Narcissistic Traits – Inflated View, No Follow-Through

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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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Rain was considered a good thing in the Bible – especially in the region in which the Bible was written (the arid Middle East).  It was a source of the most  important physical component of life.  So, when clouds and wind kicked up, it was anticipated for rain to follow – as a good thing.  As a result, clouds and wind without rain without the resulting rain would be a significant disappointment.
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Out of their inflated view of themselves, narcissists will boast about how good they are at _____________ (fill in the blank – basically, whatever they’re trying to impress others with at that particular moment).   But more often than not, their boasts are not supported by reality.   So anyone who relies on a narcissist’s inflated claims is going to get hurt in some way.
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When dealing with people that focus on telling you how great they are, you might be dealing with a narcissist – make sure you get outside verification of their claims, rather than just accepting the (possible) narcissist’s claims.

Narcissist* Traits – They Do Not Think They Are In Need of Help (Pharisee Case Study)

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John 9:39-41

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.

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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

Why God Allows Narcissists To Wreak Havoc – Foundations – God’s Providence

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Psalm 37:23-24

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

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 [Please see here for the road map of the discussion on Why God Allows N’s To Wreak Havoc]

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We discussed here about God’s Plan For A Purpose of Love.  The next question is whether that “big picture” plan for a purpose of love also includes a detailed plan for individuals?  Is God actually in fact orchestrating everything in our lives according to a plan – even the little details of our lives, and even our difficulties with our Narcissist?

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The Bible indicates that God is indeed intricately involved in the course of our lives……

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Proverbs 16:9

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

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..and knows every detail…….

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Luke 12:6-7

Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

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 Psalm 139

139 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all……..

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13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

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..and is thinking about us constantly (10 trillion times per second)

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Psalm 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

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Alistair Begg has some good introductory thoughts about this subject, as well as a clear example of how God orchestrated many details in saving a person (Mordecai) and a group of people (the Jews) from the hands of a Narcissist (Haman) – discussed in the Old Testament book of Esther.  These clips may be a little long for the YouTube generation, but its worth a look.   You will enjoy listening to his practical perspective, as well as his humor and his Scottish accent.

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We can be sure that God is intimately involved in the details of our lives, orchestrating everything – even the “bad” things – for ultimate good.

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Psalm 23

23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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

 

Why God Allows Narcissists To Wreak Havoc – Foundations – God’s Plan For A Purpose Of Love, Part 2

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See here for the road map for this discussion, and see here for Part 1

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God’s plan for a purpose of love IS based on a plan – which God wisely developed, and detailed right from the start.

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Isaiah 46:8-10

“Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
“Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

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The only way that God could “declare the end”, “from the beginning””in ancient times” (an understatement for eternity past), would be to work out right from the start all of the details of His plan, and be able to guarantee the execution of each of those details.  Any other way would cause the plan to veer off course.  Think about some of your own plans that you made in your life – they never worked out exactly as planned because there were always details that you were simply not able to control.  This did not happen with God’s plan.  He wisely planned all of the details and controlled them, so that He could declare right at the start what would be the outcome of His plan – the fullest expression of His nature (love, justice, etc) and strength.

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Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Anxiety Is A Form Of Pride

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[A daily devotional by John Piper originally published by BibleGateway.com.  Reprinted under permission]

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God Cares for You    by John Piper

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

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Why is anxiety about the future a form of pride?

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God’s answer would sound something like this:

I — the Lord, your Maker — I am he who comforts you, who promises to take care of you; and those who threaten you are mere men who die. So your fear must mean that you do not trust me — and even though you are not sure that your own resources will take care of you, yet you opt for fragile self-reliance, rather than faith in my future grace. So all your trembling — weak as it is — reveals pride.

The remedy? Turn from self-reliance to God-reliance, and put your faith in the all-sufficient power of future grace.

We see anxiety as a form of pride in 1 Peter 5:6–7. Notice the grammatical connection between the verses. “Humble yourselves . . . under the mighty hand of God . . . [verse 7] casting all your anxieties on him.” Verse 7 is not a new sentence. It’s a subordinate clause. “Humble yourselves . . . [by]casting all your anxieties on him.”

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This means that casting your anxieties Continue reading

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

There is No Defense Against God’s Humbling

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Obadiah 1-4

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom—

We have heard a report from the Lord,
And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying,
“Arise and let us go against her for battle”—
“Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
You are greatly despised.
“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you,
You who live in the clefts of [b]the rock,
In the loftiness of your dwelling place,
Who say in your heart,
‘Who will bring me down to earth?’
“Though you build high like the eagle,
Though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.

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It is easy for a proud person to think that he can build a strong enough wall through his wealth or fame to prevent himself from being humbled by God.  Of course, a proud person does not consciously think in terms of being humbled by God (as he rarely acknowledges God), but in terms of “bad things happening” to him.  But as God demonstrated through Nebuchadnezzar, He is able to humble anyone.  And as He declares here with Edom (family line of Esau, another N), it does not matter how much an N tries to guard against it, if God decides to humble an N, He will make it happen.

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

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

Be Loved, To Love

We Love Because He First Loved Us

Boundlessly Good

God's Motive For All That He Does