Self-Protection: A prison of our own making
By: Carole L. Haines
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
God woke me up super early this morning, 4 a.m. It’s my longest work– day this week, so I fought Him a bit on it. But by 4:20 I was up and in the shower. I have several devotionals I use to start my day. I don’t read them all but let Him direct me and then delete the rest. The one He had me in this morning took me deep into a place of needed healing in my life.
“Let Paul’s teaching fill you with a deep, transformative longing to wholeheartedly pursue the life God intends for you. Ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you, to see the grace he’s placed upon your life by the blood of Jesus so that you might walk more fully in the power and anointing of the Spirit. Open your heart to God and let him do a mighty work in you. He is near to you, ready to mold and shape you into a disciple filled with and fueled by his incredible love.”
(Craig Denison, First 15)
Tears began to flow down my face as I made this quote into a prayer. I have suffered through a lot of rejection and misunderstanding in my life. For the person who suffers rejection often in their life, it is a deep hurt, a festering wound that doesn’t seem to want to heal. This is a horrible place from which to live one’s life, but it is nonetheless very real for a lot of people. Rejection leads us into the realm of self-hatred, especially if rejection has begun at a very young age. We constantly doubt ourselves and wonder what is wrong with us. For me, this is the case. I distinctly remember the incident as a child and emotional injury it caused, which I won’t share here. The point is that all healing can only come from one true source, God’s love and acceptance. We can be instruments of healing or harm in each other’s lives, based on how much we allow God’s love to permeate and rule every motivation in our life.
Rejection causes us to withdraw and try to self-protect. But self-protection becomes a prison of our own making, and soon we do not know how to get out. That’s the life I chose, based on that initial childhood wound. Only God can bring the kind of healing needed to a heart imprisoned by rejection from others, which often leads to rejection of self. Jesus Himself was “despised and rejected on men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)
Jesus shows us the way to handle rejection in a right and godly way, It’s two-fold:
1) “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)
2)“While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:23)
The word “entrusting” is only used these two times in all of Scripture. It is defined as a complete giving over of ourselves to someone. Jesus shows us that we must never give ourselves completely over to people, they fail, we fail. Even when we don’t intentionally do this, it happens because we are sinners.
Instead, when Jesus was rejected, He kept entrusting, and only completely giving Himself over, to Him who judges righteously, Our Father in Heaven. This is where freedom has begun for me from the wounds of rejection and the Prison of self-Protection. Following the pattern of my Lord laid out in Scripture, is leading to tremendous freedom and peace. If you have suffered under rejection and built a prison of self-protection around yourself, follow the Pattern of Jesus and He will heal you and lead you out into a glorious freedom.