9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
This is one of Jesus’ key stories to illustrate the difference between how a narcissist (one with insolent pride) approaches things in contrast to how one without insolent pride approaches it……. and very importantly also telling us the end result of the two approaches. (See here and here on how we know that some Pharisees were narcissists.) Some key phrases in the story match the definition given in Proverbs 21:24 – “”Proud”, “haughty”, “scoffer” are his names who acts with insolent pride”.
- Proud – “told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous”, “was praying this to himself”, “I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get” (proud of his accomplishments)
- Haughty – “God, I thank you that I am not like other people”
- Scoffer – “Viewed others with contempt”
In the above verse we see that one characteristic of their narcissism was to view others with contempt.
Noun – The feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile or worthless; disdain; scorn
Synonyms – Contempt, disdain, scorn — implies that [narcissists* have] strong feelings of disapproval and aversion toward what seems base, mean, or worthless. Contempt is disapproval tinged with disgust; ie – to feel contempt for a weakling. Disdain is a feeling that a person or thing is beneath one’s [a narcissist’s*] dignity and unworthy of one’s notice, respect or concern
The narcissistic Pharisee viewed himself as better than “others” (as represented by the guy standing next to him). But Jesus made it clear that ultimately “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled”. As we have previously discussed here and here, even though narcissists appear to be “getting away with it” (in the short term, at least), they ultimately do not get away with their actions.
* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”. Please see here for an explanation
- Please seePutting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of what this blog is about