Dealing With Narcissists* – Be Wise As Serpents, Innocent as Doves

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There are many opinions on how to navigate relationships with narcissists.  Typical “conventional wisdom” might include
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  1. “Fight fire with fire”
  2. “Don’t let people run all over you”
  3. “I deserve to be happy”
  4. “I don’t get mad, I get even”
  5. “I’ll make him pay for what he’s done to me”
  6. [Fill in your own version]
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But, conventional wisdom is typically wrong…….
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Proverbs 14:12 – There  is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
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 Proverbs 16:25 – There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
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……… but also harmful and destructive to us
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 So, dealing with narcissists is not about doing what seems right,  but about actually being right – having true (Biblical) wisdom and understanding about the narcissist, the situation, and how to respond in the right way.  Toward this end, one instruction that Jesus gave was
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Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men……
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[He had earlier used the term “wolves”, specifically referring to narcissists.
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Matthew 7:15 – “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.]
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It might “seem right” to treat a narcissist the same way that they treat us.  But if we act like them, we are no longer “innocent as doves”.   It is important that we maintain our integrity and honor God in the process of dealing with the narcissist.  In this context “innocence” means “pure” (maintaining integrity) – it does not mean “naive”.   On the contrary, we are to be the opposite of naive in our dealings with the narcissist.  Instead of being naive we are to be extra wise, extra alert, extra shrewd in dealing with them.  But we are to do it with a pure heart and integrity.
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* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  See here.

One response

  1. Pingback: David’s Perspective On Narcissism – A Prayer for Protection « Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism

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