The date was 1 July 1940. On that day in Jersey freedom ended and the Island was in enemy hands for almost five years. Jersey was not to be defended against Germany. Feelings of rejection could not be suppressed, despite the good sense of the United Kingdom’s decision to demilitarise the Channel Islands.
Life went on. Babies were conceived – and born. Because of the great unknown some pregnancies were, understandably, unwelcome. Did the innermost feelings of their mothers affect them? Did they sense rejection?
Rejection feelings may be more frequent in Jersey today. The rejected parties in marriage (or partnership) break-ups are many. Children are rejected by fathers and mothers as arguments rage (or don’t even arise) over custody. The child says nothing – but feels everything. Even in some unbroken families favouritism is cruelly apparent to “failing” children.
Employees who are made redundant are rejected – cast out as having less worth than the lowest of those who remain employed. Applicants for jobs are rejected. Some major firms in Jersey even neglect to acknowledge all letters of application. Those who applied are doubly rejected. They’re not worthy to be sent a reply – they feel they don’t even exist as people.
Siblings also reject each other. Siblings feel rejection when opportunities and attention are always given to “my sister” or “my brother”. And, amazingly, children reject one or both of their parents. Maybe they are embarrassed to own those who gave them life and love.
And what of mother’s who reject their own children in the womb? And then reject themselves.
Rejection is widespread in Jersey (and elsewhere). It’s also deep. In fact, it’s so very deep in many that their lives – and even their sanity – are damaged seemingly beyond repair. Is there an answer? Is there a balm for rejection? In Jersey? In 2012?
The words in bold above were written around BC 710. They were written by a prophet in Jerusalem whose writings (amongst others) were preserved by the Jewish people over all the intervening centuries. The Jewish people firmly believed that these words spoke about their promised Messiah. Their Messiah was, in some inexplicable way, to be “rejected by others.” He would be a “man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity”. He would be “despised”. He would be regarded as “of no account”.
When Jesus Christ (the Greek for “Messiah” is “Christ”) came to the Jews in AD 0-33, one of his biographers, John, wrote of him, “He came to his own things but his own people did not receive him.” He was rejected by his own Jewish people.
Worse, another biographer (Matthew, also a contemporary and a disciple of Jesus) recorded Jesus’ rejection by His own Father when he cried out towards the end of his crucifixion, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
How does that help me? How does it help me to know that Jesus was rejected like that?
All four biographies of Jesus record why he went to this cross, why he was rejected. It was to benefit others. It was to obtain – for others – the reversal of their individual rejection by this world – and, because of sin, by God the Creator himself.
Luke, a third biographer, records such a reversal of rejection. “One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.””
Rejection reversed. Gloriously reversed – even today. Until today.