Sunday, October 29, 2006

Inferiority and Rejection: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-16

Pray & Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-16

Opening thought: Butch

'Butch' came for counseling with a written list of past events which had preceded an unstable marriage and the birth of five children. The ever growing and tightening rings of rejection were obvious:

1. 'My mother considered my conception was too close to my elder brother. ..,

2. 'My birth was precipitated by my mother having a fall two weeks before I was due to be born. It was a very quick delivery. ..,

3. 'My parents were extremely poor at the time. ..,

4. '1 suffered from traumatic and terrifying dreams in early childhood. ..,

5. 'My earliest recollections were of feeling rejected and being full of fear. When my next sister was born I was not much more than two years old, and still remember the feelings of absolute devastation on being separated from my parents for three weeks. ..,

6. 'For 10 years I was a middle child, then another sister was born...'

7. '1 was a very insecure child, always demanding attention and generally being difficult. For punishment I was usually shut in my bedroom until I was prepared to be nice ...,

8. 'I thought my rejection and punishment were caused by being caught, rather than being the result of bad behaviour ...'

9. ' Although I had no problem coping with my schooling, I constantly felt socially inadequate. ..'

10. ' As a boy I was a petty thief, although I never needed what I stole. I was never caught, and lied shamelessly to avoid any possibility of blame. In fact, I still have difficulty in confessing wrong. ..'

11. 'In early adolescence I indulged in sexual fantasies, initially tq cope with the assorted fears which ruled my life and made sleep difficult. This led to a lustful pre-occupation with the female form. Even now I have to battle constantly against lustful thinking. '

One of the most interesting features of 'Butch's' rejection syndrome was that it was not deliberately caused by his parents. 'My parents were good living, loving, nominal Christians who treated their family well. My father was a kind, gentle, sensitive person. My mother administered the discipline.

His growing sense of rejection came from three sources. Firstly, he was an innocent victim of the timing and circumstances of his birth and early life. No one was to blame. Secondly, his own introvertive reactions to each rejection experience added further layers. Thirdly, his attention-seeking activities of naughtiness, stealing, and lying, together with his sexual fantasy and masturbation only added to his self-rejection and fears.

Henry:One final instance of this childhood through adulthood increasing syndrome comes from 'Henry', a 40 year old who reluctantly came for help:

1. His father was murdered and his mother 'slept around'. As a boy he lived with his grandmother who died when he was 7 years old. He then returned home to a stepfather whom he believes was 'demon-possessed' and who used to physically abuse the family.

2. At 9 years of age, 'Henry' tried to murder his stepfather with a knife, but his intended victim rolled over in the bed, just as he struck.

3. He kept running away from home, and lived in a railway station for six months. At 10 years of age he responded to an altar call and felt God was there to help him.

4. At the age of 12, he was committed to the care of a minister of religion who turned out to be a homosexual. When propositioned, he refused.

5. Vietnam was a heavy experience for 'Henry' and he suffered the rejection all the veterans felt on returning home. His sexual experiences with the Vietnamese bargirls and other women are not suitable to print.

6. He admitted to having been a 'hit-man' and a social and religious rebel. Some of his confessions must remain confidential.

Henry' had previously had some bad experiences when people tried to help him, and was wary of further ministry. But God did a real work in him. Regrettably, I lost contact with him after a week. I later learned that he had returned to one of his more frequent places of residence -prison, but a recent report was that he is again facing up to spiritual realities.[1]

Textual Notes:

  1. The Lord knows you intimately (Psalm 139:1-6)
    1. He is very interested in every aspect of our lives. Many of us live like Deists, as if God is not concerned with everything about us, but leaves us to make a lot of decisions and live our lives on our own, checking in with Him for important things like births, weddings, funerals, and maybe where I should go to college. He is interested in every part of our lives.
  1. The Lord planned you and formed you for a purpose (139:13-16)
    1. You are not a product of chance. You are not an accident. You were planned by the Lord, even if you were conceived out of wedlock, not expected by your parents, God planned you.
    2. What the Lord thinks of you (Matthew 6:26; 10:29-31)

    1. Your worth in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:14-17).


Causes of REJECTION: Psalm 27:10; 68:5

Far and beyond the most widespread problem among people

AAlthough my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].@ Psalm 27:10 Amplified. Robs a person of John10:10 living. Two symptoms: Constant desire assurance of self-worth and for physical love.

Psalm 27:10 (AMP): 10Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].(A)

Psalm 68:5 (NKJ): 5 A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.

REASONS for Rejection (not absolute or exhaustive)

1. Manner or timing of conception

a. Out of wedlock, in anger, rape, incest, adultery, drug-dependent relationship, unwanted, strain on family budget, last of large family, middle child, bad timing for family

b. Example: Marvin=s daughter.

2. Received in mother=s womb (in utero)

a. circumstances surrounding mother, father=s displeasure

3. Manner of birth

a. Born very quickly (not enough time in canal), sudden exposure to cold, lights, born with instrumental assistance, born after long exhausting labor, Caesarean section (C-section babies sometimes often have difficulty estimating distance between themselves and objects, frequent accidents, particularly head injuries.)

4. Baby not bonded with mother

1. Mother cannot produce enough breast milk, child in incubator long term

5. Parental disappointment with baby’s sex.

6. Adopted child

7. Child of divorce

8. Home environment of criticism. Words – derogatory comments made by a parent in the heat of moment do deep damage. “I hate you.” “I never wanted you in the first place.” “You were an accident.” “You are such a bad kid.” “You are so stupid.” “I would gladly give you away but no one would have you.” Talking bad about one’s children in front of them.

9. Poverty in the home or sudden change in family standard of living.

10. Hereditary B rejected parents sometimes produce rejected children

11. Physical disabilities limiting learning ability or preventing them from playing sports; speech impediments.

12. Pampered or spoiled child.

13. Over criticized, over disciplined, victimized, ignored.

14. Parents fighting in the home create a feeling of insecurity and rejection. Even talk of divorce or separation has a deep affect on children. They blame themselves.

15. Sometimes a child of one ethnic or mixed ethnic group.

16. Domineering or Weak Parents. Stern, legalistic, or over disciplinary father will make children feel rejected. Fathers who are weak-willed, apathetic, or dominated by their wives will cause rejection.

17. Favoritism, real or imagined, can cause rejection. Parents giving more care or attention to one child b/c of illness or injury.

18. Alcoholism or other drug-use in the home.

19. Absence of parents from their children’s extra-curricular or school activities.

20. In School

a. Being sent to a Boarding School, Teacher, other students, being bullied, called names, sickness, constant criticism, perceived injustice, deformity, expelled, fire in home, trauma, no interest of parents in schoolwork, major negative change in home

21. Molestation

22. One=s own attitudes

a. Shame, unattractive, bad sexual experience, guilt over unwanted pregnancy, an abortion in teen years,

23. Later in Life

1. Jilted, crime, divorce, menopause/mid-life crisis, job or company loss (especially men), becoming bed-ridden, financial disaster, moral lapse in spouse, an adult child taking sides between parents, refusing or inability to have relations with spouse. Inability to bear children.

Symptoms of Rejection

· Aggressive reactions

o Refusing comfort

o Rejection of others

o Emotional hardness or harshness

o Skepticism, doubt, unbelief

o Aggressive attitudes

o Thoughts or acts of revenge

o Swearing, foul language

o Argumentativeness

o Stubbornness, defiance

o Rebellion, fighting

· Self-rejection symptoms

o Low self image

o Inferiorities

o Sadness, grief, sorrow of a crushed spirit

o Self-accusation and self-condemnation

o Inability or refusal to communicate

o Fears of all kinds

o Anxiety, worry, or depression

Worldly ways of handling Rejection

  • Anger, rebellion. Psychosomatic illness such as a type of arthritis caused by buried resentment and anger
  • Deny reality, withdraw from others, family
  • Depression when convinced that nothing will ever change.
  • Alcoholism or other drug use
  • Sexual gratification
  • Food, then overweight, rejection gets worse

Let’s look at some men in the Bible, two of whom struggled with inferiority, or rejection.

Paul (2 Corinthians 7:1-10)

Even very talented and gifted people suffer from feelings of inferiority and rejection. Paul seems to have suffered in this way. In his relationship with the Corinthian church, we find his fears rise to the top.

There were four letters total to the Corinthians and three visits (2 Cor 13:1-2). There was a first, lost letter (1 Cor 5:9-13), instructing the church not to associate with sexually immoral people. Then Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to clear up a misunderstanding about the first letter and respond to reports from Chloe’s household in Cenchrea (1 Cor 1:11; 7:1), the seaport of Corinth, that the situation had deteriorated into factions . Timothy (1 Cor 4:17; 16:10; Acts 19:22) had brought back news of an unhappy reception of 1 Corinthians (2 Cor 1:1), and it placed a heavy anxiety on Paul. He made a hurried “painful visit” (2 Cor 2:1) which ended disastrously and with great humiliation for Paul (2 Cor 12:21). He later sent a “severe letter” (2 Cor 2:2-4; 7:8), also lost, by Titus (who was a little tougher guy than Timothy). Impatient for news and afraid, Paul went to Troas and waited a short time for Titus (2 Cor 2:12-13; Acts 20:1), but Titus did not come back in time. Struggling with anxiety over the church (2 Cor 7:5), Paul then continued on to Macedonia where Titus caught up with him (2 Cor 2:13; 7:6-7) and brought back a good report to Paul on the way (2 Cor 7:7-9). Any breach between Paul and the Corinthian church was healed. Titus then volunteered to go back again, promote the Jerusalem Famine Fund (2 Corinthians 8:16-17) and take the letter of 2 Corinthians.

Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-6)

Here God recruits a young man around seventeen. See v. 4-6. Do these excuses sound like yours?

Moses – Exodus 3:9-12; 4:1-12).

Moses protests three times. “What if they don’t believe me?” (4:1). “I’m not good with words!” (4:10). “Please get someone else.” (4:13). Moses shows us that the way we see ourselves colors how we interpret everything around us. Here was God and all this opportunity before him, and Moses could only see his inadequacies.

  • Abandoned by his mother at three months in a basket on the Nile (Exodus 2:3)
  • Forced to act like an Egyptian, knowing he was really an Israelite (Exodus 2:5-10)
  • Rejected by a fellow Hebrew as thanks for killing the Egyptian who was beating him, “Who made you a judge or ruler over us?” (Exodus 2:11-14)
  • Pharaoh tried to have him killed when he heard about Moses’ deed, and Moses had to flee to Midian, giving up a life as an Egyptian prince and military officer. (Exodus 2:15)
  • Lived a rejected life as an exile among the Midianites. (Exodus 2:22)

After fleeing to the desert of Midian to flee the murder of an Egyptian, having given up the opulent life of a royal prince, imagine after forty years as a sheepherder his inferiority must have been overwhelming. We see its effects in Moses’ response in Exodus 3:11.

Low self-image – Exodus 3:11: It sounds like humility, but from the rest of the conversation we find out that he is really plagued by self-doubt.

Insecurity – (Exodus 3:13): Moses had no confidence in his own abilities, even though God promised to be with him.

Fear of Man – (Exodus 4:1) God gave him three signs in response.

Sense of Inferiority – (Exodus 4:10, 13) Moses was reluctant to go because of his own low evaluation of himself. He didn’t want the responsibility because he felt so inadequate. He had a strong fear of failure because of his rejection.

Moses was obedient and saw the Red Sea part and 2 million Hebrews saved. He went on Mount Sinai and watched God write the Ten Commandments with His own finger. He led the Israelites for 40 years. Some 1500 years later, Moses, the first deliverer, appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration, spoke to Jesus Christ, the greatest of all deliverers (Luke 9:30-31; Romans 11:26-27).

Amos (Amos 7:12-15)

If anyone should have felt inferior, it should have been Amos. Amos demonstrates how the Lord can transform people who will keep their eyes focused on Him.

Amos had learned the secret of 2 Corinthians 7:10,

Worldly Sorrow and Godly Sorrow: Worldly Sorrow brings death

Godly sorry brings repentance and life

2 Corinthians 7:10 (AMP) – 10For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].

Illustration of Sue from Noel Gibson, Excuse Me, your rejection is showing, 65ff.


Overcoming Rejection

  • Give daily Bible reading a high priority (Psalm 119:97-100)

Psalm 119:97-100 (AMP): 97 Oh, how love I Your law! It is my meditation all the day.(A) 98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies, for [Your words] are ever before me. 99 I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers, because Your testimonies are my meditation.(B) 100 I understand more than the aged, because I keep Your precepts [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them].

  • Enjoy warm friendship with Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:7-14)
    • Put Jesus first and throw away your own plans (v. 7-8)
    • Turn your back permanently on guilt from the past (v. 13)
    • Press on and never, never give up (v. 14).
  • Repentance. Without it, sin is trivialized.
    • Ask God to show you how He sees sin. A Godly hatred for sin will make successful resistance easier.
    • Ask the Lord to help you recognize and obey the inner voice of the Holy Spirit.
    • Develop a resistance to those old temptations. Ask the Holy Spirit to equip your conscience with alarm bells to warn you about thoughts, habits, desires which defeated you in the past.
    • Aim to be unashamed of your life, what you think, want, or do.
  • Healing from demonic attack. Some have lost control in this area, and commanding the enemy to leave through repentance, forgiveness, and the command to leave, may be essential.


[1] Noel Gibson, Excuse Me . . . Your Rejection is Showing, 74-75.