Dealing With Narcissists – Fact Check Everything, continued

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Proverbs 18:17

17 The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him.

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In the perfectly robust way that God designed His Word, a specific point of Biblical wisdom can often be applied to a wide variety of circumstances. Continue reading

Why? – Family Patterns of Narcissism*

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Exodus 20:5-6

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

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Secular literature discusses the tendency for narcissism* to run in families – you may have seen it in families that you know.  The secular hypothesis is that narcissistic parents set up the conditions for their own children to develop narcissism.  And the pattern continues.  This hypothesis is based on the aging nature vs nurture argument (see here or here).
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God makes it clear that narcissisim (insolent pride) running in families is not just a natural phenomenon, but is one of His principles on how He governs life.  He is sovereignly involved.  The importance of this is that to truly break a pattern of narcissism in a family, the “generational sin” referred to in Exodus 20:5-6 needs to be accounted for and dealt with.
Continue reading

Narcissistic Personality Disorder* In The Clergy

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3 John 1:9 – I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

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Matthew 7:15 – Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

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In a very recent study discussed in the paper FREQUENCY OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER IN PASTORS: A PRELIMINARY STUDY“, the researchers found a relatively higher percentage of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (“NPD”) among the clergy than in the regular population.  The study discussed the impact of the NPD pastors’ approach to ministry as well as the negative impact on their congregations.

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Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – Avoid Them, continued

(See here for Avoid Them, Part I)

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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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While not everyone who has this list of traits is automatically a narcissist, narcissists tend to have this list of traits.  Therefore, if we apply to people with the following traits the instruction which is given, we will automatically be responding appropriately to those people who are narcissists.

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  1. they cause dissension
  2. they teach in ways contrary to sound doctrine
  3. they are slaves of their own appetites
  4. they deceive people with smooth and flattering speech

 

The instructions for dealing with them are:

  1. Keep an eye on them (in other words, be on the alert for these kinds of people), and
  2. Turn away from them
    1. individually – avoid them
    2. collectively – do not let them influence your church

 

The reasons it is important to deal with these people in this way are:

  1. It will allow us to avoid the consequences that surrounds and turmoil that surrounds these people.  But, more importantly …
  2. They “deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting”.   In other words, if we do not recognize them and avoid them, we put ourselves at risk of becoming deceived – living according to false ways of thinking which will be disastrous for our lives.

 

Jesus referred to these kinds of people in Matthew 15 (see here, and here for more explanation)

14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”   

In other words, if you allow yourselves to be led by a (blind) narcissist (the Pharisees to which Jesus referred or the deceivers to which Paul referred), you are blind and will fall into the same pit as the narcissist.  (See here for more)

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It is important to understand the context within which this instruction was given – that of relating to other church “members”.   As discussed here, how we deal with narcissists greatly depends upon the nature of the relationship with them.  We need to use the response that is appropriate for the situation.

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*narcissist is the current secular term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  See here for more.

 

 

 

Dealing With Narcissists – Fact Check Everything

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Proverbs 14.15 – “The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.”

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Proverbs 18.17 – “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”

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Matthew 18.16 – “so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”

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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.”

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1 Timothy 5.19 – “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.”

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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.

 

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