Posted by: ramonamom | May 2, 2008

Responses to Rejection and Hurt

In his book, _Getting a Grip, The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens_, Lou Priolo has a chapter titled, “How to Handle Rejection and Hurt”.  He asks the question, “How do you usually respond when you are rejected or hurt by others?”  For teens, he goes on to add, “not just by your parents.”  Since most older adopted children have faced rejection in their lives, this is an excellent area to work on with them.

However, first I would like to ask this of the adoptive parents reading this blog.  Have you been rejected or hurt by your adopted child?  Has he or she not reacted to your loving touch as you had hoped?  Have they spurned your discipline and thumbed their nose at the thought of “bonding” with you?  If so, how have you responded to this hurt and rejection?  Are you setting a godly example, according to scripture? 

Mr. Priolo defines what he calls six “sinful responses to rejection” in Chapter 5 of this book, found in Ephesians 4:31.  They are:

1) Bitterness – “This word literally describes the bitter taste of certain food and drink.”  Translated, it means “to cut” or “to prick” and, in this case, refers to an inward (heart) attitude of resentment and an unforgiving spirit.  See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes toruble, and by it many be defiled. Ephesians 12:15

2) Wrath – “It’s heated, passionate, furious anger that quickly boils up, and almost as quickly subsides.” A good illustration of wrath in the Bible is found in Matthew 2:7-9, 12, 16. 

3) Anger – He lists two different types of anger; a) “a burst of emotion that sometimes manifests itself in impulsive actions – especially vindictive ones and b) a less explosive but more enduring kind of anger (a state of mind or condition of the soul). 

4) Clamor – A public outcry, a tumult…”The person who is clamoring is griping, complaining, and bellyaching in a rabble-rousing, agitating sort of way.”  See Acts 19:23-29 for an illustration of this. 

5) Slander, or evil speaking – “This term involves speech that is abusive, defaming, or harmful to another’s good name.  It’s used to describe the strongest form of mockery or slander.”  I Peter 3:8-11

6) Malice – “The word has a variety of meanings, including maliciousness, hatred, resentment, ill feeling, ill will, and the desire to injure.”  Malice holds grudges, much like Herodias did against John the Baptist.  And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so.  Mark 6:19

As parents, we must be certain to guard against these sinful tendencies when our adopted child emotionally hurts or rejects us.  Rather, as Christian parents, it is our duty to teach our children biblical principles by example, in this and every situation which arises in their life. 

In Ephesians 4:32 we find biblical solutions to the sinful reactions listed in the previous verse.  And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  We must teach our children to follow these three biblical imperatives when they have been hurt or rejected:

1) Be kind – “The word means to be good, pleasant, merciful, and generous.  Kindness encompasses the idea of loving one’s enemies and doing good and lending without expecting repayment.  It’s being merciful even to those who have hurt us.”

2) Tenderhearted – “…means full of compassion or having pity; suggests a warm, tender feeling toward others.”

3) Forgiveness – “…promising to no longer hold your offender’s trespasses against him.”

These biblical principles will most likely not have been a part of an older adopted child’s upbringing, unless they were in a Christian orphanage before being adopted.  In the beginning of your new life together, showing them by your actions is the most effective way of teaching them.  Parents, guard your own tongue, tone of voice, and countenance as you deal with difficult situations with your children.  Set a godly example as you begin to train them in the ways in which they should go!

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