Narcissist* Traits – Creating “Righteous-Sounding” Excuses To Get What They Want

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Mark 7:9-13

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

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Jesus was speaking here to the “Pharisees and some of the scribes”  [See herehere, and here for discussions on how we know the Pharisees were narcissists*].

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The Mosaic instruction for honoring parents was very serious, as illustrated by the severe consequence for speaking evil of them.  So, the Pharisees were caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place – in their greed and selfishness they wanted to keep and use for themselves the money that they should rightfully use to support their parents.  But they also did not want to be seen (by God, or by man) as violating the clear Mosaic law.

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The devious solution they came up with created a mechanism that projected an image of “righteousness” while at the same time giving them what they wanted.   They would give their money “to God”, but it would still be under their control as to how it would be spent – they would the recipient of their own “generosity” instead of their parents.

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This was not just about the Pharisees giving to a “greater and more worthy cause” than their parents – although they certainly wanted it to look that way.  This was a deceitful move  – ignoring the requirement to take care of their parents by acting pious while simultaneously being the recipient.  They were keeping the money for themselves, shirking their responsibilities, and using the false “piety” to further glorify themselves while covering for their evil behavior.

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This is a classic narcissist move – they create an excuse that cannot be criticized or questioned as a smokescreen and cover for their self-centered and selfish action to get what they want.  And, if they can use the smokescreen itself as the very means of getting what they want – all the better.

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Narcissist Traits – They Avoid Accountability (Pharisee Case Study)

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Matthew 27:20-25
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20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21 But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”22 Pilate *said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all *said, “Crucify Him!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” 25 And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”

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Acts 5:27-28

27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

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We know from here that Pharisees were examples of narcissists / those with insolent pride.  The very people who stirred up the crowds to ask Pilate to release Barrabas and crucify Jesus were the same ones who later were trying to avoid being pegged with responsibility for Jesus’ death.  This is a classic narcissist move – seeking to be above accountability for their actions.  Even when confronted by evidence to the contrary.
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Note:  The point of this entry is not to say “the Jews killed Jesus”, but to illustrate the narcissistic tendency to avoid accountability for the very actions for which the narcissist is responsible.  The Pharisees were not all narcissists, and the actions of Matthew 27 and Acts 5 were ultimately done by individuals.   See here for an additional discussion on calling the Pharisees “narcissists”.
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Also, there is additional reading on the various Jewish theological schools of thought and practice @ http://www.centralcal.com/crist2.htm
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*Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here for more

Narcissist* Traits – “Good Deeds” That Exalt Themselves and Hurt Others

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Philippians 1:12-18

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

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Paul’s statement on “some” (a minority) that were preaching was incredible:  They were doing a “good work” (preaching Christ) for the following reasons:

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  1. Jealously
  2. Strife
  3. Selfish ambition
  4. Wanting to cause Paul distress, with no consideration of the fact that he was already in distress by being imprisoned!

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Their good work was nothing at all about doing a good thing out of love for others…….they were doing what looked good (so they couldn’t be criticized) for the sole purpose of exalting themselves (selfish ambition) and hurting Paul.  They could be sure that they would have zero eternal reward for their “good work” of preaching:

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1 Corinthians 13:1-4

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

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These may even be some of those of which Jesus spoke:

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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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And, even more incredible was Paul’s response…… rather than focusing on how this minority were “hurting him”, he was happy that the gospel was being advanced by whatever means possible.  He knew that God would judge the jealous, selfish (narcissistic) people , and that God would deal with them properly while he continued to focus on his goal.

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Colossians 3:25

25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

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  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

 

Narcissist Traits – Honoring Themselves Instead of Working

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Proverbs 12:9

Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant
Than he who honors himself and lacks bread.

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The priority for a narcissist is self-exaltation.  If no one else is there to honor them, they won’t hesitate to honor themselves.  They will go around bragging about their “accomplishments” instead of actually going out and making them happen – talking instead of working.

Continue reading

The Opposite Of Narcissism Is Love – Intro

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1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails…….

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We would normally think that the opposite of narcissism / insolent pride is humility – which is true.  But, insolent pride is also the opposite of genuine love.   According to the verses above, love

  • Is kind
  • Is not jealous
  • Does not brag
  • Is not arrogant
  • Does not seek its own
  • Is not provoked
  • Does not take into account a wrong suffered

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These are the polar opposites of the traits shown by narcissists.   As we will discuss going forward, the contrast between narcissism and genuine love is fundamental to helping us understand:

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  • the real (eternal) consequences which narcissists have chosen for themselves
  • why God allows them to wreak havoc
  • how God wants us to respond and deal with them
  • why it is important that we look at our own hearts even while we are struggling with the N in our lives

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  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls insolent pride – see here

 

Narcissist Traits – They Have A Tendency Toward “Legalism” (Pharisee Case Study)

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Matthew 23:23-28

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, 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!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

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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See here and here on how we know that the scribes and Pharisees are a case study in narcissism

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Legalism is a focus on technical, outward conformance to a standard without regard for the spirit of the standard.  Legalistic people may adjust to comply with the external standard, while neglecting, ignoring, or outright rejecting any changes needed to their core heart attitutde.  The Pharisees were “legalistic” – they were focused on outward compliance with the rules (God’s law plus the ones they made up) rather than on being righteous on the inside.  But God had made it clear from the early days of their people that the focus should be on their hearts:

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Deuteronomy 6:4-6

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart…….

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The scribes and Pharisees knew that commandment, as shown by the lawyer’s response to Jesus’ question….. Continue reading

Narcissist Traits – They Judgmentally Compare Themselves To Others (Pharisee Case Study)

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Mark 7:5

The Pharisees and the scribes *asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

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Luke 5:30

30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”

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As we said here, scoffers (those with insolent pride, aka narcissists) set themselves up as judge.   Unless they can somehow get in an official position where they can judge others, they will unofficially compare themselves with others in a judgmental way.    They may not do this consciously, but their instinct for moral superiority makes it natural for them to frequently compare themselves with others, with an eye toward what the others are doing wrong and how they themselves are “better”.   In the verses, above, the Pharisees were comparing what Jesus and His disciples did with what they did.  In both cases, what Jesus did was not wrong – but the Pharisees set their own actions up as the standard to live by, and then judged Jesus and His disciples for not matching up to their standard.  Of course, they did not come right out and say, “you’re wrong”, but expressed their judgmental spirit through questions. Continue reading

Narcissist* Traits – There Is No Limit To Their “Kingdom Building”

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Habakkuk 2:4-5

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.
“Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man,
So that he does not stay at home.
He enlarges his appetite like Sheol,
And he is like death, never satisfied.
He also gathers to himself all nations
And collects to himself all peoples.

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One characteristic of true narcissists / those with insolent pride is that there is no limit to their desire for being exalted by others.   They are the ultimate “kingdom builders”, with the goal of showing their “greatness”.  The only thing limiting them is their opportunity.  That is why classic narcissists like Hitler and Napoleon would could be relatively obscure, but when given the opportunity would move quickly to create the biggest kingdom possible – at the expense of many other people, of course.

As the ultimate narcissist, this very much applies to Satan.  Satan’s goal is to gather to himself all nations, and collect to himself all people – to himself and away from God – even though Satan knows full well that those people will be utterly destroyed as a result.   (See here for the first step in not falling into Satan’s trap)

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  • Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

Narcissist* Traits – They “Put On A Show” Of Their Deeds

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Matthew 23:5

But they (scribes and Pharisees) do all their deeds to be noticed by men…..

As we mentioned here, here, and here, the scribes and Pharisees are a case study in narcissism / insolent pride.

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In the Narcissists’* drive to be exalted by others, their focus is completely on what other people think of them, rather than on the genuine substance of things.  In fact, they will go out of their way to even suffer some pain – such as with fasting – if the end result is the praise and recognition of man.  To a narcissist, wickedness in their heart does not matter as long as things look good to others.  They particularly will focus on “putting on a show” of their “goodness” so that others will see it and think well of them.

Some examples are:

Continue reading

Revisiting Narcissist* Traits

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Matthew 7:16-18

16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

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They Like The Thought of Being Superior .

They Actually Think They’re Better

Sitting in the Seat of Scoffers / Narcissists as Judge .

They Refuse To Listen

Looking On Others With Contempt

They Deceive Themselves

They Never Learn

They’re Impossible To Please

Religious (Maybe), But Not Truly Moral or Righteous .

They Are Deceivers (and Liars)

Big Time Hypocrites

Making It Look Good

They’re Conflict Creators

They Lack Perspective On What’s Important

They Have Poor Judgment

They Add Fuel To Fires

Nothing But Strife

They Focus On Your Version Of Their Problem .

They Want To Be The Center of Attention

What is Narcissism

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  • Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here

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

Narcissist* Traits – Don’t Rely On Their Inflated, False Claims

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Proverbs 25:14 – Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
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 “Clouds and wind without rain” may not mean much to today’s urbanites – its a word picture from an agrian time.  But to a farmer looking for the crucial rain needed for a successful crop, clouds and wind are signs that the necessary rain should be coming soon.  Then, if does not come, the farmer is let down that the promise of rain did not result in actual rain.
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Continue reading

Narcissist Traits – Creating Rules That Become “Doctrine”……

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…….Or “How Cults Are Created”

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Matthew 15

You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

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Jesus was quoting Isaiah 29:13 as he spoke to the hypocritical, narcissistic Pharisees (see here and here about how we know that the Pharisees were narcissists / those with insolent pride).  The Pharisees are a good case study on the behavior of religious leaders who are narcissists:

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Continue reading

Narcissistic Traits – The Contentious Wife, Part 1

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There are comments in the secular world that more men are narcissistic than women.  A couple of responses to that notion are:

  1. There is very little factual basis for that assumption
  2. Narcissism can take different forms (see here).  The way a man reveals his narcissism may be different than a way a woman reveals her narcissism.
  3. Narcissism is about the insolent pride of the heart, for which both men and women have a propensity

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Having said that, the following discussion is not intended to say that women are more narcissistic than men.  It is simply a discussion on how the Bible describes one way that a woman’s narcissism may reveal itself.

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The Bible has a few choice things to say about a contentious wife

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Proverbs 21:9 – It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
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Continue reading

Another Narcissism Test

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Narcissism (Insolent Pride) can take many forms.  He (or she) can be the obvious extroverted center of attention, but he can also be introverted and reserved.

The essence of narcissism is not the outward style, but “selfishness and empty conceit” instead of “humility of mind” – as Paul admonished against here……

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Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…”

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A good secular discussion of this can be found in the following article

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http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/23-signs-youe28099re-secretly-a-narcissist-masquerading-as-a-sensitive-introvert/

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This article includes an interesting test for “introverted narcissism”.  Its worth a look.

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Note:  Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible describes as “insolent pride” – see here

 

 

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