Beginning in this session Derek looks at rejection, which he terms the deepest wound of the human spirit. It is more than emotions although that is affected; it’s something that goes deeper into the very spirit of a person and can begin even while in the womb before you are born.
Now we come to the last of these three problems. I’ve dealt with guilt. I’ve dealt with shame. I’ll deal with rejection. Now I consider rejection to be the deepest wound of the human spirit. And I was reading recently something written about Mother Theresa after she had died and she made this simple statement, “Not being loved is the worst sickness.” And I have to say on the basis of my dealings with people over many years, I totally agree. The worst sickness is not being loved. And there are some of you here tonight sick with that sickness. You may be Christian, you may be saved, but you’ve never realized what it means that you’ve been loved. You’ve never absorbed it. You’ve never taken it in.
Now there are various possible courses... Let me say, in the United States where I spend some of my time, I would guess that—this is the lowest estimate—twenty-five percent of the population have a wound of rejection. I think that’s an underestimate. I think it’s an epidemic and I think it’s not probably very much different here in Britain. It is the number one sickness in our culture today due mainly to the breakdown of the family.
Now I’m going to give you just some simple examples. They’re by no means all inclusive. There are others I could give, but one of the commonest causes of the wound of rejection is a baby that’s rejected in the womb. People don’t realize that there’s in that womb, in that embryo there’s a sensitive little person who wants to be loved.
Now at a certain point when I was conducting regular deliverance services in the United States I saw that there was a certain age group that so commonly had the problem of rejection. So I worked it out. When were they born? The answer was about 1930 and if you’re an American the date 1929 is indelibly printed on your mind. It’s the year of the Great Depression, when everything fell apart financially. Most people were out of work. Few people had enough to eat. And you can imagine a woman finding herself pregnant in that situation—she’s got six little kids to feed already and there’s a seventh coming—and she doesn’t have to take any violent action. She just resents that little baby. And that baby is born with a spirit of rejection.
Now I believe my wife Ruth would permit me to say this. She was born in 1930 in a large, rather poor family. And she had that problem. She had a spirit of rejection. She was wonderfully delivered, but she told me—she said “That’s something I always have to guard against is rejection. It often tries to come back.”
Then, every baby as I understand it is born into the world craving one thing more than anything else which is Love. And if parents don’t love their baby or maybe love it but don’t know how to express their love, to manifest their love... You see unexpressed love does a baby no good. It’s not a psychologist. It can’t work out, “Well behind all that external there’s real love.” It has to feel love, it has to have love expressed. And a baby that doesn’t feel love, and I would say particularly the love of a father, if you’ll forgive me ladies for saying that. I mean the love of a mother is wonderful, but the love of a father is particular.
Let me say this and I’m speaking from my first wife, Lydia was one of the strongest characters I’ve ever met. And she did a work in Palestine amongst Moslems and Arabs that few people would have had the courage to do. She was often without sufficient money, she often had even the missionaries criticizing her, but she stuck through it. And you know I, thinking it over later, I realize one factor in her character was she was the youngest of four sisters and she was her father’s favorite and he always affirmed her. And do you know that makes all the difference in a child’s life if the father affirms the child. And an unaffirmed child, it may be provided for... I was provided for—I mean I had every need met, but I never knew in my family what it was to be loved. I mean I was loved but nobody showed it. We were—you know what they say “the stiff upper lip” never show your emotion. Never tell people you love them, just keep it cool, keep it cold.
I want to say this. It’s personal and I find it hard to say it. But I’m saying it not for my benefit but for yours. When the Lord took Ruth it’s the hardest thing that’s ever happened in my life. And I made up my mind I’m not going to be a slave of the “stiff upper lip.” If I want to cry I’m going to cry. If people don’t like it, that’s their problem. But I’m not going to suppress God-given emotions because my culture doesn’t agree with it. And you know what I think (applause)—you know what I’ve observed? My family was a good family. They really were good people, but that stiff upper lip produces stunted deformed personalities. They never really learn to express themselves, and something that’s not expressed is something that suppressed. So I’ve made up my mind. Let people enjoy it or dislike it, but if I want to weep I’m going to weep. I don’t want to weep, but if I feel like weeping I’ll weep. And if I feel like dancing I’ll dance. The problem with me with dancing is, I used to be a great dancer. Believe me I’ve led lots of congregations in dancing. But now at this age in life my feet just don’t obey me. So I stand there and tap my feet but I can’t really let myself go.
Anyhow, then another very commonplace where rejection starts is at school. I was sent off to a boarding school in Westgate-On-Sea in Kent at the age of nine. My family has a photograph of me ready to go to school. I was attired in a three-piece suit and I had a bowler hat on. That was my culture. And when I got there, there were several other little boys of the same. And I remember one boy. He was uninhibited. He just started to cry. He said, “I want my Mummy, I want my Mummy, I want my Mummy." He didn’t get his mummy.
It was a hard life. British life has often been hard you know that. I don’t have to tell some of you that. We’ve imprisoned ourselves in our own culture. I mean you can understand every male relative I’ve ever known in my life was an officer in the British Army. I was educated in Eton and went on to Cambridge. If anybody was inculcated with a stiff upper lip it was me. But I rebelled. I decided I’m not going to be enslaved. If I want to dance I’ll dance. And if I feel like crying I’ll cry.
You know I’ve got a very good example. You know who He is? Jesus. Have you ever read the account of the death of Lazarus? Jesus arrived four days late and when he went to the tomb it says the shortest verse in the whole Bible two words, Jesus wept. He wasn’t weeping for Lazarus because He knew He was going to raise him up. He was sharing the grief of Mary and Martha. And you know one thing about grief? It helps to have it shared.