Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rejection & God

Josh is the fictitious character in a play and Darren’s got the gig. Darren in real life is from quite a well-adjusted family and his overall life circumstances thus far have brought him safely to this moment in his acting career, yet he has to get his mind around Josh’s vastly indifferent past, and ‘act him’ with genuine empathy and passion. Tough task, no doubt.

See, ‘Josh’ has suffered the same amount of pain and rejection as many do in this day of broken families. Having an alcoholic father and a mother who never coped under the strain, he found his own imperfect ways of coping, shelving thought of bravely facing his reality. His sense of felt rejection has seen him nervously interact with life--his closest relationships are characterised by a seemingly impenetrable surface-level rapport; he won’t let anyone ‘in.’

Darren must somehow find a way to ‘feel’ Josh so as to play him well, convincingly. And it’s not that hard for him the more he thinks about it. Even from his close-to-perfect upbringing there is a tinge of woundedness, for no parent can perfectly protect their progeny from rejection.

The difference for Darren between his own experience and that of Josh’s is Darren’s learned how to successfully cope with his disappointments. For one, he’s had sufficient familial support, as both a mechanism and an affirmation of self-esteem nurture.

When he’s not been accepted he’s not taken it too badly, and he’s even been honest about it in a brave sort of way--fear of failure doesn’t rock his world like it does Josh’s.

The subject of acceptance and rejection brings us to something very relevant we can all do in promoting harmony in all we interact with.

Trust is the both the hardest thing to maintain and the easiest thing to threaten in relationships. It is the precious juice that flows between people wherever there is acceptance; but rejection, particularly in those least equipped to cope, dries up the flow of trust like glue, stifling growth and impacting on people’s wellbeing and their relationships in general. (The confidence of trust just simply evaporates in the presence of rejection for the ill-equipped.)

And there is so much selfish ridicule and rejection in this world. During the recent Eurovision Song Contest the local commentators took no prisoners in slating the various countries’ spokesperson’s as the votes were called in. It seemed that the ‘boring parts’ of the presentation (and there weren’t many) needed filling with so-called humorous anecdotes about what they wore, how they spoke or how confident they appeared.

The world loves selfish ridicule for it never hurts until it does! The world doesn’t understand the impact of hurt because it doesn’t seek to empathise. Suddenly, when people who routinely hurt people are hurt themselves, the revelation is thunderously shocking. Go figure.

Ridicule is essentially rejection veiled in humour. And it reveals a character flawed in its own horrible imperfections. For who would seek to ridicule if they felt soundly accepted within themselves?

We all know implicitly those with the least developed skills in facing rejection and it bodes those of us concerned with doing God’s will to walk gently with these, but this doesn’t help them in the longer term.

The only thing that helps this person--a modern-day Josh--over the longer term is a fearless and comprehensive reliance on God, with all the courage that they can muster. “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.”[1] And when we do this--not only for alcoholics--God delivers; he doesn’t disappoint.

He never rejects us once we’ve accepted his salvation through belief in his Son, Jesus, who bore such shameful and eternally comprehensive, but paradoxical, rejection that we might be saved from the ultimate rejection--that of being cut off from God in eternity for which we’re all bound for!

The harshest rejection in this life is almost nothing in comparison to the acceptance we find in heaven. Go with God, for in him is victory over any rejection.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., Alcoholics Anonymous (a.k.a. “Big Book”) – 4th Ed. (New York, New York: A.A.W.S. Inc., 1939, 1955, 1976, 2001), p. 58.

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