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The Rejection Infection

October 7, 2016

The plastic seats were green. The desks a dirty beige. The perfect pale color to make pencil marks easy to read.

That’s how I saw what was making the group of girls in front of me laugh. They looked at me and then added to Jennifer’s desk art: a frizzy-headed stick figure with huge buck teeth and crazed eyes. I knew even before I saw the name scribbled, she’d drawn me. Me. An awful caricature of me.

It’s been years since I sat at that dirty beige desk. But it hasn’t been years since I’ve had those same feelings of rejection and hurt. Of course, they aren’t from girls drawing pictures. But meanness hurts, no matter what age or how it’s delivered.

You can take the girl out of middle school, but for many of us, you can’t take the middle school out of the girl.

If you’ve been hurt in this way, you know what I’m talking about. If we’re a stuffer type of person, we want to withdraw and get away from the source of our hurt. If we’re more of an exploder person, we want to attack so they’ll feel as badly as we do.

But here’s where things get a little complicated. Jesus flies in the face of conventional wisdom and instructs us, “love your enemies.”


Something deep inside us whispers, “Don’t you dare love this person. This situation is the exception.”

Let the internal battle begin.

But what if I were to assure you Jesus isn’t being cruel or naive in His command for us to love? He’s actually showing us how to get free from the sting of another person’s wounds. When we’re wounded, we can either pursue healing by extending love back, or, we can refuse healing and allow the “rejection infection” to set into our wound.

Here are three things to remember:

The Command

My job isn’t to fix my enemies. My job is to be obedient to God in how I deal with them. And He tells us in our key verse how He wants us to deal with those we would label our enemy.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
(Matthew 5:44).

The Caution

If there is abuse, we must get wise people to help us and learn to love from afar. How? By forgiving the person who hurt us — releasing their offense into the hands of God. By trusting God (and others in authority) to reveal to them their wrong and deal with their actions.

But we must also remember this: Forgiveness and restoration don’t always go hand-in-hand. You can forgive someone but not necessarily do everyday life with them. Ask God to give you discernment to know when and how to love from afar.

The Catalyst

So, back to Jennifer and the hurtful drawing. I wish I could relive that moment with the knowledge I have now. Jennifer drew that picture because of her own insecurities. And while it’s tough to have compassion for someone who’s hurting us in the moment of rejection, it is possible to have compassion for their obvious hurt. Hurt people hurt people.

Dig beneath the surface of a mean girl and you’ll find a girl riddled with insecurities and possibly even self-hatred.

Romans 12:20 says, “On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’” (NIV)

Jennifer was hungry and thirsty for affirmation. And the only way she could figure out how to get it was to make those around her laugh at me.

What might have happened if I were to have walked by her desk and given this desperate girl a drink from the living water? “Jennifer, you are beautiful. Do you know that?”

Not in a million years could I have done that in middle school. But I’m not in middle school any longer.

And now’s a good time to remember that.

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  1. Bonnie

    You are being used by God, dear Lysa – keep pointing us to Truth and with Him that is in us – we will overcome evil with His goodness and love!
    May the Lord bless you with wisdom and peace this day, Sister!

    • Carol R.

      Bonnie you are so right. Lysa, the way you present things just reaches into ones soul. You breathe love in your words and beyond that you bring a clarity to scripture on issues that I have never applied to this scriptures. Thank you, Lord for speaking through Lysa to reach your women of faith and grow that faith.

  2. Mellissa

    Thank you for these words of truth. Simple steps, but takes a lot of courage and strength to put into practice!

    • Laurie

      Thank you so much Lysa for all that you do for us! Your ministry is such a blessing! And I have tears in my eyes as I type this request, that anyone reading this would lift my loved ones and I up in prayer- as Satan is using people to hurt me, tear me down and take me back into a really bad pit. Thank you so much- and a prayer for you as well. I thank You God in advance for hearing our prayers, and for Your answers to them. I love You Lord! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

      • Jeana

        Dear Laurie,
        I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your loved ones. Satan loves to keep us in bondage so we are ineffective for Christ. Hold onto Jeremiah 29:11 & remember the sovereignty of God the loving Father!!

  3. afraid to say

    This happened to me this past Wed. What even worse is that I even asked this someone if I was bothering them. The reply was a no. I’m fearful of even writing this here but I knew I was so two of this person friends yelled at me because I admire them. What’s the fine line between admiring someone and idolizing someone. I didn’t respond as I should but I’m tired of being a door mat and make me feel like the ugly duckling. I just have to remember Jesus beaten and nailed on the cross to save me. Another thing I want to pray for them and I don’t know why because the hurt, trust and fear is there. However, I end up praying for them without even knowing it with tears in my eyes.

  4. Patricia

    Hello Uninvited,

    As im looking at the back cover of this book i can see you are a white chic in North Carolina and i am a black chic in Texas, (soon to be in St. Louis, job promotion, Praise God!!) wondering how the heck this book is sooo much about me that its scary and looking right at your picture as i write this email, thinking “How God ?!!” You had to be in the background of my life at some point because this book is WAY on point for me and im just in chapter 5…. I just literally LMBO at the “Dateline show where Keith Morrison’s deep and mysterious voice would say, “It all started with a strange invitation to a strange place with strangers who turned into dangers.” I can’t begin to tell you how that’s my way of thinking. Lol!! How many times because ive been rejected so much that’s what i do in my head. In fact i just had a conversation in “said head” yesterday about moving to St. Louis and not knowing anyone, how i could never trust anyone enough to take a chance at being hurt “again”!!

    This book has opened my eyes wide in just 4 Chapters. You could quite possibly have saved me from myself! You have no idea and without a doubt i know that the Holy Spirit lead me right to this book. I had just got down on my knees praying to God to help me understand another rejection in my life/relationship. It came to me like a ton of bricks. The Holy Spirit gave me the word “rejection”, and the same day “BAM” your book pops up! So here i am learning and opening myself up too what God has for me through the pages of this book!!

    I’ve prayed that prayer on page 25-26 everyday since i read it. I thank you my friend,(yep I’m feeling a friendship developing for this book…it’s as if you’ve camped out in my head at some point!!? Stay tuned and thank you, thank you, thank you????????

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Rhonda Carter

    Lysa – i just finished your book ‘Unglued’ and it has transformed my life. You are truly a blessing to all of us ‘unglued’ women struggling to deal with our emotions & glorify God. Reading your stories was like reading about my life. I feel so encouraged & empowered with practical tools & biblical principles too help me in my daily struggle to choose to honor God with my thoughts, words & actions in the midst of stressful situations.

  6. Sabrina

    Your post struck me, because something similiar happened to me in middle school. It didn’t just happen once but many times. I grew up and thought I had become stronger and now I am a mom and am struggling with friendships now. It is amazing how all those insecurities from your childhood come back to the surface. It has amazing how insecurities grow into fears and anxieties.

  7. Anna

    Wow, I just read this today and I thought of something that happened to me in the first grade!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about mean girls, her name was Patsy, and I thought we were friends, since I was the only one who would play with her on the playground, I never thought she would be mean to me. One day while we were on the play ground on the teter-toter (not sure how you spell it) I was in the air and Pasty jumped off!!!! I came crashing down OUCH!!! I rolled over in pain, I was covered in dirt and my dress was now brown, instead of lavender……I got up and she was laughing, I don’t know what got into me but I ran towards her and shoved her, she fell, the teacher saw what I did and I GOT THE PADEL!!!!!!!!! I’m so giving away my age….When my mom came to get me, the teacher told her what “I had done”, on the way home I explained it all to my mom, and I cried and she loved on me, and told me it was going to be ok….I wasn’t mad at Patsy anymore, but my feelings were hurt. Next day I approached her at school, and she turned her back on me, so I went about my day with other friends, and she played by herself. I found out from the girls that she was mean to everyone……
    I wonder today what kind of childhood she had, I was blessed with good parents who loved me. Wow, can’t believe I remembered that. I guess that was one of my lessons on forgiveness, but also a lesson on “sometimes we have to let go of relationships that hurt us”…..THank You Lord for teaching me to forgive.


    We all know that life has it’s trials. Sometimes it seems like life has more trials than good times, but, that’s how we grow. Life has enough joys to keep us going but hard times have to be expected and accepted right along with the good times.

    Sometimes, though, life hits us with double whammies that knock us for a loop and leave us reeling. That is when we have to really take stock of who we are, where we are and what we are doing. Where do we find the strength to go on???

    In 1999, my husband of 21 years asked me for a divorce. This was not a complete surprise, nor was it unwelcome, despite the fact that being a strong fundamental Christian, I don’t believe that divorce is the answer to marital problems, or the course that God wants us to take for the most part. However, this marriage had been rife with verbal and emotional abuse despite many attempts at Christian Counseling, intervention and LOTS of prayer, so I was ready to let it go. To put it bluntly, I had given up on us, and even though I had committed to staying in the marriage, God, in His grace, released me from it.

    That being said, it was not a time of rejoicing. I mourned my marriage, while at the same time experiencing empty nest syndrome. I felt like I’d been hit with a double whammy! I moved away from our home town and my now grown children were not supportive of this move, so they withdrew from my life. I had to change jobs and churches; all that was familiar was gone. My parents and siblings were extremely supportive, but ultimately, I had to deal with all of this alone. Due to depression and 21 years of drifting away from my God, even He was hard to find.

    But He found me and wooed me back to His side. As I began to cry out to Him; He made Himself very real to me in my pain. He taught me where my comfort really was and Who my comfort was! Every night, He rocked me to sleep, and every morning, I awoke with enough grace to make it through another day. Jesus taught me through many months of this, that His love for man kind was not just a general “whosoever will” kind of love, but a very individual love. Jesus loves ME, not just the world, not just mankind in general, but ME! With all of my sin, shame, flaws, mistakes, human-ness, Jesus loves me. That was a hard lesson for me to learn, but He taught me well and it has strengthened my walk with Him in a very real way.

    In 2001, I remarried; a man of God’s choosing this time. A Godly man, while not perfect, he is perfect for me because God chose him for me. In 2004, Randy and I founded a non-profit ministry involving equine therapy for at risk and special needs children. It was my passion, and I believed it was my life long purpose; what God had put me on earth to do for the rest of my days. While not without it’s trials, life was good and I was content, walking with and serving my God.

    In 2014, we had to close the ranch due to lack of funds, and I was devastated. Then, our beloved pastor was forced to resign in a messy church split, and I felt like I’d been hit with another double whammy! Again, in the pits of depression and mourning these 2 huge losses, I became mad at God and weep-ed and wailed at him for months. How could he do this to me? Why, why, why? How was I to go on, move on, get past this? I had to get a 9-5 job, my husband and I had to file bankruptcy, and I hardened my heart against God for a time. I was desolate, but God never gave up on me, he wooed me back to His side again, picked me up, dusted me off and set me back on the path of His Love. He taught me that despite huge losses in life, I could go on. That HE was all I needed and that I could depend on Him no matter what happened. I learned how faithful God is and that my faith does not depend on my circumstances but only on my Sovereign God.

    In 2016, while not fully recovered from losing the ministry that I believed was my purpose in life, I was hit with another double whammy. We had 2 very intimate family members who had been part of our support group for many years, desert us; while at the same time, I began to lose my health due to depression/medication issues and 2 major back issues. I lost my job and our income plunged. I spent several months on bed rest, unable to function at even a fraction of my former self. I despaired of life itself. But this time there was a difference. Beneath all of the issues and angst, I knew peace, the peace of God, that only HE can give. The lessons from other trials have stuck, I still know that God Loves ME! And I still know that HE is all I need.

    I may not know what my purpose in life is right now, I may not know where we go from here, or how we will get there. I certainly don’t know why, or how or any of those other questions will be answered, but I know whom I have believed in, and am persuaded that HE is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that Day! He is my hope, my joy, my contentment, and in Him I have peace.

    Cindy Prindle
    3252 SW Warnicks Rd
    ST Joseph, MO 64504
    Tel# 816-261-3948
    email: [email protected]

  9. Traci L

    When I watched your video, the last one from Uninvited, my heart broke for you. Then I realized, thanks to the good Lord doing some poking and prodding that I too was looking for approval from my mom. I am 39 years old and she has never given it to me. Never, and I know she hasn’t hugged me or kissed me or even told me she has loved me in a very long time which I admit has left me very emotionally scarred. I began a sort of approval addiction.. I wanted love or at least what I thought was love. In my 1st marriage I put everything into it, heart, soul, love and trust and he cheated on me and left. I was devastated. But our God is a God of 2nd chances and in 2009 I met my husband that I am now married to. We have had a rocky marriage so far but and this is the “God” part, God has been showing me that I married my husband to be a “Savior” to me, which of course doesn’t work. My husband has his own issues, he is not walking with God and he is an alcoholic and has PTSD from his service to our country in Iraq. For the last 6 years its like the blind leading the blind, I have been hurting, he has been hurting and no one looking to the Ultimate Healer. This past weekend I hit rock bottom and that’s when I realized I was going through the motions. I wasn’t letting God have my hurts, frustrations and pain. I wanted love but I didn’t want to become intimate with Christ as the ultimate Healer. I am still angry at my mother for the way she treats me over my sisters. I went into an online bible study the other night and was so full of negativity and anger and jealousy that I had to leave. One person from that study messaged me and said that if I ever needed to talk she was there. I took a chance and began talking to her. Then what cracks me up even more is that I am trying to finish Uninvited–I may get there but I have so many highlights and notes in that book so many things I can relate to, so many mistakes I too have made, anyways in my journal I had written I need a friend I can be accountable too, and immediately I realized God was making a way for me. He blessed me with an accountability partner and though we live 300 miles apart there is text and email. Today when I was driving into work I stumbled upon Nancy Lee Demoss’s radio program. I never really listen to that channel so I know it was a God thing that I started listening and it was like affirmation.. I don’t need my mothers approval, I am a child of the King, it will be all right and then really weird which I usually don’t do, I called my husband up in the middle of the day to talk to him and tell him I am sorry I expected him to be my savior and save me, and I should have been looking to God. It was almost as if my husband was “relieved” anyway we had an awesome conversation something we hadn’t done in months since we were basically teetering toward divorce. I have to remember when things get dark that I don’t like the situation but I love God. Same as approval I don’t need my moms approval to survive I am a survivor with Christ by my side always.

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