Free Download – Last Day

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Don’t things seem to get crazier and more out of control by the day?  A year ago I decided to research for myself the Biblical signposts on the road to the end times.  The result turned into a book.

From TODAY – August 10th – through August 14th, you can download a free Kindle version of that book – “Time to Prepare:  Signposts On The Road to the End”.

Click the link and follow the Amazon instructions.

Here is the book description:

A friend recently surprised me at lunch by saying that many of his friends actively discussed the approaching return of Christ. I thought I was alone in feeling that we’re getting close.

Could we actually be at the end? How are we to know? Which of the rapture positions are correct – pre-trib, post-trib, or pan-trib (it will all pan out in the end)? And how do we prepare for what’s coming our way?

Until now we had the luxury to debate what the Scripture says, but at the actual end that debate crashes into reality. When we are close to God’s destination our views will have real-world implications on how we proceed, and how to prepare.
God has provided “trip instructions” on the road to the end. And He has provided a key signpost which will tell us which set of instructions are correct.

As the title says, Time To Prepare: Signposts On The Road To The End outlines

  • the Biblical signposts on the road to the end
  • the key signpost that will tell us which side of “the debate” is actually true
  • practical Biblical advice for what’s coming our way

The clear Biblical perspective in these pages will give you a solid base, and hope, for what looks to be a bumpy ride ahead.

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Pray Strong In Your N Situation – Part 1

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Note:  there are times when the prescription for dealing with an N is to avoid them.  This post is for those times when we cannot do that. 

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When we are in a difficult situation with a narcissist we might be given the prescription to “pray about it”.  This might be given with good intentions, but often without real understanding of what’s going on.  It’s always appropriate to bring God right into the middle of our problems.  But how we pray makes all the difference.

There are a few ways we can pray through our N challenge.  One is how we pray for ourselves.  Another is how we pray about specific ways of navigating our interface with them, or dealing with the fallout of the turmoil they create.  And yet another is how we pray for them.  This Part 1  gives an introduction of how we pray for them.

Jesus made the following difficult statement:

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 5:43-45

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Some people have criticized the Biblical approach to dealing with narcissists by suggesting that it’s  simply a posture of passively allowing ourselves to be beaten up.  Jesus’s statement above and his statement just prior to “turn the other cheek” might be construed as advocating just that.  However, this critique looks at things on simply a human “me vs. them” plane, and leaves out the fact that we can invite the God who has the power to create and hold together the entire universe right into the middle of our struggle.

Jesus’ admonition to “pray for those who persecute you” did not describe “how” to pray.  How we pray makes all the difference.  For example, David prayed for his enemies like this in Psalm 35,

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Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.

Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.

 

Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the Lord driving them on.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
For without cause they hid their net for me;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.

 

Let destruction come upon him unawares,
And let the net which he hid catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall. 

Psalm 35:1-8

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I suggest you read the entire Psalm 35.  God says in Romans 12:19 (quoting Deuteronomy 32:35) that “vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”  Our job is to do good, God’s job is to defend us and execute justice – as only He can do with complete wisdom.  David focused on doing right, and prayed that God would deal with his enemies.

Can we also pray in a strong way for our narcissist, that does them good?  The answer is yes.

The narcissist’s greatest need is to humble themselves before the almighty God of the universe.  Their insolent pride torments us, but you can be sure that God feels more strongly about it than we do.  God demonstrated His ability to humble those who walk in pride by humbling the greatest man in the world of the time – King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar over a period of 30 years, continuing to reveal Himself and help Nebuchadnezzar understand his place before God.  In the end, God took very strong action for Nebuchadnezzar to finally recognize God as the Lord, by making Nebuchadnezzar insane and living like an animal for 7 years until he finally submitted.  The result was this amazing statement by Nebuchadnezzar:

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34 “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

36 At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just,

and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

Daniel 4

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Part of Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling process was God’s persistent revelation of His greatness and glory, as discussed in Ephesians 1.

Jesus tells us to pray for our narcissist, but why not pray stronglyFirst pray that God would protect us from them and that their attempts to harm us would fail.  Second, pray that God would humble them and enlighten their eyes to see God’s greatness and themselves in light of that greatness.  And third, to make sure our hearts are right and to act as “sons of light”, we can also pray for a specific need they may have – either for their salvation, or some practical need.

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If you are married to someone who is a genuine Christian, but still has the residual narcissistic blind spots from their “old man” (Romans 6), ask God to reveal it to them, convict them of it, and bring them to genuine repentance.

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Pray for your narcissist – but pray strongly.

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally.

 

 

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He Stretched Out His Hand With Scoffers

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For those suffering at the hands of narcissists – scoffers with insolent pride – a common question is “why”?  Why is God allowing this in my life?

There are many things to consider, but one answer is that it could be part of His discipline.  Those that are struggling to overcome a view of God as a big “punisher”, or who do not like the idea that God allows any pain into a person’s life, will struggle with this.  To be clear, God is a God of love and acts out of His fundamental goodness.  But sometimes that goodness means discipline (Hebrews 12), and He uses various means as part of the process.

The Biblical foundation for this is Hosea 7:5, which says that “….He stretched out his hand with scoffers”.  Just like in everything else, God can use scoffers as tools for His purposes.

We saw this in the case of David and Absalom.  When David sinned with Bathsheba, God told David through the prophet Nathan.

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Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.   Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 

Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” 

2 Samuel 12:9-12

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This happened.  David’s son Absalom was narcissistic, to the point that he even weighed his cut hair to show how lush it was (2 Samuel 14:26).  2 Samuel describes other examples of Absalom’s narcissistic traits.  Absalom’s narcissism led him to seek to overthrow David to become king, resulting in David fleeing Jerusalem to escape.  God ultimately delivered David out of Absalom’s hand, but not before God had used Absalom – to discipline David for his sin.

This was a Biblical case study.  I also know of two cases close to home.  I am by no means saying that every narcissist in our life is God’s punishment for something we’ve done in the past.  Absolutely not.  But it is possible.

How do we respond to this?  The normal tools for dealing with narcissists (addressed in this blog and in the book “A Biblical Perspective On Narcissism”) are appropriate.  In addition we should consider the admonition in Hebrews:

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For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are punished by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He punishes every son whom He accepts.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is impaired may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

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Pay particular attention to the last phrase in Hebrews 12:13.  How do we respond?  “Make straight paths for your feet” – live a life of righteousness – “so that the limb which is impaired (lame) may not be dislocated (permanently injured), but rather be healed.”

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See here for initial steps to peace with God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David and Absalom

Reproofs

NOT EVERYONE

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Building A Biblical Perspective On Insolent Pride – Psalm 119

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Let’s do a little exercise on how to increase your Biblical perspective on a subject – it could be any subject – using “insolent pride” (the Biblical term for narcissism) as the example.

If you are starting from zero, it is impossible to immediately have the entire Biblical perspective right at the beginning.  You can only start with one piece, add another piece, and another piece, until a picture forms.  Consider it like building a wall brick by brick, or a painting brush-stroke by brush-stroke, or even a Lego figure lego-brick by lego-brick.  You analyze and interpret each brick, but also compare how it fits in with the next brick.  If you do not understand where a particular brick fits, you may have to set it aside until you see how it fits into the emerging figure.

Are there any guideposts that keep you on track at the very beginning?  You could use a picture of the finished work.  In the case of a Biblical perspective on something, the ultimate finished work is the nature and character of God, especially as shown through the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Key verses like I John 4:10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:8, and John 3:16 provide foundational guideposts.

Let’s take a shot at how this brick building might work, using Psalm 119.

Psalm 119 talks about those with insolent pride.  How do we know this?  While the English word is “pride”, the Hebrew word (found through resources like http://www.biblehub.com) “zed” is the word for “insolent pride”.

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Strong’s Concordance
zed: insolent, presumptuous

Original Word: זֵד
Definition: insolent, presumptuous
from zud
Definition:  insolent, presumptuous
NASB Translation:  arrogant (9), arrogant men (1), presumptuous (1), proud (2).

KJV Translation: proud

Looking at each instance where “zed” is used in Psalm 119, we find the following verses – and what they tell us about 1.  narcissists, 2.  how God deals with them, and/or 3.  how we should we respond.

Here we go.  Remember that each use of the word “proud” below is “zed” – or insolent pride.  The following is from the King James Version.

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Psalm 119:21 – Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.  

    • God rebukes narcissists
    • They are “cursed” – either in this life (God opposes the proud) through failure, and/or in the next life through spending eternity in hell
    • Narcissists do NOT do what God says (even though they may claim or pretend to)

Psalm 119:51 – The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

    • Narcissists heavily scorned, mocked, looked down on, and criticized David (Hebrew word is  “lits” – the same as scoffer, one of the other terms for narcissists) – BUT
    • David did not use that attack from the narcissists as an excuse to walk away from God and his instructions for life
Psalm 119:69 – The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
    • Narcissists created (“forged”) lies against David – BUT
    • Rather than focus on fighting the lies, David put his attention on wholeheartedly following God and doing what He said
Psalm 119:78 – Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
    • Because narcissists twisted the truth and undermined David – even though he was innocent – David asked God to cause them fail in a humbling way that embarrassed and humiliated them – BUT
    • While GOD was dealing with narcissists in response to his prayer, David focused his attention in meditation on God’s word and how HE wanted David to live
Psalm 119:85 – The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
    • This one is a little unclear in the KJV – the NASB says it this way “The arrogant have dug pits for me, people who are not in accord with Your Law.”
    • Narcissists do not walk according to God’s ways (although they may say that they do – ie they are hypocrites).
    • They dig pits (create traps, try to undermine) others
Psalm 119:122 – Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
    • David asked God to promise good for him, backed by His own Person – (reputation, glory, blood if needed) – AND
    • Part of that promise would be for God to prevent narcissists from oppressing him.  He looked to God in specific prayer for HIS protection.
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There we are.  How many things did we learn about dealing with narcissists just from Psalm 119?  I count 14 – maybe you count a couple more or a few less.  Anyway, this is how a Biblical perspective is developed, line upon line.

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But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little  ‘

Isaiah 28:13

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Once again, when starting out do not come to a locked-in conclusion, until you have many pieces which make sense together.  If something does not make sense, set it aside until God further reveals it.  Do NOT develop your theology based on just a couple of verses.  We interpret every part of the Bible through consistency with the WHOLE Bible.  This takes a lifetime, but the effort and journey is worth it.

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Click here for the initial steps on how to know God personally

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About The Book And This Blog …..

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Reviews of the book, “A Biblical Perspective On Narcissism” show up on Amazon, Good Reads, Audible, and Facebook, etc.  They are all interesting and helpful in their own way.  Some people take the book for what it is, while others approach it looking for the answers they want to hear – and express disappointment and even anger when the book does not give them the justification they are looking for.  Some people do not actually read it carefully, and claim the book says or doesn’t say what was actually written.  That’s pretty normal – people tend to interpret life through the lens of their experiences and wishes.

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There was a recent review that pretty accurately reflects what the book is really about – and by extension what this blog is about.  Even though the review is public, I’ll let the author remain anonymous.  Here’s the review.

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If you’re living with a narcissist, and you want a biblical way to handle it, please read this book! This is the eighth book I have read on narcissism. The others helped me understand what it is, how to spot a narcissist and how to set boundaries. But this book is the first to give me a way to deal with it and live with narcissists, instead of just avoiding or divorcing them.   Instead of just calling narcissism a problem or mental disorder, the author goes to the heart of the matter. Narcissism is an insolently proud heart in competition with God to be God. A narcissist acts charming and good, but seeks self-exaltation and is a deceiving liar at the core. Scriptures say when someone rejects God their foolish heart will be darkened. The author says that rejecting God and His truth is the beginning of narcissistic pride.

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This book provides actionable wisdom on how a narcissist thinks and behaves and how we can protect our hearts with God’s word and truth. Go to God first. Let Him confirm your worth. Put on the full armor of God. Speak truth to yourself to counter narcissistic lies. See the narcissist as they are: unreliable, lacking in judgment and contentious. Fight evil with good, don’t rebuke but pray for wisdom in this warfare.

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Other books validated my experience of narcissists, but this is the first time my responses such as finding a safe corner to go to when narcissistic contention gets overwhelming were validated. Or knowing that God allowed this experience to bring good for me and good character from me.

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In living with narcissists, turning to God is key, or as the author states, the experience will just remain a series of hurts in our lives (PG 273). God has used my narcissists to heal me, show me my pride and other sins, and teach me to forgive. I have failed to love my narcissistic enemies, but that’s the next step.

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After finishing this book, for the first time since realizing that I was living with a narcissist, I have hope. God’s word works in all situations. My narcissists don’t define me. God is my strength and my shield. He is the strength of my heart Psalm 73:26. I can overcome this suffering by going to God first in prayer, standing against lies with truth, returning good for evil, relying on scriptural wisdom for action steps, and guarding my heart with God’s armor during this warfare. Remember this: Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous, fear not and do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave nor forsake you.

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This book is definitely one that I will read again. The author made the narrative flow easily from one point to the next. And the points came from scriptures. I was reading another bible study at the same time, and the contrast caught my attention. This book let’s scriptures speak first and the narrative flow from what they say. The other book wrote the narrative first then found a verse to fit what they wanted to say. I thought about writing about my experiences with narcissists, but this book started what I was thinking and more.

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I have said before and want to say again that this book was the result of my own personal search for God’s perspective in dealing with these difficult people (I am “Barry” in the introduction to the book).  It is by no means perfect or the final answer, but rather a starting point and framework for further digging and seeking God’s grace.  I continue to dig and learn, and I’m sure you as well.

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Narcissists and Sluggards Are Cousins

I came across a couple situations in just the past week which reminded me that narcissists are often “sluggards” (very lazy people).  Why?  In many cases the narcissist’s insolent pride creates a sense of entitlement which gives them the attitude that “what I want should just be given to me, without me needing to work for it”.

The Bible describes those with insolent pride and sluggards as two different people, but also provides some common characteristics.  For example, the sluggard shows characteristics of insolent pride, either through thinking they are wiser (superior) to even wise men…..

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The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can give a discreet answer. 
Proverbs 26:16
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….. or through focus on the fulfillment of their desires….
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The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made fat. 
Proverbs 13:4
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For the sluggard, it’s all about “what I want”, pridefully focusing on his desires without demeaning himself by actually needing to work.
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This is similar to the one with insolent pride (narcissist), who also thinks he does not have to work, but can instead focus on what he wants – self-exaltation.
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Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant Than he who honors himself and lacks bread. 
Proverbs 12:9
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As discussed in a previous post, a narcissist often brags about his “accomplishments” instead of actually working to make them happen – talking instead of working.
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The sluggard and narcissist are different characters, but in some cases share the same traits.   In addition to a prideful “know it all” attitude, they are both expert in making excuses or blaming others when they fall short of their responsibilities.  Of the sluggard Proverbs says,
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The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!” 
Proverbs 22:13
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There is no lion in the street, the sluggard just makes up stories so that he does not have to go out and actually work.
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What do you do with this?  As we have said before, the best thing is to recognize them beforehand and avoid them.
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The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it. 
Proverbs 22:3
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If you unwisely hire them (as one example), the next best thing is to place clear boundaries with attendant consequences….
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Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And blows for the back of fools. 
Proverbs 19:29
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….giving you the basis to kick them out of your business when they inevitably violate the boundaries
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Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, Even strife and dishonor will cease. 
Proverbs 22:10
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Narcissist Traits and Tactics – They Are Deceivers (and Liars)

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Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers,
Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,

Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we have made a pact.
The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by,
For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”   

Therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

Isaiah 28:14-16

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Isaiah 28:14-16 refers to the Pharisees during Jesus’ time.  They “rule this people who are in Jerusalem”, and God’s response to them was to lay a “costly cornerstone” – referring to Jesus (Isaiah 28:16)
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By calling these people “scoffers”, the passage in Isaiah clearly indicates that they had “insolent pride”, which is the scriptural term for narcissism (Proverbs 21:24).    Verse 15 indicates that falsehood and deception were central to their mode of operating.  They make “falsehood our refuge and conceal themselves with deception”.
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Jesus confirmed this when He bluntly told the Pharisees,
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You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 
John 8:44
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Why do narcissists lie?   In their personal imperative to be #1 and “lord” over everyone, lying is a simply a tool to achieve it.  They lie –
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  • To gain an advantage
  • To win you over – for the ultimate purpose of “using” you in some way
  • To make sure that they “win” – the argument, the promotion, the family squabble
  • To hide their real desires
  • To hide their real motives
  • To hide their real goals
  • To make themselves look better (and you worse in comparison)

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They cannot stand being wrong, and will twist facts and even lie to themselves to prove to themselves and others that they are right.  Their mental processes revolve around their self-exaltation, not around whether they are telling the truth.  They don’t think in terms of truth telling – they think in terms of exalting themselves.

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Narcissists live in a world of untruth – about themselves, their circumstances, others, …. and God.

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Gaining Additional Perspective – Free Books

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This blog mostly digs into the nuts and bolts of how narcissist traits, tactics, how they got that way and what to do with our situations.  But we also need to understand the big question of “where is God in all of this”?

Two books that have been very helpful to me in the past few years.  Both are by John Piper.  The first book is “Spectacular Sins And Their Global Purpose In The Glory of Christ” 

Book Image

The second book is “Future Grace;  The Purifying Power of The Promises of God”

Book Image

 

These books do not talk about narcissism or insolent pride at all, but lifted my perspective to see a kind, loving, wise, powerful God who is behind everything and constantly working to show His greatness in and toward us.    They will not give you “all the answers”, but do provide a framework for processing God’s hand in the events of your life.

They are worth a look.  You can get them on Amazon, your Christian book distributor – or get free PDF downloads and/or summaries here by clicking on the links in this post.

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Spectacular Sins, and Their Global Purpose In The Glory of Christ

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Future Grace: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God

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* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  See here

 

 

 

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Dealing With Narcissists – “Avoid Them” Using An Employment Test

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Proverbs 22:3

The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

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Many of you reading this blog found it through a search for answers in dealing with a narcissist in your life.  You may be in your situation through no fault of your own (you were born to narcissistic parents), through poor relationship choices, or through being duped (deceived) by someone pretending to be something they were not.  Even while struggling in an existing situation, we should know that this will not be the only narcissist (one with insolent pride) you encounter.  More will come your way.

As we discussed here, one way to deal with Narcissists (= “proud, haughty, scoffer”, see here) is to avoid them altogether.  The N’s goal is to conceal themselves until they have wormed their way into your life.  But, as in one application of the principle in Proverbs 22:3, if you are prudent you will learn to recognize them, see the clues, and avoid them.

One area in which this is useful is hiring decisions.  The best way to deal with a narcissist in the workplace is to keep them from getting into your company or onto your team in the first place.

The problem with avoiding the hiring of a narcissist is that they are especially good at presenting themselves in the best light in an interviewing process.   And the interviewing process is typically brief enough that it is hard to sort out fact from fiction in such a short period of time.

I found a simple 10 question test to administer in order to quickly find out how “narcissistic” a prospective employee or team member may be.  You can find it here.  The test is not exhaustive or definitive, but it may give you some indication as to whether you have a potential narcissist on your hands.

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You need to score the test yourself

  1. Put the number in each box
  2. Add up the total
  3. The “narcissism scale” runs from 10 to 50.  The closer to 50, the more narcissistic the candidate, the closer to 10, the less narcissistic the candidate.

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I learned this lesson very painfully a few years back.  It was in an international setting, there was a major language barrier, and I was on my own for a couple months while other staff were out of the country doing other things.  I gave this test to a prospective hire, who scored very close to 50.  I should have heeded the warning and backed out of the business relationship, but felt that I was in too deep to do so.  I was wrong, and should have found a way to exit anyway.  The end result was major difficulty for him and for me.  For security reasons I really can’t share it, but it was bad.

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I urge you, and urge myself, to continue to learn prudence in recognizing N’s and avoiding entanglement, when it is possible.

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Click here for an introduction to what this blog is about

See here for an introduction on how to know God personally

 

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Narcissist Traits – Honoring Themselves Instead of Working

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Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant
Than he who honors himself and lacks bread. 

Proverbs 12:9

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The priority for a narcissist is self-exaltation.  If no one else is there to honor them, they won’t hesitate to honor themselves.  They will go around bragging about their “accomplishments” instead of actually going out and making them happen – talking instead of working.

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Narcissist Tactics – Sniping At Those of Whom They’re Jealous (Pharisee Case Study)

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29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.  The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”  And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” 

 

Luke 5:29-32

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The Pharisees were jealous that Jesus, instead of themselves, was getting the attention and honor from a great crowd at this reception organized especially for Him.  Rather than recognize their own jealously, they began to sneeringly condemn and criticize everyone else at the reception.  They took a condescending, judgmental, holier-than-thou attitude toward the entire crowd by labeling them all as sinners, and then arrogantly judged Jesus for not separating from the guests.  They showed their insincere cowardice by whispering against Jesus behind his back instead of directly addressing him with their concerns.   This was all an arrogant outflowing of their jealously – cloaked as “holiness”.

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Jesus knew about the Pharisees grumbling to His disciples.  He could have rebuked them for the jealously at the root of their comments, or for their insolent pride at looking down their nose at virtually everyone in the room.  However, instead of getting down in the mud with the Pharisees, He pointed them and anyone else listening to a much higher point – the need for everyone who was willing to recognize (by admitting they were spiritually “sick”) their need for repentance.  The Pharisees in their pride would, of course, not recognize their need, and therefore would not receive healing.

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This was a subtle rebuke to the Pharisees’s self-centered blind jealously, and in the process, Jesus communicated to His listening disciples His willingness to engage with people for their benefit.  And in the process, He demonstrated Proverbs 26:4-5:

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Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes. 

 

Proverbs 26:4-5

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Click here for steps on how to know GOD personally

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

 

 

 

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There is No Defense Against God’s Humbling

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It is frustrating, annoying, and maddening when we see narcissists – those with insolent pride – skate by and seemingly get away with their self-absorbed abusive actions.  We wonder when justice will prevail.  God does not immediately lower the boom, but He has set them in slippery places and ultimately will (Psalm 73).  And when He does, there is nothing can do to stop it.  God explained this in His prophecy about the nation of Edom in the Old Testament book of Obadiah.

Obadiah 1-4

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom—

We have heard a report from the Lord,
And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying,
“Arise and let us go against her for battle”—
“Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
You are greatly despised.
“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you,
You who live in the clefts of the rock,
In the loftiness of your dwelling place,
Who say in your heart,
‘Who will bring me down to earth?’
“Though you build high like the eagle,
Though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.

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It is easy for a proud person to think that he can build a strong enough wall through his wealth or fame or ability to manipulate situations to prevent himself from being humbled by God.  Of course, a proud person does not consciously think in terms of being humbled by God (as he rarely acknowledges God), but in terms of “bad things happening” to him.  But as God demonstrated through Nebuchadnezzar, He is able to humble anyone.  And as He declares here with Edom (the descendants of Esau, a case study in narcissism), it does not matter how much an N tries to guard against it, if God decides to humble an N, He will make it happen.

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See here for initial steps to peace with God

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  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here
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Can A Narcissist Be A Christian? It’s All About Fruit vs. No Fruit

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“Can A Narcissist Be A Christian”? is one of the frequent search terms for people finding their way to this blog.  It is a very understandable question, along the lines of “How can X be a Christian and act like THAT?”, or “How can X claim to follow Jesus and treat people in the opposite way to how Jesus might”?

In John 15, Jesus makes it clear that the answer to this question is all about whether or not the person demonstrates any (and, as we shall see later, genuine) fruit.  It is not the fruit that saves, but is the outward evidence of the relationship with Him.

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John 15:1-14

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. Continue reading

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The Reversal Doctrine (Randy Alcorn, EPM.org)

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All of us stand on the shoulders of those who have come before.  It’s not just what we learn from them, but the example of their lives.   Paul said,

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You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of [referring to Biblical truth], knowing from whom you have learned them…
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2 Timothy 3:14
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One of those “shoulders” among many for me has been Randy Alcorn – someone who has a clear view of our eternal future, which provides the ultimate perspective on the challenges of our current lives.

He provided the following great perspective on his blog, and rather than stumble through my own explanation it is far better for you to hear it directly from him.  The following is reprinted in its entirety from Randy Alcorn’s blog at Eternal Perspectives Ministry

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The Reversal Doctrine

Luke 16:19-31 tells us the story of a rich man, and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man dressed well, lived in luxury, and was apparently healthy. Lazarus was a beggar, diseased, dirty, and “longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table” (Luke16:21). If I asked, “Who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus?” you would presumably reply, “The rich man, of course.”

We aren’t told that this rich man was dishonest or irreligious or that he was worse than your average person. We don’t know that he despised poor Lazarus; we only know that he ignored him. He lived his life as if the poor man didn’t exist. He didn’t use his God-provided wealth to care for another man in need.

Both men die. Lazarus goes to Heaven and the rich man goes to hell. When the rich man begs Abraham from across the gulf to send Lazarus to relieve his suffering, Abraham replies, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25).

Now that you’ve heard the rest of the story, who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus? You’d probably like to switch places, wouldn’t you? But that’s Abraham’s point: After death, it’s too late to switch.

This parable represents a strong and often overlooked New Testament teaching, which we might call “the reversal doctrine.” It teaches that in eternity many of us will find ourselves in opposite conditions from our current situation on earth.

In this life, the rich man “lived in luxury every day,” while Lazarus begged at his gate, living in misery. At the moment of death, their situations reversed—the rich man was in hell’s torment and the poor man in Heaven’s comfort.

It would be both simplistic and theologically inaccurate to conclude that Heaven is earned by poverty and hell is earned by wealth. But this parable is not isolated—it corroborates a host of other teachings by Jesus, as well as those of the apostles.

In the song she composed in anticipation of Christ’s birth, Mary said, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke1:53).

“Blessed are you who are poor,” Jesus says, and “Woe to you who are rich,” precisely because their status will one day be reversed (Luke6:20, 25). The poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and are persecuted will be relieved and fulfilled and have a great reward in heaven (Matthew 5:3-12). Those praised in this world will not be highly regarded in the next, and vice versa (Matthew 6:1-4, 16-18). Those who are exalted in this life will often be humbled in the next; those who are humbled here on earth will be exalted in Heaven (Matthew23:12).

Those who are poor in this world will often be rich in the next, and those who are rich in this world will often be poor in the next (James 1:9-12). The poor are reassured that the hoarding and oppressing rich will one day be punished and the honest poor will be relieved (James 5:1-6). In Revelation 18:7, a voice from Heaven says of materialistic Babylon, “Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.”

Some of these passages may present us with theological difficulties, but all of them remind us that temporal sacrifices will pay off in eternity and temporal indulgences will cost us in eternity. These are the verses that encouraged Christian slaves and should have served warning to the plantation owners who were profiting from slavery. The reversal doctrine is comforting to the poor and weak, and threatening to the rich and powerful. But it’s a consistent teaching of the New Testament—one that confirms the premise that materialism is not only wrong but stupid. Conversely, trusting God, giving and caring and sharing are not only right but smart.

Someday this upside-down world will be turned right side up. Nothing in all eternity will turn it back again. If we are wise, we will spend our brief lives on earth positioning ourselves for the turn.

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Don’t Let Them Suck You Into Their Drama

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Narcissists are notorious for engaging in self-focused drama, while attempting to suck every one else in.  It’s one of their go-to moves to attract attention.  It might look like this:

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Jesus was well aware of the danger of allowing His narcissists – the Pharisees – to throw Him off His mission.  He engaged with them when they approached Him with a test, but did not make them the focus of His ministry.  He expressed His overall view to His disciples,

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“Let them [the Pharisees] alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” 
Matthew 15:14
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“Let them alone” could be considered a version of the pop-psychology concept of “low contact”.  [As stated earlier in this blog, “no contact” and “low contact” greatly depends on the nature of the relationship.]
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One reason that Jesus did not make the Pharisees a focus of His ministry is that they did not feel they had a need, and were not genuinely open to what He had to say (with a few exceptions).   When the Pharisees slyly criticized Jesus for ministering to tax collectors and sinners, He responded:
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Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.   
Matthew 9:10-12
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Jesus correctly focused on His true ministry, and did not let the drama which His narcissists tried to stir up to sidetrack Him.
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Let your Narcissist have their drama on their own time and in their own space, and don’t let them waste your time and life by drawing you in.

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

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