Yesterday, one of my kids said to me, “Daddy, my teacher said my artwork was awful. She said it looked like a 2 year old’s work.”
I was taken aback, seeing as though my kid is in middle school. Surly, this teacher is professional enough to know not to crush my child’s spirit by insulting their work. I asked my kid if the teacher actually said that, and if she actually used those exact words. My kid answers, “Well, no. She didn’t say those exact words, but she implied it.”
And there it was! My kid couldn’t remember what the teacher said exactly, but what was heard and recited was insulting as if the child was being put down and rejected as a person. So many times, just like my child, we hear these things as insults and rejection, when it isn’t at all:
- Critique – Everyone has an opinion of everything, and people have their own ideas of how things should be. That is why we must be able to receive a critique. People’s views of how things should be, are purely subjective, and people are entitled to their opinions. B ut their difference of opinion is not a personal rejection, nor should anyone feel insulted, especially, if you feel as if you have given your best.
- Correction – None of us are perfect, so unfortunately we all make mistakes of ignorance. Even with our best intentions, each of us will inadvertently mess something up. In those moments, we need to be corrected. We need to be stopped, and taught the proper, or the best known ways to do whatever it is we are doing. Correction is often necessary, and is not a measure of anyone’s character or abilities.
- Rebuke – While a critique deals with what is preferred, and a correction deals with what is proper, rebuke deals principle, or what is right and wrong. To do something that is fundamentally wrong, by a standard of righteousness, lends us to the need to be rebuked. Because of the tendency to associate shame, rebuke is often confused as personal rejection. On the contrary, rebuke is an act of love, that says you are too valued for your actions not to be addressed; and even though your actions, words, and attitudes may be of the wrong principle, you yourself are not wrong or devalued.
- Denial – While the first three are related to each other, the last 2 are as well. If you have children, you know that sometimes you have to tell them “no”. Immaturity, breeds a desire for things that are beyond your grasps, and we are denied access to them. This denial of desires can feel like rejection, especially to the immature. Wanting something is not reason enough to have it, so denial is in place as personal protection, not personal rejection.
- Redirection – Denial and redirection are often coupled together. Whenever we have been denied, we are usually encouraged to use our energies in another area. For example, someone wants to sing, but is not talented to do so. It is not rejection at all to redirect their passion for music, to a means that better suits their gifts, like direction, production, or playing an instrument. Far too often we take it personally, and are devastated, because we aren’t allowed to do what we wanted to do.
You never have to wonder about God, or even the people you know that love you. You have already been approved! You just have to walk in the knowledge of that, and be mature enough to receive the critiques, correction, rebuke, denials or redirection in stride, knowing that you are not personally being rejected.
“But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of (those who love you). There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (, not rejected).” 2 Timothy 3:16-17, The Message Bible, Eugene Peterson)
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