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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 23 : Fear God, Not Man | Day 157

Cast Out Fear of Rejection!

The context of this command warns us that there will be those who reject us because of our relationship to Christ and His message. “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake ...” (Matthew 10:22). We can rejoice in suffering reproaches for Christ's sake; it is certainly not something we should fear (see II Corinthians 12:10 and Acts 5:41).

However, more often than fearing rejection for Christ's sake, we fear personal rejection by others. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare ... ." The danger of this trap is the temptation to compromise our Godly convictions or be silent about the truth of God in order to gain acceptance from others. Therefore, we must give our reputations to God and focus on what He thinks about us.

“... Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die ... and forgettest the LORD thy maker ... ?" (Isaiah 51:12-13).

What does God say about us as believers? We are chosen, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, and loved. We are part of His household, seated in heavenly places in Christ, and we are His workmanship--just to name a few! (See Ephesians 1:4, 6, 7; 2:4, 6, 10, 19.) Recognizing God's acceptance of us is foundational to conquering the fear of rejection by others and to gaining self-acceptance as well.

Self-acceptance (believing that God created me with all of my unchangeable characteristics in the way that brings Him the most glory) plays an important role in overcoming the fear of rejection. An interesting aspect of human nature is that what we believe to be true in our hearts we find "evidence" to support.

If we reject the way God made us, we will expect others to find us unacceptable as well. Before long we will be experiencing this "rejection" from others in our day-to-day interactions with them, even when this may not have been their intention at all! This is one reason why it is important to guard our hearts and choose to believe only those things that God says are true. (See Proverbs 4:23.)

Fear of rejection from others has its roots in self-rejection.

One of the most effective ways I know to ward off the fear of rejection is to take the offensive and become a channel of God's love and acceptance to others. (See Acts 20:35.) In order to do this, however, we must first receive God's love for ourselves. As we begin to comprehend the depths of God's unconditional love for us and begin to recognize all of the treasures He has given us in Christ, we can then allow God to transform our feelings of rejection into motivations to encourage others.

Here are some practical ways to demonstrate acceptance of others:

  • Greeting people by name with a joyful smile and enthusiasm.
  • Honoring others with a special meal.
  • Giving genuine praise for positive qualities.
  • Offering to do tasks that others would appreciate.
  • Listening sincerely with a compassionate and understanding heart.

Are we experiencing fear of rejection because we have not truly accepted ourselves? Let's believe what God says is true about us, receive the love He wants to give us, and look for ways to show His love and acceptance to those around us!

“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard