needless to say, to make so shocking a discovery so late in life is akin to a sucker punch. It would almost be like assuming for 30+ years that you had been in a happy marriage only to find out that your husband was a bigamist and had a beautiful, young wife and children living elsewhere.
Anyway, let me give you some backstory…
As a young man, my father went on what I guess one could call a Christian version of a vision quest. He stayed in the woods for several days, fasting. Eventually, he had a vision of Christ, seated before a long table, with a lavish feast before Him. For the poor, hungry, young black boy, this extravagant feast was breathtaking. Christ asked my dad if he was with Him. My dad replied that he was. Christ also handed my dad a sword and told him to preach His word.
My dad eventually met and married my mother. He had other spiritual experiences. My mother vividly recalls a church service during which several Christians gathered around my dad and prayed for him; he began crying and speaking in tongues.
Thus, there were spiritual highs, but, I guess my parents eventually settled into a life of carnality. We regularly attended church as a family for some years; then, we did not. My dad lost interest in church and the entire family followed suit.
My dad eventually moved out, when I was nine, and married another woman.
Things were strained between my dad and myself for several years. He enjoyed his new life and often seemed irritated when he had to spend time with me during visitations.
As a teenager, the Lord Jesus began drawing me back to Himself; I began reading the Gospels and I rededicated my life to Christ. I began to see my dad through eyes of mercy: He had grown up without a father; he had survived Vietnam. I suppose it was no wonder that he was emotionally cold toward me as I was growing up.
Over the years, my dad and I eventually developed a decent relationship–or so I thought. We would chat somewhat regularly over the phone. When his birthday and holidays came around, I would spend hours online trying to find just the right gifts for him.
Fast forward several years…
My dad’s second wife died of cancer. Prior to her death, Trayvon Martin was killed. Around this time, my dad began toying with the idea of becoming an atheist. He blamed God for all the injustices that Black people have experienced–indeed, for all of the injustices all over the world (of course, we now know that Martin’s father is a Freemason and that Martin’s death, like many tragedies, was probably a sacrifice, but that is a subject for another time).
Anyway, about a year later, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Despite such shocking news, I suppose I developed an idealized vision of what my dad’s final days would be like: We would spend beautiful time together as a family, going over photos, recalling lovely memories, talking about God.
This was not to be.
When a person becomes gravely ill, matters of money and inheritance inevitably arise and that is when you discover how much you truly mean or meant to a person. I would rather not go into the details. Suffice it to say that I was virtually disregarded entirely. Everything was left in the hands of my sister. Through a series of heated, even explosive exchanges, I discovered a side of my father I never even knew existed, a side that was dark, cruel, hateful.
For one to fully appreciate the impact of my dad’s rejection on me, I must, once again, go back in time…
For some reason, I was just not one of those kids toward which other kids gravitated. I had a couple of years where I was liked, but for most of my childhood and school-age years, I was rejected, bullied, picked on. I was not one of the cool kids or one of the pretty girls. In fact, I vividly recall being called “ugly [expletive]!” on more than one occasion, by different individuals with no ties to or knowledge of each other. For a young, adolescent girl, being called ugly [expletive] over and over again does quite a number on your self-esteem.
My elder sisters and extended family members did not seem particularly fond of me either. My cousins had their cliques, of which I was not a part. My maternal grandmother had her favorites. I was not one of them.
I did not fare much better in Christian youth groups. I remember going away on a Christian youth retreat. The entire time, I roamed about the campsite, looking for the other kids–these “brothers and sisters in Christ” purposely avoided me like the plague. Even when I went to a Christian high school, I was often alone; my locker was messed with several times: Once, my combination lock was stolen; another time, it was opened and placed on my locker backwards (the school supplied the locks, so I assume the pranksters had inside knowledge regarding the combination of the lock–I suspect it was the principal’s son and his cronies).
I realize that just because young people attend a Christian youth group or a Christian school does not automatically mean that these young people are indeed born again, but these rejections both inside and outside of the Church left me with many emotional calluses.
I cannot say I have been particularly popular in my corporate career either. I am an introvert, a loner. I am certain that at some point in my life, I decided that I would simply “flip the script,” so to speak, as a survival mechanism: Instead of giving people the power to reject me, to decide that I was not cool enough to hang out with them, I would reject them first. I would simply keep to myself and enjoy my own company and God’s. Unfortunately, in the corporate world, extroverts are the stars. Being extremely introverted leads people to accuse you of not being a team player, at best, and of being rude and insubordinate, at worst.
Anyway, such has been my life: rejection from school-age peers, rejection from church youth-group peers, rejections in the professional sphere, not to mention numerous romantic rejections (though these were instances of being unequally yoked so, in hindsight, these rejections were for the best).
All of this could have been and has been endured. But when your parent rejects you, one can only conclude, Something must really be wrong with me. There must truly be something awful and repulsive about me. Even my parent does not love me.
God was Rejected
One of the most important things we must realize is that the rejecter does not determine the worth or value of the one being rejected.
There is no one and nothing more precious and priceless than God and yet God was and continues to be rejected:
- God was rejected by Lucifer and a host of angels (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:11-19).
- God was rejected by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; they chose to obey Satan rather than God (Genesis 3).
- God was rejected by Israel throughout the Old Testament (Judges; 1 Samuel 8:7; Psalm 78; Ezekiel 16).
- God was rejected when He came to Earth, in the flesh (Isaiah 53; Luke 19:13-14; John 18:39-40, John 19:15).
God continues to be rejected by millions of humans every day. He understands the pain of rejection.
Psalm 27:10 – When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
Years ago, when I would read Psalm 27:10, I never thought it would specifically apply to me, or that I would understand it on such a personal level. Now, this scripture has become very close to my heart.
Oddly enough, rejection has its perks: Once I realized that virtually no one wanted me, once everyone rejected me, I reached out to the Lord Jesus. It’s kind of funny, but it sort of reminds me of those quirky romance movies in which two societal rejects, outcasts, misfits find each other and fall in love.
We can find love and acceptance in God!
Genesis 1:31 – And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.
6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.
Malachi 3:17 – And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Colossians 3:4 – When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
The Bible is full of examples of people who were rejected by others, but taken up and embraced by God:
9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac….
14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
Genesis 29:31 – And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him….
18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him….
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt….
1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
John 16:32 – Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
2 Timothy 4:16-17
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Rather than desiring the world’s acceptance and giving the world an opportunity to continually reject us, we must reject the world and draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
My family situation is still unfolding. It is messy, it is stressful, it is depressing, and I am praying that it will come to a speedy resolution. But, whatever happens, I must remember whose I am and who I serve (Acts 27:23).
James 4:8 – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…