The Growing Problem of Narcissism

Narcissism is growing and we need to be aware of the problems it causes and be careful not to take on any narcissist qualities ourselves. This short Bible study explains the biblical perspective. #Narcissism #BibleStudy

Please read the 1-minute devotion 8 Narcissist Problems as an introduction to this study.(1)  

Many people think of narcissists as unpopular and lacking charm. Not true. Some studies show that narcissists can be very popular, especially among those who don't know them well. They typically exude confidence and are skilled at manipulating people. But the more time spent with one, the clearer it becomes that the relationship is one-sided and unhealthy. 

1. A defining quality of narcissists is  their lack of empathy.

Narcissists are so self-absorbed that they lose their ability to see things from the other person's perspective. 

They say rude things to others, but scrutinize and criticize what others say. They expect people to sympathize with their difficulties, but they are unconcerned if others are suffering. They judge people harshly, but they judge themselves leniently, if at all. If they apologize for something (which is rare), it's always accompanied by an excuse. See That's Just the Way I Am and Self-Defense

They expect special treatment for themselves but they're able to hurt others without remorse. 

Narcissism is growing and we need to be aware of the problems it causes and be careful not to take on any narcissist qualities ourselves. This short Bible study explains the biblical perspective. #Narcissism #BibleStudy
Lack of empathy used to be a rare problem, but our culture's focus on self-esteem has changed that: "70 percent of students today score higher on narcissism and lower on empathy than did the average student thirty years ago." (source)

A narcissist may not have every characteristic described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, but this passage is a good list of narcissistic character traits. And note this important point: many of them "have a form of godliness." They are in our churches. Some are immature Christians who need to submit to God's commands. Others are weeds among us.

2 Timothy 3:1-5: But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.  ~Amplified Bible

Note: This passage addresses adults, so it may seem out of place to say they were "disobedient" to parents because adults are no longer required to obey parents. But the idea of the Greek word is a rejection of things which God prefers, so in this case it would be a rejection of God’s principles about honoring and respecting parents. As Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains, “This expresses the idea that they did not show to parents that honor, respect, and attention which was due.”   

2. We must sincerely, deliberately, proactively seek to recognize and overcome our narcissistic tendencies.

It's easier to excuse "little things" we do than confess and repent of them.

Jeremiah 17: 9-10: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”  

Proverbs 28:26: Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.

But we have this beautiful promise that narcissists never enjoy

1 John 1:9-10: If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 10 If we say that we have not sinned [refusing to admit acts of sin], we make Him [out to be] a liar [by contradicting Him] and His word is not in us. ~ Amplified Bible

copyright 2015, Gail Burton Purath, 

(1) Note: There is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder defined by psychologists, but this Bible study focuses on narcissism in general. 

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1 comment:

  1. Great article. Thank you for the comparison to scripture. Makes it very clear to see Light & darkness without confusion by the enemy!