The First Example Of Covert Narcissism In The Bible

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The lies, manipulation, and deceit of covert narcissism are in many ways far more destructive than the in-your-face approach of overt narcissists.  When a covert narcissist successfully portrays their lie as the truth, they change the life course of everyone who believes their lie. – as well as their intended target.  Most of us want to believe that what we are hearing from someone is the truth, and most of us start by believing the best of others – as this is a more positive way to live.  That makes us more vulnerable to believing the lies of a covert narcissist.

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The Bible illustrates this multiple times, starting with the original narcissist, Satan.  When he first appeared to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he did not say “I’m a big powerful angel – in fact the most beautiful angel.  I can do great things for you, so you should follow me and let me help you”.  Instead his tool for getting them to follow him started by very subtly and deceitfully undermining a constraint which God had established.

God clearly told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and outlined the consequences if they did….

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15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [n]eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” 

Genesis 2:15-17

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Satan did not use the overt narcissist tactic of, “I’m great, follow me”.  Instead he first created doubt by asking a seemingly “innocent” question – “did God really say that?”

 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [a]any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Genesis 2:3-5

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Satan’s first question was in fact not innocent because of his underlying intention to drive a wedge between Adam and Eve, and God.  In our interactions with our covert narcissist we might consider such an “innocent” question as simply a request to double back and confirm the truth.  In this case, since God had already clearly stated His boundary, questioning if God really said it was an invitation to disobedience.

After Eve’s not-quite-accurate answer to Satan’s setup question, Satan next directly lied in contradiction to God by saying, “you surely will not die!”  He followed the lie by undermining God’s goodness by implying that God was withholding something good from Adam and Eve through the boundary He had set – “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.

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Satan used the setup question, the follow-up lie,  and the questioning of God’s motive to turn the desires of Eve’s heart into successfully separating Adam and Eve from their Creator.  We all know the result of Adam and Eve naively falling for this covert narcissist’s (Satan) tactics.

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How can we avoid being duped by the covert narcissist?

We need to seek to replace our naivete with prudence.  God says twice in Proverbs

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

Proverbs 22:3

A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, The naive proceed and pay the penalty. 
Proverbs 27:12
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When God repeats something, pay attention.  Even though normal people want to take a constructive approach to others, it is important to understand that evil lurks in the heart of man, and not simply believe everything.

One way to do that is to fact check,

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The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.
Proverbs 18:17
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A covert narcissist will typically “go first” in his steps to manipulate a situation.  He is the one with the plan, the intention to get what he wants.  By going first he gets to set the agenda, to define the playing field, and to put his target on the defensive.  Those whom the covert narcissist is trying to manipulate for there agenda must realize that these people exist, and not accept everything we hear at face value.
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One other thing that we can do is to ask God to thwart the covert narcissist’s efforts.  Psalm 5 is one of several Psalms to use as a prayer guide
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For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
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Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
Make Your way straight before me.
There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself.
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.
10 Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
For they are rebellious against You.   
Psalm 5:4-6, 8-10
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I believe that most covert narcissists would be overt narcissists if they got the chance.  But in the meantime we should have a goal of becoming far more discerning to identify the covert narcissists in our midst and be alert to their tactics.
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How Do You Know There’s A Covert Narcissist In Your Midst?

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One subject we have not talked about much is the difference between overt and covert narcissism.  At its most basic:

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  • An overt narcissist is an in-your-face braggart and bully
  • A covert narcissist plays the victim, and uses manipulation and deceit to get what they want,

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There is not a clear line between the two – an overt narcissist may use manipulation and deceit, and a covert narcissist may be a bully if they get the chance.

As the covert narcissist is far more subtle, they are harder to spot.  How can you recognize one in your midst?  Look for non-stop drama and wide-spread conflict that you can’t quite identify nor be sure of the source.

Proverbs 22:10 makes clear that scoffers – a Biblical term for narcissist – are a source of contentiousness:

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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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The fact that if you drive them out, contention leaves as well means that narcissists are a source of contention.  Proverbs 26:20 indicates that this contention can be very subtle.
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For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. 
Proverbs 26:20
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The Hebrew word for whisperer means “talebearer” or “slanderer”.
Covert narcissists will “whisper” as part of their toolbox to spread rumors, lies, and even true things that undermine others as part of their manipulation of a situation to achieve their own ends.  The “whispering” is a source of contention and conflict, but they do it subtly and quietly so that they seem “innocent” even while they are wreaking destruction.
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So, if you are in a group that is roiling in conflict, look around and see if you can identify a covert narcissist who is subtly undermining others in order to achieve some goal of self-exaltation or dominance over one or more people.
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Narcissist Tactics – A Story Of Manipulation

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I am currently dealing with a counseling situation, elements of which I have seen before in a missions context.  The short version is that a narcissist has subtly manipulated a group of people in her (I would call it evil) attempt to undermine and dominate her husband.  Her insolent pride arose from growing up in a tough situation, resulting in deep underlying fear which has resulted in an ongoing attempt to control her world in insolent pride.  The book The First Will Be Last:  A Biblical Perspective on Narcissism explains this more fully.  While we can be empathetic to her root causes, and pray for healing, she is also responsible for her own responses to her early trauma.

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Like in other cases, the narcissist has spread lies and half-truths to turn everyone against the husband.  And as usual, he in this case is not perfect or blameless. In addition, he responded to the manipulation against him in frustration and and anger.  Both of these helped the N more easily succeed in painting herself as a saint and her husband as the bad guy.

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Most people, especially in a Christian context, expect those they are talking with to be truthful.  As a result, we naively tend to believe what we’re being told without fact-checking it.  This is contrary to what God warns us in Proverbs

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The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.
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Proverbs 18:17
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This has made it far easier for the narcissist to manipulate the situation.
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There are examples in Scripture of narcissists manipulating others to become tools in reaching their goals.  The primary one is how the Pharisees (Biblical examples of narcissists, see here) manipulated Pilate to do their dirty work.  John 19:1-16 describes the entire sequence, but the following statements by the Pharisees demonstrate how they manipulated and bullied Pilate to accomplish their goals
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Jesus answered, “You [Pilate] would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” 
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John 19:11-12
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and
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And he [Pilate] *said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”  So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 

So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 

John 19:14-16

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The chief priests did not truly see Caesar as their king.  They said that to manipulate and force Pilate into doing their bidding.  Pilate did not take the time nor had the courage to dig into what they were really doing, with the serious consequence of becoming complicit in the death of Christ.  As we saw earlier, Jesus said that the chief priests had the greater sin, but He did not let Pilate off the hook.

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Back to our counseling situation – what is the husband to do if the narcissistic wife successfully recruits others against him?  Lies against you are virtually impossible to fight on your own.  We must always remember that we can have the God of the Universe as our defender if we are righteous before Him.  The husband first must look to himself and own his mistakes, and yield to God.
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Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart,
I am pure from my sin”? 
Proverbs 20:9
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The process starts with looking internally, and rather than defending yourself admit that there is some measure of sin in your own heart.  If you have done something wrong confess and ask forgiveness, even if the N will use that against you.
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But once that is done, boldly ask God to work on your behalf to protect and defend you
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  1. Ask God to humble the N
  2. Ask God to expose the N’s lies and manipulations
  3. Ask God to defend your reputation (to the extent He sees it is necessary)
  4. Ask God to thwart or counteract specific moves the N makes …
  5. Ask God to bring you specific encouragement and blessing

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Psalm 17 illustrates this:

Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my judgment come forth from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look with equity.
You have tried my heart;
You have visited me by night;
You have tested me and You find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips
I have kept from the paths of the violent.
My steps have held fast to Your paths.
My feet have not slipped.

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand
From those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
From the wicked who despoil me,
My deadly enemies who surround me.
10 They have closed their unfeeling heart,
With their mouth they speak proudly.
11 They have now surrounded us in our steps;
They set their eyes to cast us down to the ground.
12 He is like a lion that is eager to tear,
And as a young lion lurking in hiding places.

13 Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low;
Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword…

Psalm 17:1-13

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On top of this is to pray that God would “enlighten the eyes of the heart” of the narcissist (Ephesians 1), so that they would have a radical revelation of who God really is, and see themselves clearly in comparison to God’s greatness and glory.  This is the foundation to their healing.  This discussion is way beyond the scope of this blog post, but outlined in the book, “The First Will Be Last:  A Biblical Perspective On Narcissism“.

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Narcissistic Projection – Part 2, An Example

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Please see A Biblical Perspective On “Narcissistic Projection” for Part 1

To recap Part 1*, scoffers are hypocritical judges who accuse others of the very things of which they are guilty.  This action is the Biblical equivalent of what the secular world calls “projection”.  From Wikipedia:

“Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.”

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An example of this is in Mark 3: Continue reading

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Narcissist Tactics – Creating Rules , But Acting Above Those Same Rules

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They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 

Matthew 23:4

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Jesus explained a key trait of insolently proud, narcissistic people (illustrated by the Pharisees – see here and here and here) to create rules for others which hypocritically not keeping those same rules.  This is consistent with their arrogant “I’m above you” attitude.  Not only do they believe that they have superior wisdom and standing that makes it right and natural for them to tell you what to do, but their high position of “heavy” (in their own minds) responsibility justifies their not keeping those same rules.  After all, in their own mind they deserve a break since they are doing “so much” for you, right?  Both are clear demonstrations of the assumed superiority of their insolent pride.

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The Pharisees used their limited co-opted authority as an opportunity to lord it over those whom they could.  One means they used to do this, as well as to prove their superiority, was to create performance requirements which they could then hang on people.  Of course, due to their own exceptionalism, the Pharisees did not bind themselves by those same rules.  That’s for the little people.

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This is a typical narcissist approach – constantly maneuvering, manipulating, and creating situations where they can exercise their rightful position (in their own mind) as top dog – both by creating requirements for others, and by hypocritically and arrogantly thinking they are above those same requirements.

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God’s way is just the opposite.

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But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 

Matthew 20:25-27

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Narcissists full of insolent pride only look at their immediate gain, with no thought for what God values and will reward for all eternity.  They may think they are becoming “first”, but it is only temporary – lasting for this life at most.

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Click here for initial steps to know God personally

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Please see http://biblicalperspectivesonnarcissism.com/2013/10/21/narcissist-case-studies-in-the-bible/  for an introduction to narcissism case studies in the Bible.

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Narcissist Tactics – Bullying To Suppress Opposition To Their Goals

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People who have dealt extensively with narcissists will often feel “beat up” by the narcissist – sometimes without understanding how or why they feel that way.  This is because a narcissist frequently uses coercive behavior in order to get what they want in a specific situation, or to achieve or maintain a position of dominance over someone.  Sometimes this bullying is overt (think playground bully) sometimes covert (manipulative, demeaning comments).

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From Dictionary.com – a bully is
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a blustering, mean, or predatory person who, from a perceived position of relative power, intimidates, abuses, harasses, or coerces people, especially those considered unlikely to defend themselves:
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The Pharisees – prime examples of insolent proud narcissists in the Bible – exemplified this.  They tried to squelch anything and anyone supportive of Jesus by using their power to expel them from the synagogue – shaming and possibly even economically damaging that person.  This was illustrated in John 9’s description of their response to Jesus healing a man blind from birth.
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The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight,  and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;  but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know.
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Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.”  His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.  For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 
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John 9:18-23
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Continue reading

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“The People Of The Lie”

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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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One of the primary traits of the narcissistic Pharisees was their attitude of moral superiority and refusal to acknowledge that they had any sin – even though their inward lives were full of sin.  In this they deceived and lied to both themselves and others.  This can also be seen in Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 23:25-28, and Matthew 9:10-13.

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M Scott Peck was a psychiatrist whose personal journey ultimately led him to commit to Christianity.  By observation and analysis, through the lens of Christianity, he reached the same conclusion that Jesus had already made clear above.

Following are excerpts from a book he wrote on the subject

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All The Reward They Will Ever Get

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“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

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“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

Continue reading

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Narcissistic Traits – “I would never have done it that way”

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Matthew 23:29-30 –  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’

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The Pharisees were saying in effect, “I would never have done it the way they did it.”  This is a classic statement from a narcissist / scoffer (see here and here how the Pharisees were narcissists / scoffers with insolent pride).   In this situation these narcissists were doing two things at the same time

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  1. They were setting themselves up as judge of other’s actions (see here for Scoffers – Narcissists as Judge)
  2. They were setting themselves up as superior to the other person.  But as typical of the Narcissist, the superiority was only in their own minds – not in reality – and didn’t actually have to be demonstrated.  It is very easy to say after the fact “I would never have done that”, when you don’t have to actually prove it through your actions.

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To top it off, they were so arrogant that they were willing to trash their own ancestors in order to exalt themselves.

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But Jesus turned the tables and called them on it:

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Matthew 23:31-32 – So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.  Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.

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Narcissist* Traits – Using “Faith” As Justification For Personal Ambition

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Among narcissists* in the Christian community, there are sometimes those who will use “faith” as justification or cover for their personal ambitions.  And they will quickly accuse those who oppose their plans as having “a lack of faith”, or possibly use other manipulative means to clear out the opposition and continue with their plans.  One such other manipulative method would be for the narcissist to say “I heard this straight from God”…..who can question “God’s leading”?  (Actually it is still possible to question based on scripture, the counsel of others, etc., but the narcissist will fight very hard to not be challenged in any way or by any means).

These narcissistic actions are consistent with narcissist’s tendency to use any means available to them to achieve their goals – including religious means.  This was discussed in the following blog entries:

“Narcissistic* Traits – Outwardly Righteous, Inwardly Rebellious

“Narcissist* Tactics – Saying Whatever They Have To, To Get What They Want” 

“Narcissistic* Traits – Religious, But Not Truly Moral or Righteous”

 

The narcissist’s way is not God’s way.  In fact, the narcissist’s way of pride and self-exaltation is the exact opposite of God’s way of humbly serving others.  Narcissist’s actions give unbelievers an excuse to hate Jesus.  But God will ultimately deal with these narcissists.

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Matthew 7:15-19

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will[know them by their fruits. [Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes 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. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

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* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  please see here for an explanation

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Narcissist Tactics – Saying Whatever They Have To, To Get What They Want

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John 19:15

So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

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As we saw in

Narcissism Case Studies – The Pharisees, Overview

Narcissist Case Studies – Pharisees – How We Know They Were Narcissists, Part I

Narcissist Case Studies – How We Know “The Pharisees” Were Narcissists, Part 2

Additional Perspectives on The Pharisees

 

the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day were classic Narcissists.   A careful analysis of their actions can give some clues as to how narcissists approach things.  In this case, there was no way that the chief priests really wanted Caesar to be their king – the whole nation of Israel was chafing at Roman rule and would have loved to cast it off.  And they were actively looking for a Jewish king.  So when the chief priests, said “we have no king but Caesar”, they were blatantly lying simply to make sure that Pilate did not let Jesus go.

As discussed in other posts, some of the Messianic Psalms clearly lay out the characteristics of the narcissistic / insolent pride Pharisees.  And a key tactic was speaking falsehood to get what they wanted.   That is a prime tactic of all narcissists.

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 Psalm 12

12 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”

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Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”

Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of this blog

 

 

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Narcissists Whisper To Fan The Flames of Conflict

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Narcissists create strife in their pursuit of dominance, winning, or getting what they want, but may also throw fuel on fires that are already burning.

Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.   Proverbs 26:21

The Hebrew term in this verse is translated “kindling” – throwing a lit match onto fuel – but in Jeremiah, it’s translated with an image of a bellows – blowing air on a lit fire to make it hotter[i].   So, a contentious person will either take the “seeds” of conflict and turn it into a real conflict or take an existing small conflict and turn it into a full-blown conflict.  Narcissists can be agents of chaos.

How does this play out?  One example may be when someone is criticizing someone else, the narcissist “piles on” and tries to top the story already being told – with a statement like “that’s nothing, you should’ve seen what he did to me last week.”  But sometimes the narcissist will whisper a criticism that stirs up a negative spark deep in someone else’s heart.

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.   Proverbs 26:20

The reason the tactic of whispering gossip works to stir up contention and strife is that most people love to hear dirt on someone else.

The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.   Proverbs 18:8 (& 26:22)

The narcissist takes advantage of people’s natural desire to hear dirt on others (“dainty morsels”) to create the doubts/controversy that in the end puts them in the lead or controlling position.  It is a common move on the narcissist’s part to stir up strife in a way that is not readily visible to others.

This process can expand to infect an entire group or organization.  Proverbs describes this metaphorically when it says:

Scorners[ii] set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger.   Proverbs 29:8

This is also what James meant when he said:

So also, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.  See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell…….

….. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.  This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.   For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing……

……What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?   You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.  

James 3:5-6, 13-16, 4:1-2

[i] See http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2787.htm  for a more complete discussion.

[ii] Same root word as scoffer, see https://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_3944.htm

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Narcissist Tactics – Flattery

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Jude 16-19

16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

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 17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions…..

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Narcissists are big flatterers.  Many times it is obvious that they have something they are trying to get out of you through flattery and “buttering you up”, but sometimes it may not be so obvious.  Or they may be setting you up through flattery for something even worse than just trying to get something from you.  Either way, they they are using flattery in order to gain some kind of advantage over you in the pursuit of their desires, self-exaltation, or just plain winning.  They are doing it to entrap you into something that will hurt you and benefit them.  This flattery is not sincere, but instead is deceptive and manipulative.  The wise person will recognize the manipulation and insincere praise, and avoid them..

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Romans 16:17-18

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

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Proverbs 29:5

A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps.

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Proverbs 26:28

28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.

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Psalm 5:9

There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself.
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.

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Psalm 12:2

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N’s Prioritize Pride Over Principle

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Have you ever noticed how certain prominent people “switch sides”, or positions on something they previously adamantly defended?

There are times when these switches are reasonable based on newly acquired information or wisdom.  But often these pivots are based simply on personal pride rather than a moral foundation.  The person making the surprising switch does it because they found defending their pride more important than maintaining their (weak, at best) principles.   Consider these Biblical examples:

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Diotrephes was willing to throw people out of the church who dared go against him in welcoming others.  He sacrificed true pastoral ministry for being top dog in the church.

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“I [John] wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. 

3 John 1:9-10

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Similarly, the Scribes and Pharisees rejected their pastoral responsibilities, preferring to excommunicate those who gave any credence to their prime competition, Jesus.

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His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”     John 9:22-23

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They also refused to help others into the Kingdom since they themselves didn’t want to go, but worked overtime to recruit others to follow them on the road to perdition.   They valued their personal agenda and status over the welfare of others.

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 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 

 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of `hell as yourselves.

Matthew 23:13-15

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In each case, the narcissist made their own exaltation and agenda a priority over the moral principles which their roles required.

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For those who would like initial steps on how to know God personally, click here

 

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