Insolent Pride Tops the List of Things Which God Hates

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If you are ever in doubt about whether God is passive about insolent pride (narcissism, see here), Proverbs 6:17-19 puts it at the top of the list of things which God hates.

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“There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him

  1. Haughty eyes (“Proud, haughty, scoffer are his names who acts with insolent pride” Proverbs 21:24)
  2. A lying tongue 
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked plans
  5. Feet that run rapidly to evil
  6. A false witness who utters lies
  7. And one who spreads strife among brother

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Look closely and you will recognize most of these actions as those of narcissists.  We may fear that they “get away with it”, but God assures us that they do not.

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Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. 

Proverbs 16:5

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We may not know how or when He deals with the proud person, and may not see it, but we should not doubt that He will indeed do what He says.

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Note:  Narcissism is the colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  (see here)

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Narcissists – From Merely Annoying To Devastating

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The devising of folly is sin,
And the scoffer is an abomination to men. 

Proverbs 24:9

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To quickly review, “scoffer” is one of the Biblical terms used to label what the secular world calls a narcissist.  The modern secular terms also include narcissistic personality disorder (implying a higher degree of “bad”) and malignant narcissism (signifying the highest degree of “bad”), while previous generations used phrases like “delusions of grandeur” and “megalomania”.  As discussed in the book based on this blog:

  1. The biblical terms are actually more precise than the secular terms
  2. While the psychology and pop-psychology communities attempt to define the degree of narcissism which rises to the level of “personality disorder” or “malignancy”, the cutoff lines are arbitrary.  It is a continuum of insolent of pride, ranging from a little to total, 100 percent, non-stop self-obsession which dominates every thought.

While malignant narcissism is shorthand for the more extreme form, all narcissism is malignant – to a degree.  A narcissist’s self-centered, self-aggrandizing, “me first-and-only”, “I’m never wrong” heart is intent on benefitting themselves with no thought of you, so that their gain typically comes at some cost to you.  This could result in annoyances – like their hogging a conversation, or telling obvious lies to puff themselves up – to flattering you in order to extract something from you – to outright stealing, lying, cheating and stabbing you in the back.

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As Proverbs 24:9 says, all scoffers are “an abomination”.  The Hebrew word is “toebah”   meaning detestable or loathsome.  You really hate what they do.  And not just you – everyone who sees past their fake charm and flattery.  The level of loathing is a function of:

      1. the degree of their treachery in achieving their self-exalting aims,
      2. the depth of your relationship
      3. how deeply you are affected by it.

Being denied a promotion because of a backstabbing narcissistic coworker is far different than being annoyed by a relative stranger inflating and bragging about one of their “accomplishments”.

All narcissism is malignant – to a degree.  Pride is on a continuum, and while the secular world of psychology tries to make a clinical distinction between “not too much” (not NPD) and “too much” (NPD), that distinction is arbitrary and is in the eye of the one affected.

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

 

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The Contradicting Love For A Narcissist

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Is it possible to love a narcissist while at the same time being absolutely devastated by the path they have chosen including the possible impact on you?  When I say “love”, I am not referring to the romantic notion, but the most core definition of love – God’s type of love.  To answer this, let’s look at two examples in the Bible.

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Absalom was a narcissist and tried to overthrow his father David to become king of Israel.  Absalom’s move was part of God’s discipline of David for his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12), while God ultimately punished Absalom for his insolent pride and rebellion.

David clearly understood that Absalom had become his enemy, described in Psalm 3 “A Psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom”,

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Lord, how my enemies have increased!

Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

But You, Lord, are a shield around me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying out to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah

l lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, Lord; save me, my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the [e]cheek;
You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
May Your blessing be upon Your people!   

Psalm 3

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But what was David’s response?  He first told his military that, in spite of the fact that Absalom was trying to overthrow (and possibly kill) him, they should deal gently with him,

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But the king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the people heard when the king commanded all the commanders regarding Absalom. 

2 Samuel 18:5

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and when Absalom was killed….

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Then the king trembled and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And this is what he said as he walked: “My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” 

2 Samuel 18:33

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How could this be?  David’s lament for Absalom was so obvious that his people complained that David would have rather them die than Absalom (2 Samuel 19).

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A second example is found in Matthew 23.  Jesus had just finished a “truth encounter” with the narcissistic Pharisees, clearly and bluntly outlining to them various aspects of their insolently proud hypocrisy.

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“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!’” 

Matthew 23:37-39

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David was a “man after God’s heart”, and Jesus was God Himself.  Both showed us God’s heart for insolently proud people walking in rebellion against Him.  While justice will (and should) occur, God – as illustrated by both David and Jesus – still has an underlying heart of love and care for those insolently proud recipients of that justice.  He deeply mourns their outcome.

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The implications for us in dealing with the narcissists in our lives are:

    • Yes, we can deal with narcissists wisely and Biblically, avoiding them when appropriate and placing boundaries and judgments when appropriate.  We can also ask God to deal with them and humble them
    • But at the same time, we can mourn their insolent pride – not just for what it does to us, but more importantly what it does to them.  They are blinded and lost, and will receive the consequences.  While we may feel relief at their judgment,  grieve it at the same time.

 

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart rejoice when he stumbles,
Otherwise, the Lord will see and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.

Do not get upset because of evildoers
Or be envious of the wicked;
For there will be no future for the evil person;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out. 

Proverbs 24:17-20

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Click here for initial steps to peace with God

 

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Narcissist* Traits – They “Put On A Show” Of Their Deeds

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Matthew 23:5

But they (scribes and Pharisees) do all their deeds to be noticed by men…..

As we mentioned here, here, and here, the scribes and Pharisees are a case study in narcissism / insolent pride.

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In the Narcissists’* drive to be exalted by others, their focus is completely on what other people think of them, rather than on the genuine substance of things.  In fact, they will go out of their way to even suffer some pain – such as with fasting – if the end result is the praise and recognition of man.  To a narcissist, wickedness in their heart does not matter as long as things look good to others.  They particularly will focus on “putting on a show” of their “goodness” so that others will see it and think well of them.

Some examples are:

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God’s Final Word On It All

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Many people like to read a book from front to back and wouldn’t think of starting at the end of the story. But when it comes to the Walk of Life knowing the end of the story is extremely helpful for persevering through the ups and downs.  For those who are downtrodden, especially at the hands of arrogant people, it’s especially good to know that God is completely aware and will have the final word on it all.

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To give an example from Isaiah 2,

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The proud look of man will be abased
And the loftiness of man will be humbled,
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased.  (Isaiah 2:11-12)

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The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,  (Isaiah 2:17)

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In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs
Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.  (Isaiah 2:20-21)

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Isaiah’s conclusion is to stop worrying about what people think, since their true standing will be revealed in the end.

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Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?  (Isaiah 2:22)

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There are many similar passages, for example:

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“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.  Malachi 4:1

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I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.  Isaiah 13:11

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In the middle of our day to day grind of dealing with people with insolent pride, it is occasionally helpful to step back and see the end of the story.  In the end, God will put every proud and haughty person into their proper place, and will show that He alone deserves to be exalted.

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Having a proper view now of that future state of affairs can give us the perspective needed to see the proud and haughty narcissist as they really are – and through that to give us a measure of freedom from the control they seek over us.

 

 

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The Ultimate Fact Check

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As we stated in a previous blog post, one way of dealing with narcissists is to fact check everything.

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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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The ultimate fact-check will come on the day of judgment.   Jesus said

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“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits …

 “…Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:15-16, 21

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While this could apply to anyone trying to get into heaven through their “good deeds” (instead of through true repentance and faith in Christ), I can envision narcissists in particular trying to talk their way into heaven through an inflated opinion of what they did on Earth – trying to pass it off as an act of faith with good motives.

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We know why someone would try to do this – they’re desperate to get into heaven to avoid God’s judgement. But why would they think they can get away with this? One possibility is that they have an inflated view of what they accomplished.  As Proverbs says,

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Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.  Proverbs 25:14
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The other possibility is that they actually did what might be seen as good works by an outside observer, but did it out of self-centered motives and not from a heart of love.  1st Corinthians 13 says even if you do good works, if they’re not done from the right heart they are of no profit in the end.
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If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  I Corinthians 13:2-3
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Jesus said the same thing.
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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.  “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.  Matthew 6:1-2

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The hypocrites Jesus refers to in Matthew 6 are the Pharisees Jesus directly speaks to in Matthew 23.

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Claiming good works as the justification to get into heaven will be the narcissist’s typical but final move.  Jesus, in the ultimate fact-check, will see right through the N’s inflated view of themselves and their false boasting for why they deserve to be in Heaven.

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Dealing With Narcissists* – They Ultimately Don’t Get Away With It

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Those who have been hurt by a narcissist that appears to “get away with it” can really struggle with bitterness and a deep desire for “justice” to be done.  This often results in a continued obsession with the narcissist and what he/she has done, and a corresponding inability to “move on” or focus on your own following after God.

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Narcissists are pros at shifting blame, covering up, lying their way out of things, and making you think it was your fault – all the while seeming to never really receive consequences for their actions commensurate with the pain which they have inflicted.  Especially when they just flippantly move on to their next target.  One aspect of coming to a point of peace in what happened to you at the hands of the narcissist is understanding clearly that in the end God will deal with them – and we can and should leave that to Him.

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Romans 12:19

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

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Narcissism and Job Performance

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Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

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We have seen in these pages that the Bible discusses consequences to insolent pride – but sometimes it is hard to see in real life since it appears that narcissists almost always “get away with it”.  One area where we would expect the consequences to be seen would be in the area of job performance.

People in many lines of work get their performance evaluated through the eyes of others – thus giving the narcissist the opportunity to manipulate situations to his own advantage.  However, in the field of money management the job performance is summarized in the simple final number of the investment return.  This means that the ultimate job performance is not based on what people think, but on actual results.

A study was done using the field of money management as the “hard number arbiter of job performance results” which shows that narcissists (embedded in a broader group of psycopaths) in fact do have lower job performance.  If you’re interested, here is the article which discusses this:

Psycopath Hedge Fund Managers Make Less Money

 

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The Progression of Fools, p.s. – God Will Ultimately Lower The Boom

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There is a clear warning to those who continue down path of the progression of fools

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Proverbs 6:12-15

A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
13 Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;
14 Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.
15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

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Proverbs 29:1 explains that this sudden calamity does not just happen at the first “mistake” the person made, but actually comes after the wicked person has repeatedly rejected God’s warnings to change his ways.

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Proverbs 29:1

29 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

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One example of God’s gracious patience in giving many reproofs and even final “notice” was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in Daniel 4.   God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream with a warning to change his ways.  Then God gave him an entire year to repent and change, but Nebuchadnezzar did not.  After the year God lowered the boom and took decisive action to humble him.

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One implication of this for those suffering at the hands of narcissists and fools is that while in our weariness of dealing with it we want it FIXED NOW, God also is gracious and patient with them while at the same time providing grace to us.  But, He will ultimately deal with them.

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For more on repentance see Steps To Peace With God, and Fake vs. Sincere Repentance

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God Will Most Definitely Settle Accounts With The Proud and Lofty …….

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We discussed here that God will deal with the proud and haughty.  Isaiah makes it clear that, even though it is not obvious to people now, and even though it may seem slow in coming, a specific day of reckoning for the proud will come.  The proud will think everything is going well, until the tables are instantly turned.

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Isaiah 2:12-22

12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased.
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Narcissist Consequences – Two Degrees To Their Judgment

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The unbelieving Narcissist* will receive a greater degree of judgment based on the spiritual light which has been given him……..

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Matthew 11:20-24

20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.24 Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

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……And the unbelieving Narcissist* will receive a greater degree of judgment based on the evil which he has done

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1 Thessalonians 2:16

16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

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Therefore, if you demonstrate truth and godly responses to a Narcissist, and the N responds with  evil, he will be multiplying for himself the level of his own eternal judgment in 2 different ways – simultaneously rejecting the light and adding to the amount of evil he has done.   Very serious stuff, indeed.

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Note:  The above discussion relates to Narcissists who have NOT had their sins covered – see here and here for a further discussion

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Click here for “How To Know God Personally”

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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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Narcissist Traits – Honoring Themselves Instead of Working

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Proverbs 12:9

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

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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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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* Consequences – Don’t Gloat

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Proverbs 24:17-18

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Or the Lord will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.

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As we said previously, one key to having peace in the midst of dealing with a difficult narcissist is the understanding that God is a Just Judge, and will, in the end, give to the narcissist everything that they deserve.  This trust that God will deal out the proper consequences can give us the freedom to focus on our own inner peace and happiness (which ultimately comes from Him), as well as “doing what is right” in our situation.  If we are a genuinely loving person, we will not take delight in what God does to the the narcissist – but we will be at peace with it.

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Proverbs 17:5

……He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.

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

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Consequences For Narcissists*, Continued

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Psalm 31:23

23 ……. The Lord preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.

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Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

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Jeremiah 17:10 – “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

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While narcissists* (those with insolent pride) often do seem to “get away with” their actions, God says that ultimately they will receive everything they deserve.  While we discussed here and here the timeless consequences which they will receive, narcissists will also consistently and repeatedly receive consequences in their current lives as well.  These consequences are partly the natural consequences of straying from God’s perfect design for successful living, but also are God’s way to get the narcissists’ attention in order to avoid the much more serious timeless consequences.  (Of course, narcissists tend not to listen.)
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Some of the consequences include:
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