Let’s begin with the opposite… that would be the golden rule.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
You could say that this verse turns narcissism on its head, but it’s actually the other way around. If we are God-focused, our tendencies of pride are unnatural.
To God be all glory. We are His creation. Though, we have been given the ability to create ourselves, from works of art and fiction to business and industry, we are but sub-creators, always beneath the one true and living God.
The extreme form of pride is seeing oneself over all others, even God. It is at the heart of the tower of babel, at the very core of sin.
We all struggle with pride, but the narcissist gives into it completely.
He or she will subvert the golden rule, “I will do what I want for myself and everyone around me will be used to satisfy these wants.”
The most bold narcissist might say this out loud. But for most, they see themselves as good. They are bold with their goodness, too bold.
In this they have bought into their own lies. They are very blind to how evil they are (and we have all fallen short of God’s glory. No one is good, no not one).
As the bible puts it “[you] do not notice the log that is in your own eye”. The narcissist only sees the wrongs of others. They are hyper prideful and super judgmental.
Narcissism is especially at play to themselves. It is built on a lie that they are the most important person in all of the world. They don’t ponder on this, they know it through and through.
It is normalized and natural to treat others in a despicable way, because to the narcissist, it isn’t despicable. It’s the only way to be.
How to Spot a Narcissist
Narcissists are judgmental and projecting. This means that they only see other’s sins. Any sins the Holy Spirit convicts them of, well, they project those sins on others using slander and false witness. They perceive what they do not know of a person, fill in the blanks… they lie. Often times those lies are the very sins that they hold in their heart.
The drunkard narcissist will call out a person drinking a single beer, “Look at that drunkard!” They say to their friends.
The seek after scapegoats. If one scapegoat leaves their influence they will always find another. This is what exposes them. Once they are exposed you can read their secret sins on all of the people they are projecting that sin onto.
The first person who accuses is always listened to the most. If the accused accuses back… well it makes them look bad. The narcissist knows this very well and will often cause division and confusion by slander and lies.
You will know the accusation is false when the accused leaves. For at that point, the narcissist seeks a new target, a new scapegoat.
If you are friends with such a person, notice how they treat other people, especially strangers. Someday, they will also treat you in the same manner.
Are they dismissive of waiters and waitresses? Do they blame their own folly on another’s sin? There are plenty of sinners in this world. When confronted ,a narcissist will focus everyone’s attention away from them, even to the point of making a little sin, a little speck in someone else’s eye to be a very big thing.
Let’s look at the golden rule in context with the complete chapter from Matthew.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The narcissist is hyper judgmental. They always have a log in their eye that they are blind to. They will only see the speck in yours.
9 years ago, when depression was first beginning to creep into my heart, I had been wronged by some very close friends. For a year I held it against them; I kept wanting God to judge them. I was bitter. Eventually the Lord showed me the error of my ways. He reminded me of the many sins He had forgiven me of. He cornered me. I had no choice but to forgive and move on.
Even with depression hanging over my heart, I had to forgive, otherwise, God would not forgive me.
If you have been hurt by a narcissist in your life, do not be as foolish as I. Forgive. Otherwise well, holding onto unforgiveness, holding things over others is a very narcissistic thing to do.
Forgiveness and Trust
By the way, forgiveness and trust are two different things. Forgiveness means the person who wronged you doesn’t owe you anything. It’s very healthy to do this, especially if that person has no thought of ever repenting (meaning to change their thinking and their ways).
Trust means that you allow them into your life because you trust that they will treat you well.
You can forgive someone and not trust them.
Forgiveness is a great tool for reconciliation. In other cases, forgiveness can even be used as a tool to release that person’s influence on your life.
When I see my old friend who hurt me, I treat them with kindness. I don’t mutter evil curses against them under my breath. I also don’t seek them out. I don’t trust them with my thoughts. I am not friends with them.
6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
This is a warning to someone who is dealing with a narcissist, or to someone who is hyper judgmental. Don’t trust them with your pearls, your thoughts and dreams or even to things that are holy.
I once had a roommate who was very prideful. His words and actions constantly hurt me. I was seeing a Christian counselor at the time. I told this counselor how my roommate was treating me. He suggested I tell this to my roommate.
My counselor had given me so much good advice. It was actually bringing me out of my depression, but this advice was not so good.
I sat my roommate down, I confronted him in love. The moment my roommate felt an accusation, he tightened up. Our talk ended in a shouting match. I was the only one at fault.
I was open to my faults, open to repentance, but any time I asked for forgiveness, he made a scapgoat out of me, even projecting his sins onto my life. So, in the end I had my sins and I had his sins.
To this day we do not speak to each other. This is good! I forgive him. He owes me nothing. I’ve set him free. This means that he is no longer an influential part of my life.
The narcissist is blind to his actions. Telling him or her about how they have wronged you only angers them. Don’t throw your pearls before swine.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
This is the Lord telling us that He is not self-serving or prideful. He wants us to ask of Him. He wants us to pray and seek after Him. We can trust Him not to abuse us.
He uses the example of a parent giving bread to their child. Even in that parent’s fallen state, even when they are evil, they know how to give good gifts to their children. How much more will God who is good give good things to those who ask Him!
Sadly, there are even parents who do not understand this. To the narcissistic parent asking, seeking, and knocking are a gamble. Not saying such a parent will never feed their children (physically or emotionally), but any request is subject to the parent’s desire of self. Will it make him or her look good?
How should children handle a narcissistic parent. They should always honor them, but as they grow older this honor does not mean giving into that parents pride. You should honor them as unto the Lord not as unto the parent.
Always pray for the president and be honorable towards him, even if you did not vote for him. In the same way you haven’t voted for who is to be your parent. God has placed them there. Forgive them and honor them, but as an adult… they should not always be obeyed.
In extreme cases you might need to consider how much trust you put in them.
The same can be said to any relationship with a narcissist. Be careful around them. This leads us back to the verse we started with, the golden rule.
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
This connects with the asking, seeking, and knocking verse that came before. It is directed to those prideful of heart. Treat others as well as you treat yourself.
The Biblical Cure to Narcissism
If a narcissist were open to the golden rule, if they began to use their love of self and start loving others as much as they loved themselves… well, such a person would be the most loving human beings on the planet.
There is hope for the narcissist. But that person must humble themselves and show true repentance. My next post will continue the study of Matthew 7. We will learn how God deals with those who have fallen deeply in with the pride of life.
Read it yourself… it isn’t very pretty.
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.