Narcissistic* Traits – One Reason Why They Lie

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There is a simple explanation for why (at least one of the reasons, there are others) that narcissists* lie

1  –  They want X – something that is “bad” because

  • It is selfish
  • It is immoral
  • They need to hurt others to get it
  • Etc

2  –  They also want respect, praise, and exaltation from men

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The only way that they can get both #1 and #2 at the same time is to deceive or lie to others about #1.  They need to lie in order to conceal their selfish or evil goals and motives – and the actions that they may take to achieve them.

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One example of this is Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 4:34-5:11)

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Everyone around them was being very generous.  It was becoming kind of the thing to do

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34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

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Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look like they were as generous as everyone else (outward appearance), but they really did not want to give up the full proceeds from the sale of their property (inward heart).  So they made it look like they were bringing the whole proceeds when in fact they were not.

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But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

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The consequences to both Ananias and Saphhira were surprisingly severe.

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And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land [f]for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

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One reason God may have been so severe in His consequences to Ananias and Sapphira was to send an early and clear message to the young Church that He was watching and weighing what was going on at the heart level, and not just at the level of “outward compliance”.

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11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

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He was indicating that outward compliance for the sake of appearances, combined with selfish motives and secret deception was not ok.

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* Narcissist* is the modern colloquial term for the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

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