There are few things in life that feel as devastating as being rejected.
Not getting picked for red rover or getting back the NO box checked on your love letter has the same effect. However, these small rejections can help prepare us for the same pattern in the future, but we are never prepared for rejection by those who previously accepted us. Some of the darkest seasons of life are to have a dear friend, spouse, child, or family member cut you off and dismiss you. Now, sometimes these things happen because of us and our unwillingness to engage rightly, but other times people just ghost us with no ability to connect and they ignore us in life to the point of depression and despair, never communicating a reason, and worse, giving no opportunity for resolution.
As difficult as it may sound, there is little we can do when we are “ghosted” by others but there are some things that we need to keep in mind about the whole experience.
It Could Deny the Gospel. Sometimes, people are forced to ghost others out of terror of what others may do or think. And there have always been cultish philosophies that use religion and the Bible to separate people in contradiction to its teaching. Those people deny the gospel. Those people mock the nature of God revealed through His Son who would never reject His people and would never abandon them. I digress for the sake of future writings, I will focus on this more in my teaching, and have, according to the Scripture for those who believe. And let me be clear, anyone who says that they can divorce other people in the name of conscience or scripture is a fool as the means of discipline are only found in the counsel and polity of a local assembly, with no exceptions. For those who are not in the faith, this may not make sense. I am happy to discuss it and answer any questions. I can be reached here.
Sometimes It Is Inevitable. When other people are incessantly attacking or abusing us we have no choice but to get to safety. Sometimes standing against paranoid, vitriol, manipulative, fanatical, and narcissistic individuals are the best remedy. Once in a safe position, with mediation, reconciliation may be possible, but never alone. Ever. BTW, the Church has an obligation to protect people from this type of stuff. Especially predatorial people who use social media, texts, emails, or phones to harass or persistently address a person against their will. Honestly, this type of behavior is criminal and pure evil. Rarely do these people ever change. Be safe. If they ghost you, let them go.
Boundaries Are OK. Depending on the situation and circumstances, it is healthy to set boundaries in every relationship. Communicating feelings and what is and is not acceptable goes a long way in keeping clarity and care in check. Setting boundaries also requires tact and integrity. Unreasonable expectations out of fear can often lead to further isolation and separation, however, when the need is there, especially for safety, hard boundaries are required. A good test of integrity is when both parties are peaceful and able to discuss these things without emotion. Someone unwilling to measure good communication and resolution by reasonable boundaries has bigger issues at play. For the believer, we have the instruction of the Bible to guide us on how things are to be handled in the mind, the mouth, and motives. For one to claim to be in the faith of Christ and ignore those instructions, they lie and do not practice the truth.
Focus on Compassion. Have compassion for those who doubt. Have compassion for those who hurt you. But compassion does not mean allowing abuse, lies, and destructive talk, including gossip and character assassination. For our own good and freedom, we must consider the fact that even when others treat us wrongly or assume and assault us internally, they are in misery. And while it may be vindicating at times to consider this, we ought to have compassion on those who suffer, even when they have brought the suffering to themselves. This attitude helps us avoid resentment and missing opportunity for reconciliation. If we are bitter and angry, then when our offenders come around, it’s easy for us to ‘ghost’ them and reject them. This is not a good thing. I will repeat, however, in situations of abuse and terror, we must never permit reconciliation discussion alone. It is a dangerous opportunity for skilled individuals to turn their dirty work into our problem or fault.
Walk with True Friends. This seems like an easy principle, to walk with those who we know are good friends and who love us unconditionally. But, when we feel the brokenness and fear of rejection, it can drift over into paranoia that begins to affect our true friendships. Without personal, face-to-face evidence, we should never listen to others or our own minds when making judgments about the intentions of others. God has never given a human on this Earth that ability and anyone who claims to know the intentions of another person are, according to the Bible, acting purely evil. Something I have learned in the last few years is that I can count on and give the benefit of the doubt to those people who have walked with me for years, even decades. They are unmovable and I know them. It is often new relationships that start to tear at the fabric of genuine intimacy. Whether it be mental illness, cult fanaticism, political insanity, arrogance, or jealousy, when a new person begins to cast doubt on solid relationships you can take it to the bank that it is a lie of their own imagination. Avoid these people and use common sense.
Don’t Opine or Complain. Pray for them, and keep them out of your conversations with others. Don’t feed the bitter root of deceit that sprouts so easily when you feel like a victim. The more you talk and moan the more control that person has over your mind and life. When people know they have your attention, they will be like a terrorist and continue the fear. Complaining also poisons our good relationships, our spiritual lives, and our minds. When we focus on the behavior of other people we are unable to live effectively in our own walk of life. There is a reason that Paul commands mature people to never complain or share complaints and to never groan or moan or fuss about any situation or person. Boy, don’t we have a long way to come as a so-called Christian culture. (What a joke.) Focus on what is good and avoid even the ideologies of a bad experience. One of the most offensive things to my conscience is when people make remarks about a problem in a joking manner as if it didn’t involve the lives of real people. My family has been hurt so deeply through the years by this type of behavior that the emotional scars and damage are irreparable. Don’t complain about anyone, ever.
Be Grateful for those who are in your life. In the midst of great pain know that you are blessed and approved because of what God has done for you and for the true relationships that seek resolution according to grace and love. Those people will remain in your life and we all should be thankful for them, every single day. Anyone who must have you think and agree with certain aspects of charity in order to be in your life is a menace. In other words, true love never gives ultimatums, EVEN ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS. This is hogwash at its highest, pure trash that is to be avoided. Thank God for the true friends He has given you and don’t let the actions of others and their rejection boil over and burn the feet of those who stand with you. It’s tough, but together, we can all stand.
Reconcile as You are Able. Reach out in the beginning and remain open to discussion. When they don’t respond, let it be. Let the ball remain in their court. Fight the temptation to think you have to prod or pester someone and by all means, never respond with assumptions, accusations, or passive-aggressive guilt-tripping. Let them be in their thoughts, ideals, and misery. Eventually, if they are truly friends or love you, they will come back, seeking to humbly restore the relationship with no strings attached. No conditions. No abuse of Scripture. No impatience.
Patient people are wise. Wisdom permits hearing without moving our position, especially about people we know do or once loved us.
I am talking to the people who have ears to hear. God will handle the rest. And in the end, when someone finds themselves alone and unloved, they need to take a good look in the mirror and see who’s really behind the means that brought them there.
How do you manage rejection? I’m still working on it myself.
What things do you do when hurt by others that have been fruitful toward reconciliation?
How do you pray for your enemies? Or do you?