Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible

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Proverbs 21:24

24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.

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You may have found this blog because you have a “narcissist” in your life, or  in the life of someone you care about.   At first, you may not have known that you were dealing with a narcissist, but the pain and damage this selfish, arrogant, condescending, domineering person caused might have driven you to search for answers on what was going on, and on how to deal with this difficult person.  As you went online or to books on  Amazon, you read more about who this person is, and how he operates.  And you likely read some explanations as to how he got this way, or advice regarding how to deal with this “narcissist”.  In the process of trying to learn everything possible in your search for answers, you may have decided to explore what the Bible has to say on the subject.

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While the Bible does not specifically refer to “narcissism” –  which takes its name from Greek mythology – it does speak to the subject.

Continue reading

Counseling Seemingly Impossible Situations

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2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

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I am reading an excellent book called “Counseling the Hard Cases:  True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture“.  This book provides case studies on how Biblically based counselors successfully counseled seemingly impossible counseling situations – including situations which secular-counselors had previously been unable to resolve.

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The book starts with a discussion on whether the Bible is sufficient to help people with their problems….

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“Is Scripture sufficient to inform all the possible counseling situations in this fallen world? The implications of such a question are massive. Continue reading

Narcissist Traits – They Stumble A Lot

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Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

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Narcissists seem to frequently step into “holes” and stumble – constantly creating difficulties for themselves which result in their scrambling around in order to extricate themselves.   There are several practical reasons for this:

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  1. They pursue drastically unrealistic goals based on delusions of grandeur, destined to fail
  2. They misread situations by overestimating how well they are doing in some aspect
  3. They misuse people as tools in reaching their own goals.  That misuse comes back on them
  4. They overestimate their abilities
  5. They fall into the traps that they set for others

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Proverbs 26:27

27 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.

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In addition to the above, the primary reason narcissists stumble is that God is actively opposed to them as one who has insolent pride.

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Proverbs 16:5

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

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James 4:6

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

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1 Peter 5:5

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

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There are two primary reasons why God actively opposes those who are proud:

  1. While they may “get away with things” for awhile, He will ultimately not allow anyone to usurp His rightful place
  2. Out of love, He constantly is working for them to become humble so that they will have the grace to ultimately know and enjoy Him.  Their failures are designed by God to get their attention and draw them to Himself.

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One implication of the fact that God opposes the proud narcissists is that we don’t need to “get back” at narcissists for the evil that they do.  God will take care of it.  In fact, He said that vengeance is His turf not ours.

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Romans 12:19

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

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Here are some additional verses on God opposing the proud

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Psalm 18:27 – For You save an afflicted people, But haughty eyes You abase.

Psalm 101:5 – Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

Psalm 138:6 – For though the Lord is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar.

 Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 18:12 – Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor.

Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 21:24 – “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride

Proverbs 29:23 – A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 15:25 – The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

Is Narcissism = Insolent Pride in the Bible?

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One underlying premise of this blog is that what is defined as “narcissism” in the secular world of psychology is equivalent to what is called “insolent pride” in the Bible.   The basis for making this assertion is the substantial, but not necessarily  1:1, overlap of traits.

 

TheBibleOnNarcissists

 

As Narcissistic Personality Disorder is still being researched in the formal field of psychology, and is only generally defined in the world of pop psychology, it does not have a clear, official definition  (see here).   Therefore, it stands to reason that there cannot be a complete 1:1 match between the terms “narcissism” and “insolent pride”, when one of the terms is not precisely defined.   But, there is enough overlap of traits that we can use the term “narcissism” as an approximation for “insolent pride”.

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The reason we are even using the term “narcissism” is that many people who are searching for answers on how to deal with these troublesome people will likely search using the term “narcissism”, as that is the term with which they are most familiar.  But the most precise and real answers will come from the Biblical understanding of “insolent pride”.  That is why we are using the terms synonymously, even though there is not a precise match-up between terms.

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Please see also

Best Match Between Secular and Biblical Definitions of Narcissism

The Divergence of Secular and Biblical Approaches To Narcissism

Secular Definitions – Narcissism Was Formerly Called Megalomania

 

 

 

 

God Will Put An End To Pride

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Isaiah 2

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Now it will come about that 
In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it…..

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And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples…..

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11 The proud look of man will be abased
And the loftiness of man will be humbled,
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day……

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12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased……

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17 The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day…..

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22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?

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In the middle of our day to day grind of dealing with people with insolent pride, it is occasionally helpful to step back and see the end of the story.  In the end, God will put every proud and haughty person into their proper place, and will show that He alone deserves to be exalted.

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Having a proper view now of that future state of affairs can give us the perspective needed to see the proud and haughty narcissist as they really are – and through that to give us a measure of freedom from the control they seek over us.

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Please see Pride’s Hindrance To Salvation for some additional perspective.

Dealing With Narcissists – Fact Check Everything

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As a narcissist is notoriously unreliable, it is important to fact check (at least to yourself) what comes out of their mouth rather than accept they say at face value.

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Proverbs 14.15 – “The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.”

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Proverbs 18.17 – “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”

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Matthew 18.16 – “so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”

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2 Corinthians 13.1 – “This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

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1 Timothy 5.19 – “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.”

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Narcissists / those with insolent pride tend to exaggerate their skills, accomplishments, track record, commitment to the cause, etc.   They also will stretch the truth or outright lie in order to get what they want.   And they do not hesitate to trash the reputation of those who get in their way.  So while this basic biblical principle of confirming things instead of believing every thing you are told is always appropriate – it is especially applicable when dealing with narcissists.

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview and frame of reference on what this blog is about.

 

Don’t Worry About “Ministry Limitations” Due To N’s

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Matthew 25:20-23

20 “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [a]master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”

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Christians concerned about how God settles accounts for eternity may have a fear that a narcissist in their life could be limiting them from achieving as much as they “should”.  The parable that Jesus told in Matthew 25 clearly explains that eternal rewards are based on being faithful before God with what we have been given, and not on how “productive” we have been. Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – They Ultimately Don’t Get Away With It

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Those who have been hurt by a narcissist that appears to “get away with it” can really struggle with bitterness and a deep desire for “justice” to be done.  This often results in a continued obsession with the narcissist and what he/she has done, and a corresponding inability to “move on” or focus on your own following after God.

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Narcissists are pros at shifting blame, covering up, lying their way out of things, and making you think it was your fault – all the while seeming to never really receive consequences for their actions commensurate with the pain which they have inflicted.  Especially when they just flippantly move on to their next target.  One aspect of coming to a point of peace in what happened to you at the hands of the narcissist is understanding clearly that in the end God will deal with them – and we can and should leave that to Him.

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Romans 12:19

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

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Continue reading

Narcissist* Traits – They Deceive Themselves

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Obadiah 1:3

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, You who live in the clefts of the rock, In the loftiness of your dwelling place, Who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’

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Narcissists / Those With Insolent Pride / Scoffers focus are naturally deceptive as to who they really are, what is really in their heart, and the nature of their real intentions.  But one of the people they deceive the most is themselves. Continue reading

God Gives Us What We Need, When We Need It

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Philippians 4:10-19

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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When we are in a difficult situation, it is a natural human response to say “it’s too hard” and look for a way out.   However, God promises that He will provide what we need – physically, emotionally, spiritually – commensurate to every situation, enabling us to walk the difficult road when needed.  This provision and enabling is called “grace”.

[Notethere are times when the correct action is to “avoid” narcissists – this blog post refers specifically to situations when God-given commitments and responsibilities prevent us from being able to avoid the situation].

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2 Corinthians 12:9

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

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Grace has been defined in various ways.  The most encompassing way of understanding it is that grace is God’s free and abundant supply of everything we as humans need.  This supply begins with life itself, continues with everything needed for sustaining life, and extends to the ultimate solution for our separation from God.  It also includes God’s inner influence and empowerment which woos us to Him and imparts the desire and strength to endure trial and resist temptation.

Grace flows from His love for us, even when we do not deserve it (“unmerited favor”).  It is a free unearned gift from God whenever it is given, it comes through Jesus by faith, and it is so great that it should result in us joyfully thanking the Lord for it’s provision.  It will find it’s fulfillment in our being infinitely blessed by Him for eternity.  While God’s goodness provides “common grace” (e.g. – sunshine, etc.) to everyone, there are only two requirements for receiving His specific provision (grace) for specific situations we face in life – faith and humility.

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Digging deeper into this river of God’s supply called grace……. Continue reading

“The People Of The Lie”

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John 9:39-41

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

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One of the primary traits of the narcissistic Pharisees was their attitude of moral superiority and refusal to acknowledge that they had any sin – even though their inward lives were full of sin.  In this they deceived and lied to both themselves and others.  This can also be seen in Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 23:25-28, and Matthew 9:10-13.

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M Scott Peck was a psychiatrist whose personal journey ultimately led him to commit to Christianity.  By observation and analysis, through the lens of Christianity, he reached the same conclusion that Jesus had already made clear above.

Following are excerpts from a book he wrote on the subject

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Narcissist Case Study – Uzziah

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When seemingly “normal” people become arrogant and abusive after they get a little power or success, we may reasonably wonder whether the seeds of that pride were latent in their heart prior to their success.  Uzziah, King of Judah is a case in point:

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2 Chronicles 26

26 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah…….

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 He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him…….

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……15 Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.  16 But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 

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Continue reading

Narcissist Case Study – The Prodigal’s Brother

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Luke 15:1-2

15 Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

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In response to crowds coming to hear Jesus, the (narcissistic) Pharisees and scribes did not publicly reveal their jealously, but rather grumbled among themselves with a haughty and holier-than-thou attitude about His “receiving sinners”.

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Rather than directly rebuke them for their attitude, Jesus responded by telling them three parables.  Jesus’ main point in each of the parables was God’s loving grace in seeking those who are “lost”, and joy when they return to Him.  This was in obvious contrast with the Pharisees who did not care about the people to whom Jesus was ministering, but only about the fact that they were not the center of attention.

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In Jesus’ third story of the “prodigal son” [read the entire parable here], He also used the narcissistic older brother’s response as a mirror to point out to the narcissistic Pharisees their prideful, self-centered obstructionism (Luke 11:52), and lack of mercy.  Jesus was not defensive at the Pharisees’ grumbling, but took the path of grace by gently pointing out their error via through this story – if they were willing to listen.

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Narcissism and Job Performance

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Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

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We have seen in these pages that the Bible discusses consequences to insolent pride – but sometimes it is hard to see in real life since it appears that narcissists almost always “get away with it”.  One area where we would expect the consequences to be seen would be in the area of job performance.

People in many lines of work get their performance evaluated through the eyes of others – thus giving the narcissist the opportunity to manipulate situations to his own advantage.  However, in the field of money management the job performance is summarized in the simple final number of the investment return.  This means that the ultimate job performance is not based on what people think, but on actual results.

A study was done using the field of money management as the “hard number arbiter of job performance results” which shows that narcissists (embedded in a broader group of psycopaths) in fact do have lower job performance.  If you’re interested, here is the article which discusses this:

Psycopath Hedge Fund Managers Make Less Money

 

Why Does God Allow Evil People To Remain?

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Why does God allow evil (including narcissistic) people to remain on the earth, and by implication, to continue to cause us trouble?  In this instance, we are referring to evil people as a group, and not an individual evil person.  The answer is found in Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares: Continue reading

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