Narcissist* Traits – They “Put On A Show” Of Their Deeds

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Matthew 23:5

But they (scribes and Pharisees) do all their deeds to be noticed by men…..

As we mentioned here, here, and here, the scribes and Pharisees are a case study in narcissism / insolent pride.

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In the Narcissists’* drive to be exalted by others, their focus is completely on what other people think of them, rather than on the genuine substance of things.  In fact, they will go out of their way to even suffer some pain – such as with fasting – if the end result is the praise and recognition of man.  To a narcissist, wickedness in their heart does not matter as long as things look good to others.  They particularly will focus on “putting on a show” of their “goodness” so that others will see it and think well of them.

Some examples are:

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Mark 12:38-40

38 In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who…..40 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.” 

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“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and inthe streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
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“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
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“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

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But Jesus said that we are to do good deeds in a way that when people see them they will think very highly of God, and not us – the exact opposite of the Pharisees:

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Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
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In fact, those who do good deeds only for the show (instead of out of love for others) wind up with nothing
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1 Corinthians 13:3

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

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The reason it profits nothing is because it was done with wrong motives.  These wrong motives will be revealed when the good works are tested

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Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

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1 Corinthians 3:13-14

13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 

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This is what happened to the Pharisees.  The only “reward” they received for their show was whatever short term recognition they received from the people who saw it.  They received nothing of real lasting value.

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“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and inthe streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
 .
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
.
“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

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So, do not be impressed by the “show” of good deeds, compassion, etc which the narcissist puts on.  It is only for their own glory, and at the end of the day they are really accomplishing nothing for themselves.

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

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