Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.
4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance,does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
6 He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
As we discussed here, one way to deal with Narcissists (= “proud, haughty, scoffer”, see here) is to avoid them altogether. This is especially useful when you’re making hiring decisions. The best way to deal with a narcissist in the workplace is to keep them from getting into your company or onto your team in the first place.
The problem with avoiding the hiring of a narcissist is that they are especially good at presenting themselves in the best light in an interviewing process. And the interviewing process is typically brief enough that it is hard to sort out fact from fiction in such a short period of time.
I found a simple 10 question test to administer in order to quickly find out how “narcissistic” a prospective employee or team member may be. You can find it here. The test is not exhaustive or definitive, but it may give you some indication as to whether you have a potential narcissist on your hands.
You need to score the test yourself
- Put the number in each box
- Add up the total
- The “narcissism scale” runs from 10 to 50. The closer to 50, the more narcissistic the candidate, the closer to 10, the less narcissistic the candidate.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
When you think about it, both narcissists and their victims underestimate God. Narcissists, in their overvaluation of themselves and undervaluation of God’s majesty, attempt to take His place. Their victims underestimate the power and ability of God to act on their behalf and in their defense.
Begin to gain perspective by getting outside to look up at God’s handiwork in the heavens. I have been doing it frequently, and it has been very good.
The following clip may also help.
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.
This verse brings to mind pin-pricking a balloon filled with water. It does not just spring a little leak when pricked, but immediately gushes out all the water. You cannot hold it back once it starts.
A narcissist is constantly striving to exalt themselves in their hearts – battling anything that gets in the way. Their pride makes them unable to admit that they are wrong. Therefore, whenever a fact is in dispute (i.e. – who said what, who did what, etc.) it is impossible for them to concede that you were right and they were wrong. This is true even if they made up the “fact” in question out of thin air.
If you directly engage the N in trying to get the record straight, you are walking straight into a conflict. If you do succeed in proving your point, the N will be angry that you proved them wrong. They will then attack you on how you approached the issue with statements like: “Why do you always have to pick on me”, “You pick at every little thing I say”, “I try so hard”, “I can’t do anything right in your eyes”, etc. Because there is probably a little grain of truth to what they are saying, it will be impossible to defend yourself without continuing the strife. So they’ve still got you.
In many cases, the issue about which you are trying to correct the record does not really matter, and you are likely arguing the point simply out of your own pride. Maybe make your point once. If the N pushes back out of their own drive to be correct, drop the issue without any final passive-aggressive digs at the N. Then trust the Lord. It may not seem right that you have to “concede”, but God will ultimately have the last say.
This in fact is one application of the general admonition to “avoid them”.
Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective to better understand what this blog is about.
Prayer for Protection against Oppressors.
A Prayer of David.
17 Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
2 Let my judgment come forth from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look with equity.
3 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.
4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips
I have kept from the paths of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to Your paths.
My feet have not slipped.
6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand
From those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
9 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,
14 From men with Your hand, O Lord,
From men of the world, whose portion is in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your treasure;
They are satisfied with children,
And leave their abundance to their babes.
15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
Narcissists (aka those with insolent pride) in our lives may sometimes interfere with our plans. It can be frustrating and maddening. We must deal with N’s wisely. However, it is also helpful to know that God is sovereign even over mangled plans – even if those plans were mangled to due to things beyond our control. John Piper briefly discusses this in God’s Sovereign Plan Behind Your Most Unproductive Days. It’s worth a quick look.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
A blog update: I am working on an extensive review on how Jesus dealt with the narcissists of His day (the Pharisees). If you would like a sneak peek at my raw incomplete notes you can see them at How Jesus Dealt With The N’s.
For an overview of what this blog is about, please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective.
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
In my “Who Am I” post at the start this journey, I explained that one reason I am doing this blog anonymously is that I have been involved (for more than a decade now) in a missions work in a sensitive part of the world. That “sensitive area” is North Korea. I was recently invited to submit an article on North Korea to a prominent Christian publication, and felt a strong burden to share the conclusion of some key lessons learned along my particular journey. The article is below. If and when it comes out, my actual name will not be attached because doing so would put some other people at risk .
I am sharing it on this blog for two reasons. One is t0 partially make up for my absence while I was pressing to get this article done (writing does not come easy for me). The second is that the North Korean culture has certain narcissistic tendencies, so some of the following lessons provide a bit of broader context in that respect.
Here’s a draft of the article:
A Manifesto For North Korean Missions
A Call to Grace Through Faith
[Note: This blog entry is intended for men. It was a difficult blog post to write, and I’m still working through it. But it was far enough along to push the “publish” button and provide you with a launch point for your own search into the subject. It may seem as though I am just focusing on narcissistic women, with men as victims, but I hope to write a similar post on the reverse relationship – a wife living with a narcissistic husband – in the near future.
Underneath this entire blog post is the view that marriage is a human illustration of a divine relationship]
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
How is it possible to be peacefully married to a a contentious woman and still be a real man? A tough question. Her modus operandi is to dominate you, which leaves you the seemingly impossible choices of either fighting back and creating a war at home, or submitting, neither of which is appealing (or correct). This post summarizes a range of things to consider for dealing with the situation. Your contentious woman could range from one who is merely annoying to one who is “impossible to live with”.
91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8 You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
I am reading an excellent book called “Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture“. This book provides case studies on how Biblically based counselors successfully counseled seemingly impossible counseling situations – including situations which secular-counselors had previously been unable to resolve.
The book starts with a discussion on whether the Bible is sufficient to help people with their problems….
“Is Scripture sufficient to inform all the possible counseling situations in this fallen world? The implications of such a question are massive. Continue reading
2 Now it will come about that
In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it…..
4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples…..
11 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……
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……
17 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…..
22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?
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.
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.
Please see Pride’s Hindrance To Salvation for some additional perspective.
As a narcissist is notoriously unreliable, it is important to fact check (at least to yourself) what comes out of their mouth rather than accept they say at face value.
Proverbs 14.15 – “The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.”
Proverbs 18.17 – “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”
Matthew 18.16 – “so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”
2 Corinthians 13.1 – “This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
1 Timothy 5.19 – “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.”
Narcissists / those with insolent pride tend to exaggerate their skills, accomplishments, track record, commitment to the cause, etc. They also will stretch the truth or outright lie in order to get what they want. And they do not hesitate to trash the reputation of those who get in their way. So while this basic biblical principle of confirming things instead of believing every thing you are told is always appropriate – it is especially applicable when dealing with narcissists.
Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview and frame of reference on what this blog is about.
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.
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.
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...
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
When we are in a difficult situation, it is a natural human response to say “it’s too hard” and look for a way out. However, God promises that He will provide what we need – physically, emotionally, spiritually – commensurate to every situation, enabling us to walk the difficult road when needed. This provision and enabling is called “grace”.
[Note: there are times when the correct action is to “avoid” narcissists – this blog post refers specifically to situations when God-given commitments and responsibilities prevent us from being able to avoid the situation].
2 Corinthians 12:9
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 9:8
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
Grace has been defined in various ways. The most encompassing way of understanding it is that grace is God’s free and abundant supply of everything we as humans need. This supply begins with life itself, continues with everything needed for sustaining life, and extends to the ultimate solution for our separation from God. It also includes God’s inner influence and empowerment which woos us to Him and imparts the desire and strength to endure trial and resist temptation.
Grace flows from His love for us, even when we do not deserve it (“unmerited favor”). It is a free unearned gift from God whenever it is given, it comes through Jesus by faith, and it is so great that it should result in us joyfully thanking the Lord for it’s provision. It will find it’s fulfillment in our being infinitely blessed by Him for eternity. While God’s goodness provides “common grace” (e.g. – sunshine, etc.) to everyone, there are only two requirements for receiving His specific provision (grace) for specific situations we face in life – faith and humility.
Digging deeper into this river of God’s supply called grace……. Continue reading