Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1

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Jesus called the narcissistic scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” seven times in Matthew 23.  There was a reason He emphasized it – He was making clear to them that even though they may have fooled people with their outward appearance of faux-righteousness, He clearly saw through to their proud, greedy hearts.  Hypocrisy is a prime trait of a scoffer/narcissist.

“The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.”[1] Continue reading

Narcissist Case Study – Eliab, David’s Oldest Brother

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Psalm 19:7

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

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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.

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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;

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Announcement..

I started this blog in 2013 as part of a personal search for answers on some difficult situations I was facing while working in a tough corner of the world.  My purpose in doing the blog was two-fold.  First, going public would force me to keep at it and continue to dig until I got to the real bottom of things.  Second, I have always had the view that the Bible speaks to literally everything (2 Timothy 3:16), and wanted to use this subject to demonstrate that to others.

While this blog is certainly not the most popular blog on the subject of narcissism, there has been enough positive feedback to encourage me to continue chipping away at it.

Writing blog posts came (kind of) easily when I was working on Biblical descriptions.  When I got to the “why’s” and “solutions”, the answers became more difficult to discuss in short blog posts.  As a result, I decided to swallow hard and attempt to put the entire picture together from A to Z all at one time.

We are pre-announcing the release of a book “The First Will Be Last:  A Biblical Perspective On Narcissism”.  It should be available in the next couple of months.

What are the differences between the book and this blog?  In addition to more clearly and succinctly explaining the topics of the current blog threads, the book “looks ahead” with a much deeper in-depth look at causes and solutions – with an eye toward greater hope and help to those who suffer.

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If you would like to be notified when the book becomes available, please submit your email address and we will let you know.

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P.S.   I intend to keep working away at this blog, so eventually the various elements of the book should find their way here.

 

 

Narcissist* Case Studies – Satan’s Narcissistic Traits

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Satan is the original and most clear example of a Narcissist / One with insolent pride.   (See here for an explanation on why Satan was the original narcissist).  By understanding Satan’s insolent pride and his narcissistic traits, we can get another glimpse into the characteristics of narcissists.  Here is a partial list of Satan’s narcissistic traits:

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His primary goal is to be exalted and worshipped

 

Isaiah 14:12-14

12 “How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13 “But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

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Luke 4:6-8

And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”

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I Timothy 3:6

and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.

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He is a liar – he lies all the time

 

John 8:44

44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

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He is lawless (rebellious)

 

1 John 3:4-8

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness…….. the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

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He is a schemer

 

2 Corinthians 2:11

11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

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He sometimes acts with a false appearance of righteousness

 

2 Corinthians 11:14

14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

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He tries to portray a (false) image of power

 

2 Thessalonians 2:9

that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

[The antichrist and false prophet will come with a show of power as satan’s agent, “empowered by satan”.  They will try to deceive the world with counterfeit acts.  But its a false image of power.  God will show the real power when His top angel grabs satan, binds him with a chain, and tosses him into the bottomless pit]

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He is a destroyer, and will take as many people as he can down with him

 

Revelation 12:9

And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

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Revelation 12:12

12 For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

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He seeks out “targets”

 

1 Peter 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

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He flees when resisted

 

James 4:7

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

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He tries to ensnare his targets

1 Timothy 3:7

And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

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He looks for opportune times to make his moves….

Luke 4:13

13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

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* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  please see here for an explanation
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Satan is the original narcissist who demonstrates the narcissistic traits of 1.  having a primary goal to be exalted and worshipped, 2,  being a liar who lies all the time, 3.  being lawless and rebellious, 4.  being a schemer, 5.  sometimes acting under the guise of “righteousness”, 6.  trying to portray a false image of power, 7.  being a destroyer who takes as many people down with him as possible in his defeat, 8.  seeking out his targets, 9.  waiting for an opportune time to go after his targets, 10.  trying to trap his targets with snares, and 11. fleeing when resisted.

Narcissist* Case Studies – Satan, The Original Narcissist

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Isaiah 14:12-14

12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

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The above passage is well-known as referring to satan, the devil, lucifer, beelzebub, or one of the other names used for the top angel who out of pride thought he could be be like God.  To be in such close proximity to God like satan was, to see God’s power and His glory, and to think that you could be like God — and then attempt to do it – was the height of arrogance.   (See here for how according to the Bible, narcissism = insolent pride.)

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Luke 4:6-8

And the devil said to Him [Jesus], “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”

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Satan also showed his true colors when one of the 3 temptations he presented to Jesus had the goal of Jesus worshipping him.  Satan could have offered any other temptation, but was was so proud / arrogant / haughty that he took the moment of Jesus’ physical weakness due to His fasting to take a shot at getting what he really wanted – he wanted to be the #1 being.  He wanted somehow to be above God.  Narcissists will NEVER stop trying to exalt themselves until they are the #1 in the entire universe.  They will use whatever opportunities they are presented with to continue working toward that goal.

Notice in the above passage that satan was claiming that the earth was his to give.  It was not in fact his to give, even though he was arrogantly claiming it to be so.  Satan knew Psalm 24:1 – and that ultimately the earth and the world belonged to God, not Him.  This is a classic Narcissist trait – to co-opt other’s work, authority, rights as their own – as part of their self-aggrandizement and self-exaltation.

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Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
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Further confirming that satan was the original narcissist / one with insolent pride, was the direct link which Jesus made between the Big narcissist (satan) and the earthly examples of narcissists in His time – the Pharisees.  (See here and here how we know that the Pharisees were narcissists / filled with insolent pride).
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John 8:44

44 You (Pharisees) are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He (satan, the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”  please see here for an explanation

 

 

Narcissistic Traits – Outwardly “Righteous”, Inwardly Rebellious

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Matthew 23:27-28

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

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As we discussed here and here, the scribes and Pharisees are a particularly robust case study of narcissists.   They were experts at putting on a righteous act – partly for show, and partly because they actually believed it (see here) – while in reality being rebellious in their hearts toward God.

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This same trait of appearing godly outwardly, but being the opposite inwardly, will also be true of the narcissists that appear in the “last days”, as discussed here.
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2 Timothy 3:5 – holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

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The key to detecting this is to 1.  watch what they do, and compare it to what they say,  and 2.  watch what they do in public vs. what they do in private.

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Matthew 23:1-5

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of what this blog is about

 

Narcissistic Traits – They Want To Be The Center of Attention

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Matthew 23:1-7

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

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.
As mentioned above, Narcissists / those with insolent pride want to be the center of attention.  While they would prefer to have it come by being exalted – as with the Pharisees and Diotrophes – sometimes they will “play the victim” in order to be the center of attention.  A narcissist’s victim status can take the form of  “woe is me”, or “my (usually little) problems are far worse than your (usually much bigger) problems”.
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Please see here and here for background on why the Pharisees can be called Narcissists, and here for background on why Diotrophes can be called a Narcissist.

Psalm 17 – David’s Prayer For Protection Against Oppressors

Psalm 17

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.
Let my judgment come forth from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look with equity.

 

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.
As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips
I have kept from the paths of the violent.
My steps have held fast to Your paths.
My feet have not slipped.

 

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand
From those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
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.

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Narcissist Traits – Deceitfully Seeking The Admiration Of Men While Doing Evil

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Mark 12:38-44

In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”

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Matthew 6:2

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites (i.e. the Pharisees) 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.  

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[Note:  We know Jesus was referring to the scribes and Pharisees when He mentioned “hypocrites” in Matthew 6 because of what it says in Matthew 23 – “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…… linking the “hypocrite” label to the scribes and Pharisees.  The scribes and Pharisees were the narcissists of their day (see here and here and here and here) and are a good case study of narcissistic traits and tactics.]

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Jesus was seeking to protect those who were listening to Him through his cautionary “beware” about the hypocritical scribes (and Pharisees).  These narcissists

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  1. Coveted the admiration of men (“they like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets”), instead of the humility more appropriate for their position as “men of God”
  2. Acted in disingenous ways to seek the admiration of men (“wore long robes (to imply piety)” and “for appearance’s sake offer long prayers”), while
  3. At the same time – out of greed – they were taking advantage of the most vulnerable people (“devour widows houses”) who could not resist the evil being done to them.

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The listeners needed to be wary of these narcissists not only because of the potential harm they could do through their greedy actions, but also (and even more importantly) because of the terrible example of “faith” which these narcissists were setting.  Instead of humbling themselves before the God of the universe, and praying secretly, they were putting on a show for only the exaltation which they would receive at the hands of men.  Following this supposed spiritual leadership of the scribes would be the opposite of a genuine life of the kind of faith pleasing to God, and spiritually dangerous to any who would follow.  Hence Jesus’ warning to “beware”.

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While Jesus did not call out these scribes by name, He did something even better by providing a guideline by which His listeners could recognize these people and others like them – and to prudently be on guard against them and their destructively prideful and self-seeking ways.

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of this blog.

Narcissist Case Study – Uzziah

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When seemingly “normal” people become arrogant and abusive after they get a little power or success, we may reasonably wonder whether the seeds of that pride were latent in their heart prior to their success.  Uzziah, King of Judah is a case in point:

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2 Chronicles 26

26 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah…….

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 He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him…….

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……15 Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.  16 But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 

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Narcissist Case Study – The Prodigal’s Brother

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Luke 15:1-2

15 Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

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In response to crowds coming to hear Jesus, the (narcissistic) Pharisees and scribes did not publicly reveal their jealously, but rather grumbled among themselves with a haughty and holier-than-thou attitude about His “receiving sinners”.

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Rather than directly rebuke them for their attitude, Jesus responded by telling them three parables.  Jesus’ main point in each of the parables was God’s loving grace in seeking those who are “lost”, and joy when they return to Him.  This was in obvious contrast with the Pharisees who did not care about the people to whom Jesus was ministering, but only about the fact that they were not the center of attention.

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In Jesus’ third story of the “prodigal son” [read the entire parable here], He also used the narcissistic older brother’s response as a mirror to point out to the narcissistic Pharisees their prideful, self-centered obstructionism (Luke 11:52), and lack of mercy.  Jesus was not defensive at the Pharisees’ grumbling, but took the path of grace by gently pointing out their error via through this story – if they were willing to listen.

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Narcissist* Traits – They Lack Perspective On What’s Important

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Matthew 23:23-24

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin [see note], and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

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Narcissist Tactics – Saying Whatever They Have To, To Get What They Want

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John 19:15

So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

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As we saw in

Narcissism Case Studies – The Pharisees, Overview

Narcissist Case Studies – Pharisees – How We Know They Were Narcissists, Part I

Narcissist Case Studies – How We Know “The Pharisees” Were Narcissists, Part 2

Additional Perspectives on The Pharisees

 

the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day were classic Narcissists.   A careful analysis of their actions can give some clues as to how narcissists approach things.  In this case, there was no way that the chief priests really wanted Caesar to be their king – the whole nation of Israel was chafing at Roman rule and would have loved to cast it off.  And they were actively looking for a Jewish king.  So when the chief priests, said “we have no king but Caesar”, they were blatantly lying simply to make sure that Pilate did not let Jesus go.

As discussed in other posts, some of the Messianic Psalms clearly lay out the characteristics of the narcissistic / insolent pride Pharisees.  And a key tactic was speaking falsehood to get what they wanted.   That is a prime tactic of all narcissists.

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 Psalm 12

12 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”

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Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”

Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of this blog

 

 

Dealing With Narcissists* – Healing Their Victims

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There is much to learn from how Jesus dealt with the narcissists of His day, the Pharisees (see here and here on how we know the Pharisees were narcissists/scoffers filled with insolent pride).  It is instructive as to what He did and said in His dealings with them, but also what did not do, and did not say.   It is very interesting that in some cases, rather than trying to defend against the narcissists’ actions, He put His focus on ministering to those whom the narcissists “hurt”. Here are a couple of examples: . Continue reading