The devising of folly is sin,
And the scoffer is an abomination to men.
To quickly review, “scoffer” is one of the Biblical terms used to label what the secular world calls a narcissist. The modern secular terms also include narcissistic personality disorder (implying a higher degree of “bad”) and malignant narcissism (signifying the highest degree of “bad”), while previous generations used phrases like “delusions of grandeur” and “megalomania”. As discussed in the book based on this blog:
- The biblical terms are actually more precise than the secular terms
- While the psychology and pop-psychology communities attempt to define the degree of narcissism which rises to the level of “personality disorder” or “malignancy”, the cutoff lines are arbitrary. It is a continuum of insolent of pride, ranging from a little to total, 100 percent, non-stop self-obsession which dominates every thought.
While malignant narcissism is shorthand for the more extreme form, all narcissism is malignant – to a degree. A narcissist’s self-centered, self-aggrandizing, “me first-and-only”, “I’m never wrong” heart is intent on benefitting themselves with no thought of you, so that their gain typically comes at some cost to you. This could result in annoyances – like their hogging a conversation, or telling obvious lies to puff themselves up – to flattering you in order to extract something from you – to outright stealing, lying, cheating and stabbing you in the back.
As Proverbs 24:9 says, all scoffers are “an abomination”. The Hebrew word is “toebah” meaning detestable or loathsome. You really hate what they do. And not just you – everyone who sees past their fake charm and flattery. The level of loathing is a function of:
- the degree of their treachery in achieving their self-exalting aims,
- the depth of your relationship
- how deeply you are affected by it.
Being denied a promotion because of a backstabbing narcissistic coworker is far different than being annoyed by a relative stranger inflating and bragging about one of their “accomplishments”.
All narcissism is malignant – to a degree. Pride is on a continuum, and while the secular world of psychology tries to make a clinical distinction between “not too much” (not NPD) and “too much” (NPD), that distinction is arbitrary and is in the eye of the one affected.