13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
[Please see here and here for more on how we know the Pharisees were narcissists].
This is one of the clearer examples of how narcissists work. In their hearts, the Pharisees were focused on money and the “finer things of life” that it would bring. But in their pride, they also wanted to be highly thought of by men for their piety (including the all-sufficiency of God). Jesus called out their hypocrisy and created a dilemma for them with His statement that they could not make both God and money number one in their lives – with the clear implication that they had chosen money over God.
The narcissistic Pharisees had two ways of dealing with this.
First was to mock (or scoff at) the One telling them they could not have it both ways. Their intent was to tear down, from a position of “superiority”, and discredit the one getting in way of their greed and pride.
7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
10 They hate him who reproves in the gate,
And they abhor him who speaks with integrity.
Second was to make justification (in modern terms – making excuses), or to construct a clever series of reasons, for what they were doing for the purpose of making people around them agree with them and continue to think highly of them.
But Jesus made it clear to them that even though they may get away with fooling men, they were not fooling God. God could clearly see what was in their hearts, and would judge them based on that – and not based on what the Pharisees had gotten men to believe.
They might get short term kudos from men for how wonderful they are, but they would ultimately have to answer to God for the evil in their hearts.
Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective