I just discovered Dr. Guy Winch. He emphasizes the importance of emotional first aid. After reading one of his articles and listening to his TED talk, I bought his book. Even though I am just getting into the book, my brain is buzzing from the first part about the emotional trauma from severe and/or chronic rejection.
I’ve been focused lately on the importance of love and belonging – how they provide security and empower us to be our best selves. I’ve been mostly seeing how shame degrades love and belonging but rejection is a huge piece of the puzzle. Shame and rejection seem to be related; shaming someone gives them the sense of being rejected. From what I can tell, rejection can happen independent of shaming – like being excluded even unintentionally from a group activity – but then it leads to us to dumping shame on ourselves. As Dr. Winch notes, “…rejections elicit emotional pain so sharp it affects our thinking, floods us with anger, erodes our confidence and self-esteem, and destabilizes our fundamental feeling of belonging.”
I was pondering rejection in my life. Two of my most persistent and painful memories from my childhood are rejection experiences with my dad. I was also considering rejection in lives of people I know who struggle with emotional trauma and also the damage rejection creates in the churches where I minister. I need to be more aware of rejection experiences.
While pondering all these things, it hit me. God repeatedly makes it clear that he has never rejected us. Seven times he says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” In John 14:18, he tells us, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” In Matthew 28:20, we are told, “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Even to those who ultimately refuse every effort made by God to rescue them, he doesn’t reject them but with tears simply gives them up to their hearts’ desire. Actually, when you look closely at God’s story, the only one who really gets completely rejected is God. By us, his children.
From God’s position, his love for you and your belonging with him, is never in question. I hope the truth of that brings you hope and peace.