17 The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him.
In the perfectly robust way that God designed His Word, a specific point of Biblical wisdom can often be applied to a wide variety of circumstances.
For example, applying Proverbs 18:17 above to a car accident:
- The police interview the two people involved in the accident
- The first interviewee gives his account of the accident. His account will be through his eyes and from his vantage point, which may honestly have an interpretation that is not purposely deceitful, but still inaccurate due to his parochial frame of reference. The first interviewee’s account needs to be cross-examined to determine it’s accuracy.
- His account will sound correct, since when he speaks (first) there are no other facts or perspectives available to challenge his account. However, when the police interview the other driver or a bystander witness to the accident, alternative perspectives may come out which change the conclusion as to who has primary responsibility for the accident.
The first to plead his case seemed correct, until it was examined.
Proverbs 18:17 is just as true, albeit more difficult to apply, in a situation involving a narcissist who is trying to manipulate a situation:
- A narcissist who has some kind of agenda – and this could include a wide variety of things – could possibly make a pre-emptive strike in telling his story first, for the purpose of ensuring an outcome of his choosing
- Naive people are likely to believe him (he “seems right”)
- As a liar, the narcissist can slant the story, not tell the whole truth, make up a false story, or outright lie for the purpose of achieving his goals.
- Both the facts as well as his intentions need to be examined, as his motives will be provide insight into the nature of his lies.
- The discerning person will learn to fact check everything with respect to suspected narcissists in their lives, in order to avoid the consequences of naively speeding ahead.
The tricky part in applying this to a situation with a narcissist is that an N will fight like crazy to not be proven wrong, and is willing to add lie upon lie in that pursuit. And he will try to destroy the credibility of anyone seeking to challenge him. So, a head-on “cross-examination” of may not be the best approach. But at a minimum, a fact-based examination of the N, even if it is not used to directly challenge the N, can help you and possibly others steer clear of his manipulation.
12 A prudent man sees evil and hides himself,
The naive proceed and pay the penalty.