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If you’re excluded from one group, you automatically belong to another.
If someone hates you, then someone else loves you.
If you’re forgotten by one person, you’re remembered by another.
If someone goes out of their way to reject you, that means you’re significant.
How can these statements be true?
Belonging is conserved. You can’t unbelong yourself from everyone else that exists or has ever existed.
You have a built-in community. You have an identity made in God’s image which means you’re somebody even when you feel like a nobody.
Recognize When Rejection is Good
When you reject yourself, you deceive yourself. This is temporary rejection (God accepts you, man rejects you, and you reject you).
If you reject God and God rejects you, you’ve lost everything. This is bad rejection (God rejects you, man might reject you, and you reject you).
If you’re rejected by the people that reject God, then you belong with God. When you’re enemy rejects you, you only gain. This is good rejection (God accepts you, man rejects you, but you accept you).
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
-Psalm 118:6-8, 22
Jesus, the cornerstone, had a lot to say about belonging and rejection.
The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
For the one who is not against us is for us.
Turn Your Rejection Into Belonging
The less you know yourself, the more rejection stings because you need others to help you learn how to accept yourself.
Think about the worst rejection you’ve ever had to face. Perhaps you craved the attention of so-and-so, but they poured contempt on you. Or you trusted so-and-so and they betrayed you. That’s the worst feeling ever.
What happens when you’re rejected? You just figured out where you don’t belong, which means you also found where you do belong.
Review times of rejection and allow these experiences to strengthen the sense of who you are. For example, so-and-so tells you they no longer want to date you because you’re too quiet. You belong with the people that appreciate you being soft-spoken.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.