Self-Rejecting People


If He doesn’t reject you, then why would you reject yourself?

One of my favorite questions for my mentees . . . “If you open your car door and accidentally ‘ding’ someone’s car, what do you say to yourself in the moment?” As long as I remember, my answer’s been the same . . . “You idiot!” I might ask 10 before I find one who says, “That was dumb” or “I wish I hadn’t done that!” Notice the subtle difference. My answer shows a self-rejecting inner voice. That rare bird who says, “That was dumb” has separated a careless moment from his identity.

Sometimes self-rejecting people can become so down on themselves they become what I call ‘black hole’ people. No matter the amount of praise piled on, it leaks right out the bottom of their soul. Pay them a genuine compliment and they won’t actually accept it or believe it. Often they’ll work themselves crazy trying to get praise they ultimately reject. On the other hand, self-accepting people take things in stride. They realize they’re not perfect and never will be. They grasp that those who might judge them aren’t perfect either . . . in reality, it’s a level playing field.

Over these last weeks, I’ve had more time alone than I can ever remember. While in relative seclusion, tons of people have prayed for me, reached out via email, text and voicemail. And God Himself has been so present with me through this whole lung transplant process. One morning, my shaky hand knocked over a full glass of water. Out of my mouth came “That was stupid!” “What?” I thought. “I didn’t condemn myself!” Without thinking, God seems to have moved me a little more away from self-rejection and toward self-acceptance. It seems like a distinction without a difference but I don’t think so. “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket” is a truism I’ve believed for a long time. I think it comes from Matthew 15:18 . . .

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.

When Jesus took your personal sin, (yes yours . . . remember, He knows your name and everything about you) and paid the price of His life for it, He assigned the same worth to your life as He assigned to His own. Imagine that. An even trade . . . Jesus’ life for yours. That’s amazing love right there! When you and I decide to accept His gift of a new, forgiven life, we recognize how much He values us. We’re clean in His eyes . . . new creations. Sinless forever because of His sacrifice. Grasp that and you’ll think differently about yourself. You and I are objects of His affection. That’s why He stays with us all the time. We are that valuable to Him! When we realize our new life in Him, our status in His eyes, the only response that makes any sense is gratitude. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Jesus.

The next time you say something bad about yourself, remember you’re cursing someone Jesus loves personally. If He doesn’t reject you, why would you continue to reject yourself?

“The powers of darkness around us are strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people.” -Henri Nouwen

Prayer – Ask God this question “Lord, what do you think of me? How do you see me Father?” and listen to what He says.

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