Narcissism and The Progression of Fools – Introduction

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We have until now focused this biblical study of what the secular world calls “narcissism” primarily on the term “scoffer”, as one of the labels applied to those with insolent pride – the Biblical analog to the secular term.

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Proverbs 21:24

24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.

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While not specifically called by the English term “fool”, the scoffer is part of a progression of foolishness described in Proverbs, starting with the “simple fool” (or “naive”), and moving all the way to the “committed fool”.  Each is a progressively greater degree of turning away from God’s wisdom, and walking an increasingly proud and self-seeking path which is independent from God.   Pride is a primary root to this self-seeking path independent from God, with increasing insolence up to the level of “insolent pride” (aka “scoffer”) and beyond.   Knowing this progression is helpful in identifying at least one of the ways in which someone can become a narcissist.

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The progression is as follows:

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(Types of Fool)     naive  ->  perverse ->  scoffing  ->   stubborn ->   committed

(Hebrew word)     pthiy  ->     ewil       ->     luts       ->      kecil      ->      nabal Continue reading

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Narcissist* Traits – They Do Not Think They Are In Need of Help (Pharisee Case Study)

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John 9:39-41

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

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The narcissistic Pharisees were in fact blind, even though they claimed that they could see.  They were blind to the true condition of their hearts, thinking themselves to be righteous teachers and spiritual leaders, when in fact their hearts were full of evil thoughts, desires, and motives.  Jesus later was very direct in pointing out to the Pharisees their blindness. Continue reading

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Narcissist Tactics – Projecting An Image Of Success (While Covering Up Failure)

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Proverbs 13:7

There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing;
Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.

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Why would someone, especially someone who has nothing, pretend to be rich?  It likely comes down to self-exaltation.  This motive for self-exaltation in the midst of failure is highlighted in the second half of Proverbs 12:9.

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Narcissist Traits – They Contradict Themselves

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Luke 6:45

45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

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We read in Psalms 5:9 of a narcissist (aka one with insolent pride*), that “there is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself.”   And we read in secular sources (and have experienced) that narcissists can say something in one sentence, and contradict themselves in the next sentence (or even in the very same sentence).  It seems crazy when they do this – they seem crazy when they do this – and they have no clue that they are even doing it.  What’s going on?  

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Ultimately, as Luke 6:45 indicates, it is our heart that drives our words and actions. Continue reading

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The Opposite Of Narcissism Is Love – Intro

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1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails…….

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We would normally think that the opposite of narcissism / insolent pride is humility – which is true.  But, insolent pride is also the opposite of genuine love.   According to the verses above, love

  • Is kind
  • Is not jealous
  • Does not brag
  • Is not arrogant
  • Does not seek its own
  • Is not provoked
  • Does not take into account a wrong suffered

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These are the polar opposites of the traits shown by narcissists.   As we will discuss going forward, the contrast between narcissism and genuine love is fundamental to helping us understand:

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  • the real (eternal) consequences which narcissists have chosen for themselves
  • why God allows them to wreak havoc
  • how God wants us to respond and deal with them
  • why it is important that we look at our own hearts even while we are struggling with the N in our lives

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  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls insolent pride – see here

 

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Narcissist Traits – They Have A Tendency Toward “Legalism” (Pharisee Case Study)

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Matthew 23:23-28

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

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See here and here on how we know that the scribes and Pharisees are a case study in narcissism

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Legalism is a focus on technical, outward conformance to a standard without regard for the spirit of the standard.  Legalistic people may adjust to comply with the external standard, while neglecting, ignoring, or outright rejecting any changes needed to their core heart attitutde.  The Pharisees were “legalistic” – they were focused on outward compliance with the rules (God’s law plus the ones they made up) rather than on being righteous on the inside.  But God had made it clear from the early days of their people that the focus should be on their hearts:

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Deuteronomy 6:4-6

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart…….

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The scribes and Pharisees knew that commandment, as shown by the lawyer’s response to Jesus’ question….. Continue reading

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Narcissist Traits – They Judgmentally Compare Themselves To Others (Pharisee Case Study)

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Mark 7:5

The Pharisees and the scribes *asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

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Luke 5:30

30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”

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As we said here, scoffers (those with insolent pride, aka narcissists) set themselves up as judge.   Unless they can somehow get in an official position where they can judge others, they will unofficially compare themselves with others in a judgmental way.    They may not do this consciously, but their instinct for moral superiority makes it natural for them to frequently compare themselves with others, with an eye toward what the others are doing wrong and how they themselves are “better”.   In the verses, above, the Pharisees were comparing what Jesus and His disciples did with what they did.  In both cases, what Jesus did was not wrong – but the Pharisees set their own actions up as the standard to live by, and then judged Jesus and His disciples for not matching up to their standard.  Of course, they did not come right out and say, “you’re wrong”, but expressed their judgmental spirit through questions. Continue reading

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Revisiting Narcissist* Traits

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Matthew 7:16-18

16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

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They Like The Thought of Being Superior .

They Actually Think They’re Better

Sitting in the Seat of Scoffers / Narcissists as Judge .

They Refuse To Listen

Looking On Others With Contempt

They Deceive Themselves

They Never Learn

They’re Impossible To Please

Religious (Maybe), But Not Truly Moral or Righteous .

They Are Deceivers (and Liars)

Big Time Hypocrites

Making It Look Good

They’re Conflict Creators

They Lack Perspective On What’s Important

They Have Poor Judgment

They Add Fuel To Fires

Nothing But Strife

They Focus On Your Version Of Their Problem .

They Want To Be The Center of Attention

What is Narcissism

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  • Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here
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Narcissistic Personality Disorder* In The Clergy

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3 John 1:9 – I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

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Matthew 7:15 – Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

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In a very recent study discussed in the paper FREQUENCY OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER IN PASTORS: A PRELIMINARY STUDY“, the researchers found a relatively higher percentage of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (“NPD”) among the clergy than in the regular population.  The study discussed the impact of the NPD pastors’ approach to ministry as well as the negative impact on their congregations.

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Narcissistic Traits – The Contentious Wife, Part 1

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There are comments in the secular world that more men are narcissistic than women.  A couple of responses to that notion are:

  1. There is very little factual basis for that assumption
  2. Narcissism can take different forms (see here).  The way a man reveals his narcissism may be different than a way a woman reveals her narcissism.
  3. Narcissism is about the insolent pride of the heart, for which both men and women have a propensity

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Having said that, the following discussion is not intended to say that women are more narcissistic than men.  It is simply a discussion on how the Bible describes one way that a woman’s narcissism may reveal itself.

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The Bible has a few choice things to say about a contentious wife

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Proverbs 21:9 – It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
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Continue reading

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Another Narcissism Test

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Narcissism (Insolent Pride) can take many forms.  He (or she) can be the obvious extroverted center of attention, but he can also be introverted and reserved.

The essence of narcissism is not the outward style, but “selfishness and empty conceit” instead of “humility of mind” – as Paul admonished against here……

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Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…”

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A good secular discussion of this can be found in the following article

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http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/23-signs-youe28099re-secretly-a-narcissist-masquerading-as-a-sensitive-introvert/

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This article includes an interesting test for “introverted narcissism”.  Its worth a look.

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Note:  Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible describes as “insolent pride” – see here

 

 

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Narcissist* Consequences – Nothing But Strife

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Proverbs 13:10 – Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.
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This one almost speaks for itself.   Narcissists / those with insolent pride are conflict creators.  Their focus on self-exaltation and getting what they want causes them to take actions that run people over in the pursuit of getting what they want – rather than “wasting their time and energy” on having peaceful relationships.
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The word for insolence in Proverbs 13:10 is the same word as that used in our “key” verse of Proverbs 21:24 – “Proud, haughty, scoffer are his names; who acts with insolent pride.”.

Proverbs 11:2
HEB: בָּֽא־ זָ֭דוֹן וַיָּבֹ֣א קָל֑וֹן
NAS: When pride comes, then comes
KJV: [When] pride cometh, then cometh
INT: comes pride comes dishonor

Proverbs 13:10
HEB: רַק־ בְּ֭זָדוֹן יִתֵּ֣ן מַצָּ֑ה
NAS: Through insolence comes nothing
KJV: Only by pride cometh contention:
INT: but insolence comes strife

Proverbs 21:24
HEB: ע֝וֹשֶׂ֗ה בְּעֶבְרַ֥ת זָדֽוֹן׃
NAS: Who acts with insolent pride.
KJV: who dealeth in proud wrath.
INT: acts wrath insolent

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Strong’s Concordance
zadon: insolence, presumptuousness

Original Word: זָדוֹן
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: zadon
Phonetic Spelling: (zaw-done’)
Short Definition: arrogance

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from zud
Definition
insolence, presumptuousness
NASB Translation
arrogance (3), arrogant (2), insolence (2), insolent pride (1), presumptuously (2), pride (1)..

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* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here for more

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Narcissistic* Traits – They “Will Not Listen” To Rebuke

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Proverbs 13:1 – A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer** does not listen to rebuke.
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Descriptions of traits of narcissists* (those with insolent pride, see here) can benefit us in two ways.  First, the traits will help us understand and even predict the behavior of someone we know to be a narcissist.  But also, the traits will help us to recognize narcissists when we encounter them.
The narcissistic trait in this Proverb is that they “will not listen” to rebuke.  They attempt to refuse or even shut down even the slightest objection to their plans or actions.  This may include pushing back surprisingly hard against any hint that what they are saying or doing is not correct.  Or it could be simply dismissing a suggestion out of hand, with a bit of a condescending tone (hence the term scoffer).   “Will not listen” could be somewhat passive, but it also could take a very aggressive form.
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These actions may be based on their strong determination to get their own way, their belief that they are fundamentally always right, or a strong drive to refuse anyone else telling them what to do (resistance of any authority over them).
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So, when you encounter someone who reacts in an aggressive and condescending way to what should have been a normal discussion point, you might be dealing with a narcissist.  And once you can recognize that, it will radically alter how you deal with that person.
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*   Narcissist is a colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  (see here)
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**  Scoffer is one of the terms used in the Bible for narcissists  (see here)
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Narcissistic Traits* – They Have Poor Judgment

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As mentioned here, narcissists tend to stumble a lot.  One reason (of several) they stumble is that they lack good judgment.   Jesus referred to the Pharisees’ lack of perspective and lack of good judgement by saying of them:

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Matthew 23:24

24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!   

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The Pharisees had little or no perspective on the relative importance of things (we see that the Pharisees were narcissists here and here).  Secular literature on narcissism also refers to narcissists’ lack of perspective on the relative importance of things – see here.

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Another reason that narcissists lack good judgement is that they are unwilling to receive counsel.  Proverbs is clear about the need for counsel……

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Proverbs 11:14 – Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory

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but narcissists resist going for counsel as that process also opens them up to possible criticism.

A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise.

[Scoffers is one of the Biblical terms for narcissist (see here, herehere)]

The scoffer / narcissist’s unwillingness to listen to counsel is itself a lack of good judgment….. resulting in not having the good counsel needed for making wise decisions.

* narcissist is a common use colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  See here.

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Narcissistic* Traits Case Study – Acting As Judge (Pharisees)

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The Pharisees are one of the prime examples of Insolent Pride / Narcissism in the Bible (see here and here).  They were described as “scoffers” in Isaiah 28.   And “Scoffers” are one of the “names” given to those with insolent pride – [“‘Proud’, ‘haughty’, ‘scoffer’ are his names who acts with insolent pride” – Proverbs 21:24].  And insolent pride = narcissism (see here).

A prime characteristic of a scoffer is that they set themselves up as judge over others, based on an arbitrary standard of their own creation.   They will not try to keep their own standard, as they see themselves as above the rules.  And they will change the standard as necessary to suit their primary objective of being “above” others (that’s one of the reasons its an “arbitrary” standard).  The imperative of scoffers / insolent pride / narcissists is to maintain their superiority over others.

Here are some examples of the Pharisees acting as judge:

 

  • Matthew 9:11 – When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”

The Pharisees set an implied arbitrary rule as to who “righteous” people should eat with, and then judged Jesus against that rule]

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  • Matthew 9:14 – Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

The Pharisees took something they were doing (fasting), and turned it into a standard they could use with which to judge others]

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  • Matthew 9:34 – But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

Rather than carefully exploring how Jesus was able to cast out demons, the Pharisees jumped to the conclusion that since Jesus’ power could not be from God (based on the Pharisees’ own pre-determined view), it had to come from Satan.  Since linking Jesus’ miracles as being sourced from Satan would clearly undermine His ministry, the Pharisees were quick to take the opportunity to do this.]

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  • Matthew 12:2 – But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”

The Pharisees were interpreting the law according to their own opinion, and using their interpretation as the basis for judging Jesus]

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  • Matthew 12:24 – But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”

Once again, rather than honestly exploring the true source Jesus’ ability to cast out demons, the Pharisees were quick to judge and condemn Him, based on an interpretation that would most fully demean and undermine Jesus.]

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* Narcissism is the colloquial secular term for what the Bible refers to as “insolent pride”.

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