Today's guest blogger is Linda Rice. Linda is an adoptive parent and has written an excellent book that biblically addresses what is known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). You can read more about Linda and find her book here.
First Corinthians 10:13 says, “There is no temptation taken
you but such as is common to man…” Second Timothy 3:15-17 says that Scripture
is able to lead one to salvation and equip the believer “for every good work.”
Being equipped for every good work would mean that a person will be made able
to stop doing what is sinful or troublesome and do what is good. He will be
able to rightly handle life problems in a way that resolves them.
These verses indicate that there is no behavioral or
relational problem that is outside the scope of Scripture. The Bible is
relevant to all behavioral and relational problems in living.
As a young adoptive parent, even though I believed in the
authority and sufficiency of Scripture as I then understood it, I did not
connect these truths to the behaviors I was witnessing in my adoptive children.
To me, their behaviors were extreme, off the charts, bizarre. The only people
who seemed to understand were psychologists.
But I was wrong. The Bible is right. There is nothing new
under the sun, and God’s Word applies to whatever is happening in moral
behaviors, relationships, and daily living. This doesn’t mean that every human
behavior is noted in Scripture. There was no blogging in Paul’s day, but there
were forums and the proverbial grapevine. The Bible speaks to all types of
To illustrate, let’s check what the Bible says about one of
the characteristics that many psychologists identify as symptomatic of RAD,
lack of eye contact. In our adopted child, we observed that lack of eye contact
was accomplished by a variety of eye motions. At the time, we perceived them to
be strange, inexplicable, unplanned, and outside of the child’s control. What I
needed to have done was to check the Bible. It says a lot about eyes and does
so in ways that give us indications as to what various uses of the eyes might
be indicating about the heart and, therefore, how we might respond.
Averting the eyes or hiding the face can be a sign of fear. Moses
“hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (Exod. 3:6). In this case, a
fear reaction by a creature before his Creator was appropriate. Moses was right
to reverence God. If averting the eyes is a fear reaction toward man, the Bible
teaches how to handle fear of man. If the fear reaction is due to guilt (Prov
28:1), the Bible tells what to do about that.
Lowered or averted eyes can be a sign of shame. When Ezra
confessed Israel’s sin of intermarriage, he was “ashamed and embarrassed to
lift up [his] face” to God (Ezra 9:6-7). Shame is a right reaction to guilt.
Repentance, which offers amazing forgiveness in Christ, is the solution.
In Ezra’s case, he had not sinned, so he was not personally
guilty. It was by identification with those who were guilty that he willingly
shared their guilt and then felt the shame as if it had been himself who
sinned. Here lies an illustration of what Christ did for us.
Ezra’s case also indicates that shame can be felt
vicariously, by identifying oneself with that which is shameful. A similar
shame can be a common reaction of those who are exploited without having
provoked it, as in the case of an abused child. The child did not sin, yet he
identifies rejection or exposure of vulnerability as something shameful.
So, a child might be averting his eyes for a variety of
reasons. Each of these cases are teaching topics. Parents cannot necessarily
know exactly what is in a child’s heart, but they can use a biblical
understanding to increase discernment and skill at responding wisely. More
on this topic follows in the next post.
The Bible is relevant, true, accurate, authoritative, and
to equip the believer for every good work.
Labels: Guest Blogger