How past experience tainted my lens in understanding God’s favour
“Let me in.”
“Let me in!”
My friends had locked me outside the room, their resolute attempt to shut me out of their lives for at least a couple of hours. There were many rooms in the “weekend” bungalow that we were staying in and many doors which I could easily open, yet there was only one room I wanted to enter and only one knob I longed to turn. I was left to wait outside the rugged door, body slumped on the floor, hoping that a splinter of empathy would empower them to finally let me in. I was eight years old when I first tasted the bitterness of rejection. While the reasons for them locking me out are trivial in retrospect, the slithers of rejection did not need a rational explanation to inch into the insides of my skull, an octopus that suckered upon the heart of life.
When I was in secondary four, lightning seemed to have struck twice. I learnt that one of my best buddies made friends with me in secondary one only because he thought that I could be a launchpad for gaining influence and popularity in school. The watershed moment arrived when he felt that he made enough friends in the fourth year, whereby he conveniently distanced himself from me. My teenage life was pulled from my bones, shredded and sliced on a plate, ready to serve him. The afternoons spent studying for tests, the hours we played badminton together, the nights chomping down warm french fries at McDonald’s after a long-drawn CCA meeting — four years of “good” friendship all sloshed into a bitter poison I had innocuously drunk and now could no longer spit out.
This bitter taste of rejection was a pernicious disease, discharged into my system and mixing with my blood, unknowing to the naked eye. My love for others eroded to conditional affection, far removed from the ideal of Christ’s laid-down love.
As God played an increasingly major role in my life, I realised that this spirit of rejection, in its multifarious shapes and forms, had broken my ability to accept that I am His highly favoured son. I had won favour in His lighthouse eyes in many ways — I had parents who pledged their selfless love to me, I was placed in positions of influence, I had real friends who believed in me — yet this favour was shut out from my soul in the same way I was physically shut out when I was younger.
Proverbs 8:35 — “For he who finds me finds life and obtains favour from the Lord.” — remained a distant concept, for my lens had been tainted with the sludge of past experience. No matter what good would befall me, I just could not accept and appreciate it; I simply did not believe that I was a blessed son of the Most High. It is curious how the spirit of rejection lives on for so much longer than the memory of that particular incident where one’s heart was battered.
While I am now a “new person” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT) and put with a “new spirit” in me (Ezekiel 36:26 NLT), my soul had internalised the venom of rejection over the years, and it is not always easy to step outside the shadows of my past. Rejection ensured that my heart was tethered from allowing my true identity to take over my being.
The first significant step towards understanding the massive favour God had blessed me with was discovering the truth that I am worthy to be loved. Luke 12:6-7 (MSG) seared this axiom in my heart — “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.”
A good part of my pubescent life had also been controlled by the voice of rejection, with God’s voice a wallflower waiting to be noticed, occupying only but a tiny space in my world. My young mind needed an overhaul, as it was deficient of the Father’s precious thoughts of me; His thoughts ought to define me and not my past experience. I desperately needed His thoughts to fill me up, and clean me out.
“…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22 NASB, emphasis mine)
My identity was established with greater veracity as I approached my Abba Father, boldly asking him, “Dear Father, what are your thoughts about me?” He would begin to speak, and I would pen down His thoughts in faith. Hebrews 4:16 assures us that when we “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God”, we shall “receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
The erasing of rejection from your life could take time, much like the process of forgiveness. However, like the first fruits of spring, it will surely come. As my mind was continuously renewed by His thoughts of me, the heavy gates of my heart was slowly drawn open, allowing the cesspool of rejection to be gradually emptied. I am now able to proclaim that I am His highly favoured son, enabling me to serve Him in the potent knowledge of His unmerited favour upon my life.
If you are nursing a spirit of rejection in you today — be it from others, your circumstance or even God — may you meditate on scriptures that attest your worth as His child, tearing down the walls of inadequacy and shame that coil around you. May His thoughts define you, elbowing the voice of rejection into oblivion. Your past can never snatch away your identity for nobody has earned it; you are His highly favoured child, no matter what.