The Eyes Have It

Part 1 of 2

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 behavior.

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 sufficient counsel
to equip the believer for every good work.

 

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About Linda

Wifing, Singing, Studying, Counseling. I counsel at Gateway Biblical Counseling and Training Center. M.A. in Biblical Counseling. Certified by Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
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