The Spirit of rejection (or feelings of rejection) may be the most powerful negative force in the life of a believer. The enemy works overtime to cause us to view God as distant, unaffectionate and cold. Nothing could be further from the truth. Zephaniah intimates that God the Father is full of love for us, dripping with excitement:
The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
You may be the most rejected person on earth, but if you are a child of God you are greatly beloved in heaven. The New Testament reveals God’s heart for those who have suffered severe rejection from people.
Take the story of a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years.
She had struggled a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all the money she had, yet instead of getting better her condition grew worse. When she heard about Yeshua, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Yeshua realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Yeshua kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:26-34)
Now before we dissect this passage, I want to remind you of a few things.
1. During those times, there was no Equal Rights Movement. There were no great women leaders. Men were simply thought to be superior to women 2. Women not only could not own property, but they were thought of as property. A potential husband would sign a binding legal document in order to take a bride. Her father would receive a bride price from the groom. “The agreed bride price may or may not be intended to reflect the perceived value of the girl or young woman.” I can only imagine how a young lady may have felt whose father sold her for a low price. 3. A women’s highest goal was to get married and bring sons into the world. Her greatest fear was to never marry or bare children. A women who failed to bring forth sons was often ostracized and treated as an embarrassment to her husband. Sometimes baby girls were abandoned. 4. Paul’s admonition to husbands to love their wives was radical, as husbands rarely showed genuine affection to their wives (of course there were exceptions).
In this light we can only imagine the spirit of rejection that the average woman carried with her. Now, think of this bleeding women, in addition to all that we stated above, she is carrying even more rejection.
She has been bleeding for 12 years. That means that according to Jewish law she has been perpetually unclean. She probably has no friends, as anyone that touched her would become “unclean till evening” (Lev. 15:19). Certainly no man would consider her for a bride, for he would never be able to have sexual relations with her or start a family together.
She may have even been abandoned by her own family, as the passage records that she spent all that she had and doesn’t mention her father. It is conceivable that her father and mother threw her out, calling her ‘cursed’.
I live in the Middle East, where sadly those who suffer misfortune are often thought of as cursed by God. And I am referring to modern culture. Imagine 2,000 years ago! Even in the faith community we are often so foolish and insensitive when we declare with certainty, “You are sick because of your sin. You must be sinning.”
Remember the blind man in John 9, when the disciples asked if he was suffering for his own sin or his parents. Yeshua said he is blind “so the works of God might be displayed in him.” And then He healed him.
Getting back to the woman—she may have been the most rejected woman in her city. But that day her life changed. We often mistake the climax of the story as being when she was healed. She breaks through the crowd, despite being unclean, despite being weak and rejected, and touches Yeshua. Power goes out from Him, corresponding to her faith, and she is healed. He calls her forth and she is terrified, as if she took something that didn’t belong to her.
And here comes the pinnacle of the story. After hearing of her suffering, He looked at her and says these most powerful, life changing words: My daughter.
Now Yeshua was probably about her age, but after suffering so much rejection, to hear a man, a rabbi, one who casts out demons, raises the dead, preaches with authority, and heals the sick, look her in the eye and say, “My daughter,” must have been completely life-changing for the formerly rejected, sickly woman.
That day she found her identity. Daughter of God.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:14-16)
[photo by Jen Sladkov of Maoz Israel]