Dependency – Do Not Become Slaves Of Men

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As we discussed in an earlier post, co-dependency is a fuzzy pop-psychology term.  The more precise Biblical concept is that of someone becoming a “slave of men” (I Corinthians 7:23) by subsuming their inner self to another person, rather than to God.  But we will use the term codependent interchangeably as shorthand.

How do we know that this phrase did not refer to the physical slavery of the day?  We know it because Paul made several other clear statements that while it is better to be free, it was also ok to be a slave.

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Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.   For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.    I Corinthians 7:22-23

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In fact, slaves were to not just chafe under their masters, but seek to honor the Lord in the situation.

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All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.   I Timothy 6:1
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Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.   Colossians 3:22
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Paul could make these statements, because slavery was a feature of his era’s economic system, not focused on the control of people’s inward selves but their outward performance.  In fact, in Christ everyone was equal irrespective of their socio-economic status.
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a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.    Colossians 3:11
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There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28
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Therefore, Paul’s admonition to “not become slaves of men” referred to who we are as a person, who we are on the inside, how we live our lives before God and with others.  We are not to subsume who we are on the inside to someone else.
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All scripture taken in isolation is subject to misinterpretation and abuse.  “Do not become slaves of men” could easily be twisted to mean, “no one will rule over me” (including God-given authority), leading to “I can do whatever I want”, or “I should exit any relationship that restricts my freedom”.  This does not mean that.  We are referring to an inward freedom to be yourself and the person God wants you to be, regardless of the circumstances.
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There are different tactics a “slave master” might use to make someone their slave (codependent).  For example,
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  1. Bullying
  2. Manipulation
  3. Use of fake authority
  4. Abuse of true authority
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Underneath the success of all of these is an element of the fear of man on the part of the codependent person – worried about what the other person thinks of you or can do to you, rather than what God thinks of you or can do to you.  Proverbs says,
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The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.  Proverbs 29:25

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and Jesus said
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 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!   Luke 12:4-5
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As narcissists have an inner drive to be the unquestioned #1 around which others’ lives orbit, they are particularly driven to make others their emotional or physical slaves.  It is difficult for them to achieve that with “hard targets” (those who are on to them or not afraid of them), so they focus on available “soft targets”.  And one of the easiest of soft targets are their own children.
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Next up:  Possible paths to co-dependency

 

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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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God Makes Clear What He Thinks About N’s

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In case you have any doubt about what God thinks of those who have the heart and actions of narcissists, Proverbs 6 makes it very clear

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Proverbs 6:16-19

16 There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.

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Several characteristics in the above list stand out as narcissistic traits

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  1. Haughty eyes
  2. Lying tongue
  3. Heart that devises wicked plans
  4. False witness who utters lies
  5. One who spreads strife among brothers

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The bottom line is that God HATES insolent pride.  It results in much harm to others, and is the single biggest barrier to the prideful person experiencing His true love and goodness.

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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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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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Timeless Consequences for Narcissists* – Part 2

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Revelation 20:12-13

12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

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We may intuitively understand that enemies of God will ultimately be judged.  But, it is very clear that everyone, even His friends will be judged.  Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth:

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2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

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So, whether the narcissist we are dealing with is a total enemy of God, or claims to be a Christian, he will ultimately receive his full consequences from God for his actions toward us.  However, while there is a 1 to 1 relationship between actions and consequences, there will be a difference in consequences based on his “standing” when he faces judgment.  This watershed is found in Psalm 32:

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Psalm 32:1-2

 

32 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

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Timeless Consequences For Narcissists* – Part 1

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Dealing With Narcissists* – Understand That They (And We) Will Give An Account To God

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Romans 14:12 – So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
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1 Peter 4:5 – but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
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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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Hebrews 10:30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.
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One of our biggest struggles in dealing with narcissists (those with insolent pride, see here) is when we see them “getting away with it” – “successfully” dodging responsibility, blaming others, sliding by without receiving any consequences for their destructive actions and the pain they are inflicting on us and others.
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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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