Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God – continued

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James 1:5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

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When dealing with an N that is driving us crazy, in addition to crying out “God help me!”, God invites us to ask Him for wisdom.  This is HIS wisdom – not human wisdom – including practical  tips, things of the heart, and even things from God’s perspective.  James says that if you ask for wisdom, He will give it to you – generously.

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But there is an important qualifier to getting this wisdom – “not doubting”.  The doubting here is not so much doubting as to whether you will receive the wisdom, but doubting as to whether you really want it – whether you really want to do things God’s way even if He gave you the clear right answers.   We know this is through James’ statement in verse 7 – ” For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”   Double-mindedness is to have two minds or opinions on the same subject – wanting to do things God’s way, but at the same time wanting what we ourselves want.  With that heart, God could tell us the right answer, and we might not even know we received the answer because we were only looking for the answer we wanted to see.  In order to ask for true wisdom in dealing with the situation, to receive it, and to KNOW that we have received it, we must start with the heart attitude that we will act on the wisdom God gives us without interjecting our own “will” into the matter.

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This invitation to ask for wisdom is in the context of trials, which James describes as tests (we will look into this later).  Of course, our challenge with our narcissist certainly qualifies as a trial and a test.

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James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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So go ahead – ask for wisdom in how to deal with your challenging narcissist.  But don’t expect to get what you are asking for unless you are truly serious about doing it His way instead of your own way.  All along being aware of the admonition in Proverbs:

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Proverbs 14:12

12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

 

Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God

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Psalm 34:4-7

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
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Often, we will not have any idea what to do with the difficult Narcissist-caused circumstance in which we find ourselves.  After struggling and searching about on our own for answers, we may ultimately reach the end of our rope – where the only thing we are able to do is to cry out to the Lord to help us, to save us, to deliver us.  We may not know what to ask for, but simply to ask God for a miracle.  While we may not see any immediate answers, this crying out to God and asking for help can be the first step of a process where He will bring us to much firmer ground.  We may not even see that this crying out is the first step – until we look backwards months or years in the future.
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We probably needed to get to our wit’s end, to be exhausted of all our answers, in order to motivate us to finally look up to Him for help.  And even though we made God our last resort instead of our first resort, He will graciously and lovingly respond in helping us – although it may be a process instead of a bolt-of-lightning miracle.  God has been there waiting to help us all along.

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Can A Narcissist Be A Christian? Continued

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Readers of this blog frequently find their way here through the search phrase “can a narcissist be a Christian?”.   Since this is a topic of particular interest, it might be good to delve into it a little deeper.  Please see here for Part 1.
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Jesus alluded to this question when he asked the narcissists* of his day
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44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?    (John 5:44)

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The “belief” Jesus referred to must certainly have been deeper than a surface-level belief, since satan and the demons also have belief at some level……

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James 2:19

19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

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The demons believe that God, Jesus, and the Spirit exist (God is One), and are well aware of His power and their ultimate judgement at His hands (the reason for their shuddering).  But, in their rebellion against God they rejected His right to rule over them.

That is why real, genuine, sincere saving “belief” goes beyond a mental acknowledgement of God and Jesus, all the way to a true inward and outward acknowledgement of His personal Lordship.

One illustrative image would be that of a medieval duke kissing the ring of the king to acknowledge his kingship, or a mob under-boss kissing the ring of the organization head to publicly pay homage.  This public acknowledgement is spoken of several times…

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Romans 10:9

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

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1 John 4:15

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

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The Reversal Doctrine (Randy Alcorn, EPM.org)

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The following is reprinted in its entirety from Randy Alcorn’s blog at Eternal Perspectives Ministry

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The Reversal Doctrine

Luke 16:19-31 tells us the story of a rich man, and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man dressed well, lived in luxury, and was apparently healthy. Lazarus was a beggar, diseased, dirty, and “longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table” (Luke16:21). If I asked, “Who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus?” you would presumably reply, “The rich man, of course.”

We aren’t told that this rich man was dishonest or irreligious or that he was worse than your average person. We don’t know that he despised poor Lazarus; we only know that he ignored him. He lived his life as if the poor man didn’t exist. He didn’t use his God-provided wealth to care for another man in need.

Both men die. Lazarus goes to Heaven and the rich man goes to hell. When the rich man begs Abraham from across the gulf to send Lazarus to relieve his suffering, Abraham replies, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25).

Now that you’ve heard the rest of the story, who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus? You’d probably like to switch places, wouldn’t you? But that’s Abraham’s point: After death, it’s too late to switch.

This parable represents a strong and often overlooked New Testament teaching, which we might call “the reversal doctrine.” It teaches that in eternity many of us will find ourselves in opposite conditions from our current situation on earth.

In this life, the rich man “lived in luxury every day,” while Lazarus begged at his gate, living in misery. At the moment of death, their situations reversed—the rich man was in hell’s torment and the poor man in Heaven’s comfort.

It would be both simplistic and theologically inaccurate to conclude that Heaven is earned by poverty and hell is earned by wealth. But this parable is not isolated—it corroborates a host of other teachings by Jesus, as well as those of the apostles.

In the song she composed in anticipation of Christ’s birth, Mary said, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke1:53).

“Blessed are you who are poor,” Jesus says, and “Woe to you who are rich,” precisely because their status will one day be reversed (Luke6:20, 25). The poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and are persecuted will be relieved and fulfilled and have a great reward in heaven (Matthew 5:3-12). Those praised in this world will not be highly regarded in the next, and vice versa (Matthew 6:1-4, 16-18). Those who are exalted in this life will often be humbled in the next; those who are humbled here on earth will be exalted in Heaven (Matthew23:12).

Those who are poor in this world will often be rich in the next, and those who are rich in this world will often be poor in the next (James 1:9-12). The poor are reassured that the hoarding and oppressing rich will one day be punished and the honest poor will be relieved (James 5:1-6). In Revelation 18:7, a voice from Heaven says of materialistic Babylon, “Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.”

Some of these passages may present us with theological difficulties, but all of them remind us that temporal sacrifices will pay off in eternity and temporal indulgences will cost us in eternity. These are the verses that encouraged Christian slaves and should have served warning to the plantation owners who were profiting from slavery. The reversal doctrine is comforting to the poor and weak, and threatening to the rich and powerful. But it’s a consistent teaching of the New Testament—one that confirms the premise that materialism is not only wrong but stupid. Conversely, trusting God, giving and caring and sharing are not only right but smart.

Someday this upside-down world will be turned right side up. Nothing in all eternity will turn it back again. If we are wise, we will spend our brief lives on earth positioning ourselves for the turn.

Can A Narcissist* Be A Christian (or vice versa)?

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“Is this “N” even a Christian?” is a possible question for those dealing with a narcissist* who claims to be a Christian.  The narcissist’s claims of being a  Christian may stand in stark contrast to how they treat you and others in private.

The answer to this question is quite important, as it determines our understanding of how God is dealing with the narcissist – in terms of both short and long term consequences – as well as how we are to pray about the situation.

There are really two questions involved here.  The first question is “Can a narcissist be a Christian” (flipping it, “Can a Christian be a narcissist”?).  And the second is “Is THIS particular narcissist a Christian?”

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Just because a narcissist claims to be a Christian does not make it so.  Jesus said,

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Matthew 7:21-23

21 “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.22 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?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

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But the fact that the Bible admonishes believers to give up their pride and walk in a humble manner indicates that genuine Christians can still have remnants of insolent pride in their lives:

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