Bible Cures for Narcissism
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Have you ever worked for a narcissist? Maybe you think someone in your family is a narcissist? Maybe you are one and you just don’t care. Sometimes you may get into a working relationship or even romantic relationship with a narcissist before you realize what they are really like. They come off as sincere and caring, but before you know it, they are using you to serve them and their agenda. Many cult leaders are narcissists.

Below are signs, from the Mayo Clinic, that you or someone you know may be narcissistic. The Mayo clinic says this is a rare mental disease. I and many others wonder what their definition of “rare” is. Many believe narcissistic behavior is becoming an epidemic. After each sign, I have provided a Bible passage which offers a cure or example for each sign of narcissism.

I don’t believe people are narcissistic on purpose. If this looks like you, please prayerfully consider the Bible verses and perhaps contact a Christian counselor for help.

If you are in a relationship with one, how you handle it may be determined by exactly the kind of relationship you are in. Obviously it is not healthy for you. I would suggest seeking spiritual and maybe even professional counseling to find your best way out. Don’t be surprised if the narcissist makes him or herself look like the victim.

As well as providing the signs listed below to diagnose  narcissism, the Mayo clinic also suggests a cause for the disease. People who were not properly nurtured and cared for in the early stages of their life are more likely to become narcissists. If only these people realized how much God loves and cares for them!

Lucifer was loved and cared for in heaven, yet he played mind games with himself, until he brainwashed himself into thinking that nobody cared about him but himself. His only self-concocted shred of evidence was that God the Son outranked him. Age, rank and title did not prevent Lucifer from crying out like a little baby narcissist, “What about me?!”

Meanwhile, Jesus, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.” Philippians 2:6 NLT Instead of crying out “What about me!” Jesus has always cried out, “What about others!”

Here are the signs of narcissism provided by the Mayo Clinic, along with the examples or cures found in the Bible.

  • Believing that you’re better than others
Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:1-8 NLT

  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 NLT

  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents

Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon.

But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer?  God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided. Judges 8:1-3 NLT

  • Expecting regular praise and admiration.

Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them.  The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!”Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. Acts 12:21-23 NLT

  • Believing that you deserve special treatment

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:  “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11 NLT

  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Romans 12:15-16 NLT

  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans

Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers. Proverbs 11:14 NLT

  • Taking advantage of others

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags.  Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.  For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. James 5:1-4 NLT

  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 NLT

  • Being jealous of others

Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:28-29 NLT 

(When Paul had Jesus, He did not want anything King Agrippa had. He wanted Agrippa to have what He had!)

  • Believing that others are jealous of you

And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.And David said, What have I now done? [Is there] not a cause?  1 Samuel 17:26-29

  •  Having trouble keeping healthy relationships

A man [that hath] friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

  •  Aspiring to the position of someone above you

 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths. Isaiah 14:12-15 NLT

  • Feeling easily hurt and rejected

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:3-6

  • Having a fragile self-esteem

And the women answered [one another] as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands .And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed [but] thousands: and [what] can he have more but the kingdom?   And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.  1 Samuel 18:7-9

  • Wanting to appear tough-minded or unemotional

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:  Ezekiel 11:19

As I said earlier, if you see yourself here, or someone you have to deal with on a regular basis, you may need to seek professional counseling. Here is some helpful advice on dealing with a narcissistic boss.

Some cases are not as extreme. A while back, a friend of mine was flying from Tampa to Chicago every week on a work assignment. At the end of a certain week he was tired and ready for a quiet and relaxing plane ride home. It wasn’t going to happen. That day a large group got on the plane who were having a big noisy celebration of some kind. Instead of getting angry or upset, my friend who was already tired, just sighed and smiled, as he told himself, “Apparently today is not about me.” In many cases, the cure may just be that simple.

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About William Earnhardt

William Earnhardt has been a Bible Worker, literature evangelist and lay pastor in Oklahoma and Texas, before coming to Tampa Florida, where he has been the Bible instructor and lay pastor for the past ten years for the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has also held revivals and evangelism seminars, as well as soul winning workshops from Peru to Connecticut.

Comments

Bible Cures for Narcissism — 20 Comments

  1. William, thank you for this modern take on an age-old problem. Narcissism is simply an extreme focus on self. We are all naturally self-focused, because we are all sinners and thus naturally fall into a self-focused way of thinking, which is the way of the "prince of this world." (John 12:31)

    It is interesting that psychologists see this as a disorder, when all of modern society encourages self-focus. But in its extreme form the problem becomes so evident that it doesn't take any spiritual discernment to recognize it.

    All the symptoms you list are signs of self-focus and thus the polar opposite of the character of Christ, which is love. I recommend our readers compare this list with 1 Cor 13:4-8.

    I suspect many of us can recognize some of these traits in ourselves, and that is evidence that we need the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts.

    Like(24)
    • This is exactly true Inge! And God specifically states that the greek word Agape (love equalling, empathy, compassion and self-lessness) is the way to salvation, that without it we will not get there. So narcissistic tendencies are therefore original sin, and we are to work our entire lives to do the opposite, which God lays down as Agape!
      The psychological community, states there is no cure for narcissism, and gives it a disorder title. Because in psychology there is no God. There is no free-will, giving up self, and giving in to God's wishes.
      And in the end times, it gets worse just as it is today. This passage clearly depicts narcissism. And even how they take advantage of the naive, who fall into their manipulation and lies and deceit. And how they are personally, their thoughts etc.
      It is so clear.

      2 Timothy 3
      3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

      6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

      Like(5)
      • Also in understanding the bible translations of "love" there are various ways of depicting love in the bible, this includes Fillio, friendly love, or a love for children/family, responsibility type love, and then Eros which is more of a sexual attraction, physical. Both of which are considered naturally occurring types of love.

        However, Agape is first Empathy (the putting yourself in anothers shoes - given their limitations, faults, talents, point of view etc. - losing yourself completely to spiritually connect with another) Compassion (a call to action. Not just understanding or feeling their pain or joys etc., but also a call to act upon that. Helping another, embracing them, encouraging them etc.), and Self-lessness (going the extra mile, denying your own needs to see that another's is met. The ultimate sacrifice being dying for another).

        And Agape is considered not to be an always natural response. It is something we are taught as children by our own parents (hence baptism, which is really a sacrament for parents as well to take on the role of teaching agape, and living agape in their home).

        As it is not always natural, or often times not, it means we must constantly focus on it. We must be proactive in practicing it, in achieving that state of grace.

        Narcissism is characterized by a complete lack of empathy. This being the exact opposite of Agape.

        God is the ultimate in Agape. He is Divine Agape. Not only did God come in human form so that we might relate, empathize, spiritually connect with him, but our awesome God came in human form so that HE may empathize with us!

        It can be confused that, Jesus (God in human-form) died on the cross to forgive our sins. Yes he absolutely did, but as the passage in Romans states:
        10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

        Meaning, that in acting as Jesus did in his life, following his teachings of agape, emulating him (as divine agape), is the way to salvation. Not simply with words. Not simply with believing in all that God gives us (which would be a narcissistic trait), but in that Jesus taught us the way to salvation is through Him as Agape and his agape-centered life. Meaning we must emulate him, we must practice agape, we must have empathy, compassion and self-lessness.

        As the bible states: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

        Like(4)
  2. As I drive to church there is a large field of sunflowers. Last Sabbath I noticed them becoming quite mature. Another interesting thing I notice was that every sunflower head was turned towards the east, the morning sun. What a wonderful illustration. If we turn towards the Son of Righteousness every morning we will be fruitful, we don't even have to work at it, just grow in Christ. Steps to Christ page 68.2. Narcissism vanishes when we hold on to the fact that without Christ we can do nothing. John 15:4,5

    Like(20)
    • I love your illustration John. And if you will allow me to indulge for a couple of sentences: if you had watched the sunflowers all day you would have seen them turn their faces to the sun all though the day, not just in the morning. There has to be a lesson in that too, but I will let the reader work that out for themselves.

      Like(3)
    • Your comments are appreciated regarding this topic. I see the temptation in my own life to be self-focused, and it is helpful to have the awareness of the right scriptures to look to when this happens. We can certainly pray for others who have narcissist tendencies. We cannot see it in others without seeing it in ourselves, and we can pray, and catch ourselves and choose better behaviors. I love John's analogy of the sunflowers, and that looking towards Jesus for the answer to selfishness is the best remedy. Thank you all for the postings on this christian perspective site for this behavioral issue. God bless.

      Like(1)
  3. I love both your analogies Inge and John. What you both say is true, and narcissism also vanishes when we believe in God's love. On the website I referenced, it says that many people who grow up to be narcissists felt abandoned or uncared for in their early years. Once we realize the great love God has for us our desire to look out for ourselves vanishes, knowing God is looking out for us because He cares for us!

    Like(3)
  4. I want to be honest by saying that I at times find myself in this state. Though am glaf that Idont dwell much on it. But what have you viewing Peter before the arrest of JESUS CHRIST? Or still the sons of Zebedee? Unless we embrace Christ's humility , we wont make it.

    Like(1)
  5. national, or erstwhile communal narcissism has been transformed to entitlement in our children, who while we think we are raising them up with what they should have, they take for granted these things and treat them as rights. Politicians are often described as narcissists, simply put they want it all, which is the spirit of now.

    Like(2)
    • Okal, you are probably right. But it is more helpful for us to examine our own lives for traces of narcissism, because that is the opposite of the spirit of Christ, and we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to remove from our character all traces of self-interest.

      Like(4)
      • We definitely need to pray and be aware of this trait in our own lives. Realistically, though people, including Christians can still be vulnerable to very narcissistic people in our lives, and it can grow to be a big problem. Even devastating. That said, we need to pray for our enemies. Pray for God's guidance, and wisdom.

        Like(0)
  6. The focus on Christ is important and I appreciate the emphasis give here. In practical terms we need to think about others and how we can help and support others. If we translate that "focus on Christ" into a focus on others as well, we are on the right track. Sometimes that is hard. I know people who find it difficult to relate to others and one of our responsibilities should be to seek such people out and prove them with the opportunity to relate. We often downplay the importance of the social side of Christianity, but we need to remember that often good social relationships often play a significant role in encourage people to accept Jesus. (Sometimes more than eloquent doctrinal dissertation.)

    Like(4)
    • [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting.]

      I agree. The two greatest commandments are loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Narcissism is a natural out growth of this foundation. Self love (love of self), was buried between loving God and loving others. For it to stay buried or to keep the weeds of narcissism from taking over and killing off our love for God and our love for our fellow-man, we need to let Jesus be the keeper of our garden (lives). He will pull out all those ugly weeds of narcissism before they cause any damage.
      Like I said, selfishness is a natural part of our beings. It is not a learned behavior, it is a Developmental Social Milestone. We need the Savior's relentless activity just like the oxygen we breath, 24/7 to keep the love we have for ourselves from growing to the danger levels called Narcissism.

      Like(6)
  7. Learning to Love yourself is good but being in love with yourself is not. I believe the Lord wants us to take care of and Love one another, because God is Love. but if a person doesn't Love or care about thereself then how can they help or truly Love another.John3:16.

    Like(3)
  8. William, great, great article! In Psychology, I was taught that the treating a narcissist was almost impossible because they are only able to see the world through their "me colored glasses" and don't understand that that may cause a problem for anyone else. And as most of our educators have bought into the self-esteem movement which has been turning out narcissists for two or three generations, it's good to be reminded that God doesn't need psychology. He has a cure for each and every one of our "personality disorders" ... even if we don't know the name or the cause...there is a cure -- Jesus.

    Like(8)
  9. Thank you Lillianne and everyone for the prayers and encouragement. Let's pray that we don't fall into that trap Lillianne talks about and that all of us can see ourselves the way God sees us and see others the way God sees them.

    Like(2)
  10. Hi William,

    You wrote, "People who were not properly nurtured and cared for in the early stages of their life are more likely to become narcissists. If only these people realized how much God loves and cares for them!"

    Everyone has missed something in life and you have the cure in the last sentence. When we know that God loves us and cares for us, we don't depend on others for all the things you explained in the list. The problems in the list are real.

    Like(2)
  11. William, it is nice to look at other topics with answers embedded in the bible. When humans were created our maker created us with (let me call it 4 facets of our lives), in the medical term it is known as biopsycosocial dimension of man. I am speaking about: the spiritual, physical, social/emotional and mental aspects of our lives. Narcissistic Personality Disorder affects the mental aspect of humans. I was reading and realized that disorder is only “one drop in the bucket” of all the mental disorders that affect humans. The book DSM 1V Diagnoses and Codes shows us that there are over 400+ psychological/ psychiatric disorders that can affect human. Some people can have one, or more than one of those mentioned. We, as God’s people might also be affected by those diseases/disorders. Some of us suffered from depression or anxiety which is as bad as any other mentioned. Sometimes people have a stigma on certain disease and count out themselves not knowing while the count out themselves, the “fall” under another section.
    What would you say about those who visit the church to speak e.g. at divine hour. When they are introduced, all of their honors; certificate, diplomas etc., etc., are mentioned. Do you think the wanted people to see how important they were? Have more weight to their speaking? Look more intelligent? Or something else, let say suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
    It is only by the mercy of God that we are where we are. We all must have a relationship with God so as to overcome some of those problems. Many problems are present in our love one (in and out of church). Pointing to the text is good but we know it is the relationship with Jesus which is being brought about by; praying and fasting, studying our bibles, attending church, working for the good of others, etc. etc.

    Like(2)
  12. I am dealing with a narcissist face to face. A woman that has destroyed not only the life of my son but the life of all of us. She is deceitful manipulative, disrespectful, just very evil all the time. i accidentally found this site and wonder if you truly believe they can change. The damage that they create to those around them is just scary. very overwhelming!

    Like(0)
  13. A. Lopez, I am very sorry about your situation. I believe they can change, but regardless, you need to get you and your family as far away from them as is possible. Even if God does change them, that does not mean you are obligated to be in the picture when the change takes place.

    Like(3)

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