Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

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Subject: Overcoming the Fear of Rejection
We’re going to look at the one that’s in your mind that causes you to make yourself crazy, which is fearing the disapproval of other people, fearing the rejection of other people, fearing too much what other people think about your life.
When you do that, when you have that fear in your life, it lets all kinds of crazy makers in. You’ve left the door wide open. And all kinds of crazy makers can dominate, can control, can manipulate, can cajole, can cause you to say yes when you want to say no, and cause you to say no when you want to say yes, and miss all kinds of things in your life.
Proverbs 29:25 NLT
25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.
At the top of your message notes outline, there’s a verse in Proverbs 29:25. In Today’s English Version it says this: “It is a dangerous trap to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.”
It is a dangerous trap. The Bible calls it a “snare” in the King James Version.
So today, I want us to look at the concept of Overcoming the Fear of Rejection. What we’re going to do briefly is two things. Look at how it traps you, why it’s a trap and what you need to deal with this issue in your life. Why it’s a trap. Then, how to escape and how to avoid it. The Bible is very, very clear about both of these issues.
Before we look at it, I need to explain to you that the desire to get the approval of other people, that’s not a bad thing. That’s a legitimate need in your life. You do need the approval of others in your life. You just don’t need it to dominate your life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to please your parents. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to please your husband, your wife. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be loved, liked, and approved of by friends, by family, by neighbors. There’s nothing wrong with that. Actually, you need an amount of approval in your life.
The Bible tells us and actually commands us to try to please other people in many ways. In other words, don’t just live for yourself. So there’s nothing wrong with wanting the approval of other people.
So let me give you five things, why you need to deal with this. Maybe you’ve had it all your life. You’ve worried too much about the approval of other people. It is a trap the Bible says. How is it a trap?

Five dangers of being a people pleaser...

1. I miss God’s purpose for me.

It causes me to miss God’s purpose for my life. You cannot be worried about being what everybody else wants you to be and focus on what God created you to be at the same time. If you’re always worried and you’re always trying to be what your parents wanted you to be, what your husband, your wife wanted you to be, what your friends/your boyfriend/girlfriend… whoever it is. If you’re always trying to meet their expectations, if you’re always trying to fulfill their purpose for your life, you will miss God’s purpose for your life.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
God didn’t put you here on earth to please other people.
Our purpose is to please God, not people. “He is the one who examines the motives of the heart.”

2. I don’t grow in my faith.

When we try to please everyone, it stunts our ability to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. I want you to think about this for just a minute. When God is big in our lives, when God is big, people have less power in our lives. Their influence is a little bit diminished when God is big in our lives.
But on the flip side, when we allow people to be big, what ends up happening is God becomes diminished. And we give to people in our lives what really only belongs to God. We give to people authority, we give the people influence, we give the people what God deserves to have.
God and people can’t both be equal sized in our lives.
John 5:44 NLT
44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
A people pleasing mentality hinders our ability to grow in faith.

3. It leads to sin.

Trying to please everyone leads me to sin. When I try to please everyone, I inevitably end up giving in to peer pressure.
Time and time again when teenagers are talked to about their biggest struggle: “My number one struggle is peer pressure.”
My hunch is, for those of us who are a little bit older, that might be the same struggle that we have. It looks a little bit different for us, but it’s the same struggle. It’s the desire to please. And when we have the desire to please, we end up doing things that we know we shouldn’t do.
Example of allowing a teenager to ride in the car with me.
God seems to be of the opinion that we have a strong propensity to do what others are doing.
Exodus 23:2 NLT
2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.
When you look at Scripture, time and time again, we see people who love the Lord and yet in their own way jumped off the bridge because other people wanted them to do that.
Pilate. When Jesus was brought before Pilate. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. Pilate even said, “I find no fault in this man.” But as the crowd became more and more insistent, Pilate gave in. He knew what he should do, but he just couldn’t do it because he wanted to please people.
When I read these verses, when I look at the lives of people in Scripture and I see their experiences, it causes me to ask myself the question that might be worth you asking yourself the same question: In what area – areas – of my life, am I caving in to the expectations of other people? In what areas am I doing what I know is wrong in order to win the approval or to avoid the rejection of other people?

4. I become a hypocrite.

When hypocrisy invades our lives, we start to wear masks. We adapt to our environment. Few things are as exhausting as trying to figure out what masks you’re trying to wear in front of which people in which context. It’s completely and entirely exhausting.
And God doesn’t want us to spend our energies there, trying to please everyone by wearing a mask. No. There’s far too much that God has for us in our lives
When we wear masks, we fake it. We pretend. We don’t reveal our true selves. We just love to make ourselves look better than we are.
Jesus knew this about the tendency of the human heart.
Luke 16:15 (NLT)
15 Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts...
God wants us to be consistent inside and out regardless of who we’re around, what context we’re in. Not wearing masks. The fear of disapproval can cause us to compromise things that are so important. The truth. This is why we say things that are socially acceptable rather than what is true. This is why we say things that are politically correct rather than the truth.
Integrity is more important than popularity.
2 Corinthians 10:18 The Message
18 What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.

5. I lose my spiritual influence.

It silences my ability to share the simple truths of who Jesus is and how he’s changed my life. When we’re pleasing everybody we don’t do this.
We find a story that illustrates this perfectly in John 9. Jesus rolls into the scene and he heals a man who’s been blind all his life. You would think in that moment, wow! What a place to celebrate and declare God’s glories, God’s greatness. It doesn’t roll out that way. It doesn’t happen.
Some religious leaders are around and they go to this man’s parents, the man who has just been healed and they say, “What do you think of Jesus? Who is this guy?” And what do they do? Instead of saying, he just healed my son! He’s amazing! He must be God with skin on.” They say, “Why don’t you ask our son?”
Scripture tells us they did this because they were afraid of what these religious leaders would do. Their witness was silenced.
We actually find this unfortunately all over the New Testament. John 7:13, “No one had the courage to speak favorably about Jesus in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the leaders.”
Again, 2,000 years ago, this idea of saying what was politically correct, not to get under anyone’s skin, was alive and well. People were afraid.
John 12:42–43 NLT
42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
[And this is the kicker, this last part…] They loved human approval more than they loved the approval of God.”
Right now, there are people praying for different teams to win at a sport. Half of those people are going to be disappointed in the game. Right now, some people are praying for it to rain and some people are praying for it to be sunny. Half of those people are going to be disappointed. Even God can’t please everybody.
Only a fool would try to do what God can’t do. You think you’re God? You think you can please everybody? There’s no way. Going through life most of the people in this world are going to disapprove of you. Accept it. Going through life you cannot please everybody. Even God cannot do that.
In fact, Jesus said it like this: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” What does “woe” mean? Woe! Woe means bad news. If everybody likes you it means you stand for nothing. It means you’re a chameleon. You’re a cop out. You’re a wimp. You’re wishy-washy. If everybody likes you, you have no conviction. You have no beliefs. Because the moment you take a stand somebody’s going to start throwing rocks at you. Jesus says, “Woe… when all men speak well of you.”
Let me tell you something. Not a time in your life are all men going to speak well of you, except at your funeral. That’s the only time you’ll hear good stuff about people, at a funeral. But until you get to your funeral people are not going to speak well of you. Even God can’t please everybody.
I don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy!
Let me give you some facts of life that the Bible teaches. You can’t please everybody. You don’t have to please everybody. God doesn’t expect you to please everybody. You don’t need everybody’s approval to be happy. No matter what you do some body’s going to disagree with you. And disapproval doesn’t have to ruin your happiness.
You think about the most popular people in America, half the nation doesn’t like them. How does a person get elected president? You don’t even have to have a majority. When President Clinton was elected, remember Ross Perot? When Ross Perot ran, it was Clinton and those guys all ran at the same time. He won both of his elections with less than 50 percent. So most of the people in the nation did not vote for him as president. No matter the moment you become a leader in anything, half of the people aren’t going to like you.
But here’s the point. Some of you have spent all of your life trying in your mind to please an unpleasable person.
But let me just tell you something: It’s a self-inflicted prison. That person that you’ve been trying to get their approval all your life and you haven’t got it yet, guess what? You ain’t going to get it. If you haven’t gotten it by now. You’re not going to ever get it.
Some of you are 50, 60 years old, still trying to get somebody’s approval. You’re not going to get it. But even better news is this: You don’t need it. You don’t need it to be happy. You don’t need their approval. Let it go. I don’t need the approval of other people to be happy. What I need to do is learn the attitude of Jesus. What did Jesus say? John 5:41, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me.”
John 5:41 NLT
41 “Your approval means nothing to me,
Let me be real honest. If you are looking to any human being to meet all your needs, you’re going to be severely disappointed. Because nobody can do that. Only God can meet all your needs. Let me say it another way: If you are looking to any human being to keep you happy, you’re going to be unhappy most of your life. Because they’re going to disappoint you. Human love runs out. Human people disappoint you. So you better put your happiness in somebody and something that cannot be taken from you. That is your relationship to Jesus Christ. You need to look to God.
Isaiah 51:12 NLT
12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?
Let me tell you what maturity is. Maturity is when you realize everybody I think is important isn’t. And everything that I think isn’t important is. That’s maturity. Maturity is learning that all the things you thought were important really weren’t that important. Who gets elected to the pep squad. Who cares? Really.
Some of you have gone back to high school reunions and you realize that for some people, they peaked their senior year. And they’re still talking about that catch they made. You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s like their life is downhill since high school.
So what seems so important now really is only temporary.
1 John 2:17 NLT
17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
Eternal perspective leads to freedom. It’s what do you focus on.
Let me tell you why this is a problem. Today we have a 24 hour news cycle. And 24 hour news makes it appear that everything that happens is important. If you turn on the news, everything that happens… it’s not. Nothing is more worthless than yesterday’s newspaper. You don’t even read it. Why? Then why was it important yesterday?
I want to tell you something: Satan has switched the price tags in life. And the stuff that the world says is important, isn’t. It’s a con job. And the stuff that is important, you don’t really realize it. One of the things you’ve got to do… if you’re trying to focus on the short term, you’re going to try to please people.
You know what’s strange? Hollywood people work their entire lives to become well known so everybody knows their name. Then as soon as everybody knows their name, they put on dark glasses and hide. Why? They realize I don’t really want everybody to know my name! It’s a pain in the posterior. You get it, and all these famous people get their fame and then what do they do? They try to hide from the people who know their name. Because they realize that wasn’t worth it. It doesn’t make any difference.
When you get sick, when you’ve got a loved one dying, all your fans really don’t matter. What you need is just a couple of really close friends.
I only have to please one person.
Really, in life, I only have to please one person. And that is my Creator. My God. My Savior. I only have to please the Lord, the one who made me and has a purpose for my life.
That simplifies life enormously. You want to learn to live for an audience of one. You only need one person’s approval – God’s approval.
Jesus said it like this in John 5:30: “I don’t try to please myself, but I only please the One who sent me.” He said I’m living for an audience of one.
Galatians 1:10 NLT
10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
One day I’ll give an account of my life.
That’s the people pleaser antidote. One day I will give an account of my life.
Romans 14:12 NLT
12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.
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