Small Group Questions

Fear Of Rejection

Introduction:

Everyone wants to be wanted. We’re made to desire acceptance. That desire leads to one of our greatest fears. But what really causes the fear of rejection to run rampant in our lives? In this message, we learn how to harness our fear and move forward in life with true acceptance from the One who truly matters – God.

Bottom line: We can be affected, but don’t have to be directed by the fear of rejection. 

Something To Talk About:

How the fear of rejection is a trap: Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” God obviously knew the fear of rejection is one that man would have to face and overcome.  On Sunday, we talked about some of the traps.  First, the fear of rejection causes us to conform our life styles and our values. In order to avoid rejection we sometimes become chameleons with those around us.  We will adapt how we live and even our values, because we don’t want to be rejected for who we are. Second, the fear of rejection keeps us from speaking the truth. Sometimes people will lie or distort the truth in order to keep from being rejected by other people or bite their tongue and refuse to speak up. Third, the fear of rejection prevents us from giving and receiving love. Many people have shut down relationships because they’ve been burned once and they don’t want to be burned again. Next, the fear of rejection leads to isolation and loneliness. Because we fear the rejection of other people we build walls around us to protect ourselves rather than bridges to relate to one another and thus become isolated. Fifth, the fear of rejection moves one towards unhappiness.  It’s living in a state of constant unhappiness, always under pressure to try to please other people, always wondering what other people are thinking of us. Sixth is the fear of rejection which silences our sharing about Christ. Why don’t we share more often about Jesus?  Mostly because we’re afraid of how others will respond toward us. Fear of rejection robs us of the courage that we need to share about the most important relationship that we have. And last, the fear of rejection keeps us from spiritual maturity. I’m convinced that we spend far too much time turning our heads and looking over our shoulders, wondering what other people are saying about us, rather than focusing our eyes on God.

How to overcome the fear of rejection: We place far too much value on the opinions of other people. We’re shaped by their words and we’re tyrannized by what they may think of us. God knew this and that’s why he said in Isaiah 51:12,  “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?”  So why are we wasting our time worrying about other people’s opinions? People have their right to an opinion, but why fear their opinion. They’re going to die. And their opinion is going to die with them. People are certainly a key part of our life, but they’re human. They are not God. Because they’re human, they’re going to let us down. Because they’re human, we do not put our faith in them. Our faith is not in people. It’s in God. This series is not so much about who or what we fear as it is who to trust. So, we should not focus on people rejecting us because their opinion is temporary, we should be focusing on how God sees us. We can live in this trap of wanting the inconsistent and false approval of other people or we can resign the game and fall back on God’s unconditional love and grace.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Rejection is a potent, painful feeling. Fear of rejection can be so powerful it can produce a constant sense of anxiety, i.e., do people like me? And it can cause us to twist ourselves into something we aren’t just to try to please people. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. Remember back to times in school when teams were being chosen on the playground. How did you feel when you were not chosen? How important is it to you to belong?
  3. When you feel rejected, how do you tend to respond? How do you manage to cope?
  4. What do you think the difference is between being affected by people’s opinions or being influenced by their opinions?
  5. Whom would you say you’re trying to please on a daily basis? God? Your co-workers? Spouse? Friends?
  6. How much more of your potential do you think you could reach if you sought the approval of God and no one else?
  7. What can you do this week to seek God’s approval other than those of men? 

Take One Thing Home with You:

Rejection. No one is immune to it. Everyone will experience it to some degree. And no matter who you are, your life is changed because of it. The question is, will rejection take you down or will you leverage it for good in your life? How do you overcome the fear of rejection? You need a new perspective! You start by putting God first. Then, you put the opinions of others in a proper place. In other words, don’t overvalue what they say.

In Galatians 1:10, Paul writes, “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.” Paul says his goal in life is to please God, not men. He says I have a choice. I can choose whether I’m going to live for the applause of God or the applause of men. You can’t seek the approval of both at the same time. You have to decide whom you’re trying to impress and whose approval you are trying to win. The way to overcome the fear of rejection is to live your life for an audience of one, God.