6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2 “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.
3 John 1:9-10
9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
The tip-off to Diotrephes’ narcissism / insolent pride was his “love to be first among them”. His insolent pride resulted in
- Not accepting what the apostle John was saying.
- Accusing John with wicked words
- Not receiving (ie – providing the opportunity) others who might challenge him
- Getting rid of those who might possibly side with others
Classic narcissist behavior.
Tragically, there are too many pastors and leaders of ministries who have the “Diotrephes Syndrome”. Their core purpose is self-exaltation instead of shepherding the flock of God. They construct their “ministries” and message around what will best serve their delusions of grandeur. These are some of the false prophets whom Jesus warned us about
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits.
25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
As was made clear by his answer, the lawyer already knew the Biblical answer to his question, implying that his question was not a sincere inquiry. Luke called it a “test” – the lawyer was simply asking the question to see what kind of response he would get, with the chance perhaps that Jesus would say something that the lawyer could use against him – or possibly to show that he was somehow better than Jesus. This is a typical narcissist tactic. Continue reading
While Jesus often taught about how to respond to life situations from a “Heavenly perspective”, He also frequently demonstrated it. One example that is relevant to our study on how to deal with narcissists is when Jesus was invited to dinner by the Pharisee, Simon.
36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” Continue reading
9 Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, Continue reading
56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
2 My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.
3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
4 In God, whose word I praise, Continue reading
From Cain, the very first narcissist*, narcissists have used incomplete and fake repentance as a tool to avoid consequences of their actions, while not actually giving up their quest for what they want. It is a tactic for taking off the immediate heat, while avoiding any genuine heart change.
David to Saul (a narcissist) – I Samuel 24:10-12
10 Behold, this day your [Saul’s] eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my [David’s] hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.
Saul to David – 1 Samuel 24:18-20
18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand and yet you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.
As we discussed here, purposefully allowing ourselves to be weak, rather than resisting, in the face of an attack from a narcissist, allows God to act and provides a stronger testimony to the narcissist and others.
David was a prime illustration of this in allowing himself to be weak in the face of the narcissistic onslaught from Saul. Even though God had anointed David King, and David had done nothing wrong, and even though he had the strength with his “mighty men” to take Saul head-on, David allowed Saul to chase him, and trusted God to 1. protect him, 2. deliver him from Saul, and 3. establish him as king in God’s time. Even when David had the chance to kill Saul – which would end it all and fulfill by his own hand God’s declaration that he would be king – David chose to let God act and fulfill His word, rather than taking things into His own hands.
David’s testimony spoke volumes to Saul, with Saul admitting to himself and publicly what he probably already knew in his heart, that David would surely become the King. David’s allowing himself to be weak and leave things in God’s hands, ultimately showed God’s strength to the nation of Israel, and was a testimony that Saul could not refute.
And, in the end, God dealt with Saul and David became king.
Additional reading: “Saul Hunts David”
Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
3 Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
4 Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
Just as there can be narcissism / insolent pride within an individual, there can also be entire cultures and nations that have narcissist characteristics.
What is a narcissistic culture? A culture where the preponderence of the people are narcissists and act in narcissistic ways. Or a culture (or nation) where the entire group acts toward other groups with the heart and behavior of a narcissist.
Two such cases in the Bible were the nation of Moab and the nation of Edom. Moab was the nation which came from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his older daughter. Edom was the nation which descended from Esau, Jacob’s twin brother.
Referring to Moab……
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab, an excessive pride;
Even of his arrogance, pride, and fury;
His idle boasts are false.
29 “We have heard of the pride of Moab—he is very proud—
Of his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance and his self-exaltation.
30 “I know his fury,” declares the Lord,
“But it is futile;
His idle boasts have accomplished nothing.
O God of my praise,
Do not be silent!
2 For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They have alsosurrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without cause.
4 In return for my love they act as my accusers;
But I am in prayer.
5 Thus they have repaid me evil for good
And hatred for my love. Continue reading
In the case of Absalom, there is not a clear statement in the Bible about his insolent pride / narcissism. However, there are clues regarding Absalom’s drive for self-aggrandisement, which ultimately led to his own death. Absalom’s quest for exaltation resulted in his destruction, and in the process was a tool used by God to chasten David for his sin in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah.
It is a pleasure (not to mention less work) when I come across another’s writing which helps add to the understanding I am seeking through this blog. I just came across a good profile of King Saul, called “Saul a Portrait of Pride and Insecurity“, by a writer pen-named Tamarajo.
Please see the entire entry here. Following are some excerpts:
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
A “testimony of the Lord” is a Biblical account of God’s dealing with someone in accordance with His nature and His ways. While those accounts often do not specifically outline the Biblical principles at play, they are excellent illustrations of truth gleaned in other parts of the Bible. A “case study” or a “cautionary tale” might be modern ways of referring to these accounts. And as Psalm 19:7 and I Corinthians 10:11 state, these accounts can provide wisdom to those who are naive (or simple).
One such account is that of Eliab, David’s oldest brother.
1 Chronicles 2:13-15
13 and Jesse became the father of Eliab his firstborn, then Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, 14 Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh;
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
The narcissistic Pharisees were in fact blind, even though they claimed that they could see. They were blind to the true condition of their hearts, thinking themselves to be righteous teachers and spiritual leaders, when in fact their hearts were full of evil thoughts, desires, and motives. Jesus later was very direct in pointing out to the Pharisees their blindness. Continue reading