Rejection Breeds Rejection

Part three in the series, Lifting the Veil of Rejection.

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ ” the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides.[a] If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ” Matthew 15 10-20 (NIV)

During the past 15 years, the Lord has abundantly blessed me and my family with solid friendships. For these friends found in various parts of our country, I am forever grateful. Further increasing my gratitude for the blessings of today is remembering a time in my life when friendships were scarce.

Being labeled a “doofus†before I even entered junior high, put me on friendship’s blacklist. The fact that I spoke softly and walked funny didn’t help. Although I fantasized about popularity, I really would have been happy among the 80 percent or so of kids who coast by. They may not be considered high school royalty, but they never had food hurled at them, signs taped to their backs, or books knocked off their desks.

I was not alone in my plight. There were others. One may be inclined to think that we all banded together in camaraderie; the old “strength in numbers” concept. But we didn’t. Instead, each of us looked down on the other hoping that we weren’t “as bad.â€

There was one girl in my class named Angie (popular name for baby girls born in the Rolling Stone era that was the 1970’s) who held her head shamefully low because her family had little money. She was taunted mercilessly and combated the ridicule with far-fetched stories about dating Kirk Cameron, which marked her just a head lower than I was on a skewed social totem pole.

Both sadness and relief fit into the motley bag of emotions I felt as our fellow insecure classmates hurled insults at that broken-hearted girl. Sadness because I knew her hurt and I felt powerless to stop them. And, relief because the focus on her meant a break for me.

There was a time when I gave her some of my clothing. At the moment, I did it to help her. Yet, the next day when a teacher complimented her on the new dress she was wearing, I spoke up and announced that it came from me. The teacher sighed, the classmates sneered and Angie whispered, “Thanks a lot. I thought you were going to be my friend.â€

Why did I commit such a mean act? There are probably several ways to answer that question, but I will just list the one that jumps out at me, because it is also most-likely the reason my tormentors had for inflicting turmoil. And I use it not as an excuse, but as fact. I was hurting.

As my former counselor, Jeanne Hensley, wisely says, “Hurting people hurt people.†I am not sure if it was Jeanne who coined that phrase, but it is true. I was hurting and while I didn’t want to make Angie hurt more, I didn’t want her to have positive attention either. I found solace in at least not being despised as much as she was and I wanted to keep it that way.

Now I am older and wiser, which means I should know better. And most of the time, I do. But there are still moments, where feelings of rejection creep up on me and I react with carnal instinct instead of with love and self control.

And isn’t it ironic how that when a veil of rejection is worn, it breeds more rejection? When I am fearful of being deemed unworthy, I can act in an unsightly manner. Examples vary, but I’ve been prone to dance on both ends of the spectrum, flirting with sarcasm, toying with snobbery and judgment, and embracing awkwardness.

But when I hold my head high and walk as though I am holding the hand of a mighty King, which indeed I am, His confidence exudes. He lifts that veil off my face as a groom lifts the veil of his bride. And when that veil is gone, I see far beyond myself and my pain. I see my calling…the same calling we all have, the call to love others.

10 Responses to Rejection Breeds Rejection
  1. Julie Todd
    July 23, 2008 | 11:59 am

    Great job, Angela.

    I loved your post.


  2. Angie
    July 23, 2008 | 12:25 pm

    Such a good post. Thank you for your transparency and exposing what we all have surely experienced at least on some level. I also think of Jesus being rejected by the leaders of His day and even in His home town. He understands doesn’t He?

    Oh, and the imagery of Him pulling the veil back gave me goosebumps. What a freeing thought!

    Another Angie

  3. Amanda
    July 23, 2008 | 6:03 pm

    VERY well written Angela. You sure do have a gift!

    Many blessings-

  4. Carol
    July 23, 2008 | 9:25 pm

    This was a very powerful post. Thank you!

  5. Karen
    July 23, 2008 | 10:21 pm

    You have me thinking about April – probably the counterpart in my junior high to the Angie in your story. Why were we so mean to her? How is she doing now? Does she still hurt even though it’s been twenty-five years?
    I was not among the popular crowd. I took my share of hits, too. But as you said, out of my hurting I was willing to hurt others. I wish I could see April now and apologize.

  6. Sarah
    July 23, 2008 | 10:52 pm

    I LOVE your last paragraph…how true it is, and what an amazing picture you created with your words, thank you.

  7. Jaime
    July 24, 2008 | 10:20 am

    Fabulous post. I think we have all been the rejected and the rejectee in some form. So glad there is grace to cover both sides. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. Tonya
    July 24, 2008 | 1:46 pm

    That was a powerful post. I didn’t go through the hard time with school and friends. I was really involved with my youth group. But I think this post speaks to me with my kids and why they try and hurt each other. I really hope they aren’t hurting but I think it is worth a good look. Thanks.

  9. Genny
    July 24, 2008 | 3:21 pm

    I appreciate the reminder to always love others. Beautiful, Angela.

  10. Tracy
    July 25, 2008 | 12:17 pm

    This was SO POWERFUL. I saw myself in so many places here, all of which you describe with exacting detail. Thank you for this reminder to ALWAYS extend the grace that has been granted to me.