Why does God want all the worship and praise and glory?
Why are some PEOPLE like that?
“Narcissism.” It’s confusing. Until recently I always thought “narcissist” was just a literary word for “self-centered.” Like we ALL are, to some degree. Psychologists say it is a continuum that goes from the common vanity of those posted “selfies” that make us look better than we really are alllll the way to a psychotic extreme called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” that is a pathology even therapists can’t fix. And many degrees in between.
I don’t know the ANSWER to the “whys” and “wherefores” of narcissism. Just want to help us believers recognize it when we run into it in this ol’ fallen world. And avoid it if we feel it creeping into our own souls. Because it IS the OPPOSITE of God’s desire for us. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” the Bible says in James 4:7. And the evil associated with narcissism is unmistakable.
An organization posted a distillation of traits on “World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day” (June 1). Remind you of anyone you know? It did us:
”… an obsession with self and sense of grandiosity are just a couple of the nicer things that can be said about true narcissists. And, sadly, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths (pathologicals) will lie and manipulate, deny reality, and control a victim any way they can. Victims of narcissistic abuse are kept in a constant state of confusion, fueled by dizzying love one day and walking on eggshells the next. They are systematically isolated from friends and family. This behavior is cunningly calculated and designed to keep the narcissist’s fragile ego intact, while keeping their victim down. Victims often have no idea what is happening to them. It’s easy to believe a pathological when they tell you it’s all your fault, and they will tell you that, over and over. A narcissist doesn’t take responsibility for their actions and will blame everyone around them. Typically, they often attribute their own thoughts, feelings and motivations to others, so they can shift the blame off themselves. When you’re blamed often enough you believe it, and victims can no longer see that the life they find themselves living is not a normal one. They lose all hope that things can ever be any different. A pathological’s behavior can be so confusing, so subtle, so undermining and so effectively controlling that it can take years for a victim to wake up and understand that it’s not their fault.”
Whew! Yes. That does wrap it up AND tells WHY we should be more aware and cautious.
The Lord Himself knows it is sweet to share pictures of ourselves and friends and family with others online. But it is easy to see when the line is crossed and the poses and pride shine through instead. That is simply part of our daily growth in the Lord. We see it, we confess it, we fix it. Because we know it is the OPPOSITE of what He desires. Pride. The sin that got the devil kicked outta heaven.
Then there’s the opposite far end of the narcissism continuum that is WAY more toxic. WHY can’t those pathological worst-case ones be FIXED?
Basically, because they don’t think anything’s WRONG with them. It’s allll about Me, My Selfie, and I. SELF aggrandizement. SELF importance. Others matter only as they REFLECT ON THEM. Or can GIVE to them, or DO for them. “I’m perfect. If there’s a problem it’s YOU” is their song. And the way to the Lord’s salvation is plainly centered on us admitting we are sinners, and going to our knees to ask His forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
Not likely to happen for those who are convinced they are perfect already.
Some even say those types are EVIL. Back in Hitler’s day they called this pathology “Megalomania.” 12 million people Hitler killed in those concentration camps. On PURPOSE. HE wanted the glory and the power. And he was capable of doing whatever it took to make it happen.
There’s nothing about a LABEL that tells us much, though. So let’s just look to scripture to see what GOD says:
“…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And also YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
No matter how much Christian language they use, a hardcore narcissist does NOT love ANYONE as much as themselves. Church can be a hunting ground for them, lots of easy pickins there…people innocent and kind, willing to accept their demands. And more narcissists all the time. Like God warned us a long time ago:
“…in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, …ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, …. Avoid such people. II Timothy 3:1-5
A great description of the epidemic alright. But a surprising admonition–AVOID them?!
Just in case you aren’t sure about that “special someone” you are wondering about, here’s another:
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,but also to the interests of others. Philippian 2:4
WHOSE interests do THEY look to? Even if they use the “Christian talk” YOU use, is it maybe just to CONTROL YOU? Have they ever repented before the Lord? Given to OTHERS instead of demanding for THEMSELVES?
And what does God want us to DO about one if we sniff ‘em out? Besides avoid them? What if we were already ensnared by one while still naïve?
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16
That’s it. WISE AS SERPENTS towards those who do not even know what love IS. While we remain, in our hearts, as innocent as doves IN the LORD. Be wise, believers, children of the living God! Even while you remain innocent and pure in your own soul.
After knowing several people damaged in different ways, but all with the same end narcissistic PATHOLOGY I think it must be the way wounded souls are filled with evil when their owners were not careful to fill those wounds with the LORD. Like a sponge, it WILL absorb SOMETHING.
IIs there a CURE for narcissistic pathology?
Sure. Same cure as there is for OTHER sins:
Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“ Galatians 2:20
You lay it all down, get on your knees before the Lord, in Jesus’ name, confess your way has been diametrically opposed to His way, ask Him to forgive you, help you walk in His Spirit instead. To strengthen you to think of OTHERS instead of YOURSELF all the time. To GIVE instead of TAKE. To say THANK YOU instead of MORE. Like that.
The same cure everyone else has before Him. IF YOU SUBMIT TO IT. God DID give us ALL that pesky gift of FREE WILL, darn it.
Lastly, and most importantly—to victims and psychopaths alike—is GOD like that? He asks for our worship. Wants us to give Him all the glory and honor and praise. That’s what made the DEVIL jealous in the first place, isn’t it? So is GOD a narcissist? I’ve seen determined atheists and agnostics object to the very idea of worshipping God with this very reasoning.
The answer is…..NO! The “worship” God wants from us, His beloved children, is NOT the one-sided control and adulation for his own self-importance a narcissist HUMAN demands. It’s a dynamic love relationship EXACTLY like what we have with our own children. Anyone who has watched a baby with its loving parent SEES the adoration and clinging love/need/trust.
THAT “worship” is the ANTIDOTE to the world’s woes. It shapes US the same way an infant’s love for a loving parent does. We grow up wanting to be more LIKE Him. NOT something we just do in front of others to look good. Love and Worship inextricably intertwined. We bring what we have to Him, He gives what we need. A healing holy exchange…and an ETERNAL one.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. Romans 16:17-19
He flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. Psalm 36:1-3
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Proverbs 22:24-25