Proverbs 25:14 – Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely..
5 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. 6 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. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
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.
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 – ” 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,8 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.
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.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
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:
12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
We may intuitively understand that enemies of God will ultimately be judged. But, it is very clear that everyone, even His friends will be judged. Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
So, whether the narcissist we are dealing with is a total enemy of God, or claims to be a Christian, he will ultimately receive his full consequences from God for his actions toward us. However, while there is a 1 to 1 relationship between actions and consequences, there will be a difference in consequences based on his “standing” when he faces judgment. This watershed is found in Psalm 32:
32 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
In addition to the fact that nothing is impossible with God, one clue that it is possible for narcissists (those with insolent pride) to change is that God warns them to change. Why would He warn them if change is impossible? God warns scoffers / those with insolent pride to give up their scoffing, accept His reproof and allow Him to transform them through His Spirit.
20 Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
If the narcissist refuses the wisdom that leads to change, it will ultimately result in calamity for him…..
24 “Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
26 I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
……and he will eat the fruit of the choice he is making.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
30 “They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
Isaiah 28:14 – Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, ………...
Isaiah 28:22 – ……..And now do not carry on as scoffers, Or your fetters will be made stronger; For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts Of decisive destruction on all the earth.
18 If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.
.Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit..Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
For those who have been hurt by a narcissist*, a serious amount of comfort and healing are needed. While a certain amount of comfort can be provided by friends, there is a limit to what a friend can provide. Even if your friends have not also been fooled or tainted by the narcissist’s deceptions, they friends may not really understand the damage the narcissist has done. But even more fundamentally, no other human can truly feel everything you’re feeling.
A big question for those who are dealing with a narcissist / those with insolent pride is often “Is there any hope”? They are hoping in the midst of their despair that somehow things will change. While hope can come in different forms, what they often mean by this is “Will this person (narcissist) ever change?”. The short answer is …… it IS possible:
Matthew 19:26 –And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Daniel 4:37 – Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”.
Another way to view our dealings with narcissists* is as a 3-way relationship. Yes, it mostly feels as though it is “us vs. them”, and that we need to struggle through dealing with these difficult people on our own. And while there is some truth to that, we will not be able to have full success in dealing with them until we understand God’s involvement in the equation (see here and here). So, while we may succeed on our own in applying solid tactics in our dealings with the narcissist – which may definitely help us maintain sanity – we will not be able to achieve the full level of “victory” in our lives that is possible without bringing God into the equation.
The following diagram illustrates the 4 relationship dynamics involved in our dealing with narcissists:
- Us with the narcissist
- God with the narcissist
- God with us
94 O Lord, God of vengeance,
God of vengeance, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth,
Render recompense to the proud.
3 How long shall the wicked, O Lord,
How long shall the wicked exult?
4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.
5 They crush Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
6 They slay the widow and the [d]stranger
And murder the orphans.
7 They have said, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”
8 Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
9 He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
.Romans 14:12 – So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God..1 Peter 4:5 – but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead..Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap..Hebrews 10:30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”.
Proverbs 25:14 – Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely..
62 My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
3 How long will you assail a man,
That you may murder him, all of you,
Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
4 They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position;
They delight in falsehood;
They bless with their mouth,
But inwardly they curse. Selah.
As with all other Bible topics, the Biblical perspective on narcissism (aka insolent pride) is interwoven throughout the Bible. Therefore, the full picture is obtained through stitching together many pieces from many places in the Bible. Searching this out in blog form has the disadvantage of being worked through in “real time” and therefore pretty raw and disjointed, but it has the big advantage of being able to link back to other blog entries as part of the process of weaving things together and providing better explanations.
Proverbs can be considered more the wisdom of God (see here), and Psalms more the heart of God (see here). To not interrupt the flow of this Psalm while still providing details that help to further understand narcissism, I have embedded links in key words, and provided notes. So please click on the BOLD words and refer to the notes below for additional discussion on a particular insight related to narcissism.
…….Or “How Cults Are Created”
7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”
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:
There are several Psalms that describe and address those with insolent pride (aka narcissists – see here). Psalm 12 is one of those Psalms. It describes them strutting about with the insolently prideful attitude that no one can tell them what to do (“who is lord over us”). They flatter and speak lies , believing that they can get what they want through manipulating people and situations by what they say (“with our tongue we will prevail”). Classic narcissistic approach.
But it also invites the Lord to cut them off, and describes how, ultimately, God will protect His people from these evil people.
12 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
2 They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
4 Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
5 “Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
7 You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
8 The wicked strut about on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
* Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible describes as “insolent pride” (see here)