22nd May 2012

Approval And Rejection

“‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why haveYou forsaken me?’”
Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)

It is a natural instinct for children from an early age to want, or yes even need, approval from parents.  Not receiving approval, and perhaps feeling rejected by a parent or parents when young, can lead to feelings of low self-worth and esteem, depression or other mental illness, and even result in suicide.  A child can feel unlovable, unwanted and unworthy.  Those feelings can also carry on into adult life unless resolved via forgiveness.

The classic example of this in the Bible is that of David.  In 1 Samuel 16:10-12 the Message Bible describes in very straight-forward terms:  “Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel.  Samuel was blunt with Jesse, ‘God hasn’t chosen any of these.’ Then he asked Jesse, ‘Is this it? Are there no more sons?’  ‘Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.’  Samuel ordered Jesse, ‘Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.’  Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health— bright-eyed, good-looking.  God said, ‘Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.’”

Put yourself in David’s shoes – how would you have felt if a parent implied you didn’t count, described you in such a way and in public, to someone who was recognised locally as being a powerful man? (1 Samuel 16:4)  It must have deeply wounded David, and though the Bible doesn’t elaborate, it is likely this was normal treatment growing up for him.  Even becoming king of Israel probably never changed his parents view.  Bible scholars believe this rejection affected David deeply his whole life, speculating he suffered from depression (Psalm 42).

How did others look at David?  In 1 Samuel 16:18 one of Saul’s servants said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valour, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”  How’s that for a reference!

In Psalm 27:10 (MSG) David wrote, “You’ve always been right there for me; don’t turn your back on me now.  Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me; you’ve always kept the door open.  My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in.”  So it would seem that David, such a gifted and popular man, with a string of accomplishments, and whom ‘the Lord is with,’ had feelings of rejection that never truly left him.  Perhaps there are those reading this who also have such thoughts – though of course we’re adults now and the emotional scars are well hidden.

It’s a fact of life that we have imperfect parents … some more imperfect than others!  Teasing aside, dysfunctional families exist, and offspring have to forgive those mistreatments, whether made intentionally or not, however long ago they occurred; however old we are, and even if the parent is dead.  After all, parental rejection is not a child’s fault and human emotions are not logical. 

Jesus Christ on the cross felt that he was abandoned by God (Matthew 27:46) as he atoned for our sins, the sins that separated us from God.  This was the plan (Revelation 13:8).  In Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses…”  God did not reject him.  Jesus Christ had to know what we as human beings might go through, and for some the feeling of rejection from a parent is one of those weaknesses. 

The good news is that because of Christ’s sacrifice we all have access to a Father in heaven who does not reject us, (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, 8, Joshua 1:5) and who can heal those wounds (Psalm 34:18).  Our Father loves us perfectly.  He forgave, and forgives, our sins, even before we repented (Romans 5:8).  He loves us so much that we already have His approval.  And incredible though it may sound, considering the population of this world, each of us is important to God as an individual and unique creation. (Luke 12:7)

 Praise God for that gift of acceptance and the spirit of peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 

Father, thank you for accepting me as your child.  Where there are deep-seated feelings of hurt and resentment, give me the grace to forgive.

Study by Irene Tibbenham

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One Response to “22nd May 2012”

  1. Ian Woodley on May 26th, 2012 6:24 pm

    Hello Irene
    I just wanted to say thank you for your encouraging Day By Day. People can feel abandoned by God – and previous history of being rejected can lead to us fear that God will turn his back on us too.
    It is great to reminded of God’s unconditional love and care for us all.
    Thanks again
    Ian Woodley

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