Narcissism: The Dangerous Prelude to Self-destruction

Narcissism is the term used in psychology to describe a preoccupation with self. It is a Greek term taken from the name of the mythological Narcissus, who fell in love with his image and was doomed to die because he would not turn away from it. Narcissism is excessive selfishness and obsession with one’s self.

It is a personality trait many live with and only becomes evident occasionally. Even from its origin, it already shows that the consequence of narcissism is self-destruction.

The biblical characterization of narcissism

1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

The word narcissism was first used in 1898, but the concept was already written in the scriptures. The Bible uses the phrase “Lovers of their own selves.” which means a fixation on self. It reveals that the priority of narcissism is self, not others.

Narcissists may show gestures that seem to help others, but their motive is self-centered. For instance, helping people with hidden cameras for social media content in the guise of social experiments is selfish and condescending.

The Bible also uses the word “Boaster,” a person who brags or vaunts one’s self, to make a striking display, in speech, of one’s worth, property, or actions. In other words, this is a person who promotes his wealth, abilities, intelligence, and accomplishments to have a feeling of superiority against others.

The biblical cases of narcissism

Diotrephes’ desire for preeminence.

9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

3 John 1:9-10

Diotrephes took over the church because of his desire for preeminence. He desired and wanted to be superior to the other church members. Because of his narcissism, he slandered John the Beloved and punished those he thought to threaten his preeminence.

Saul’s insecurity towards David.

7And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8And 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?

1 Samuel 18:7-8

Saul was angry at David because the people praised his victory of David over Goliath. Saul should have fought Goliath in the first place but was too scared. When the people celebrated the success of David, he became insecure and forgot that the victory was not only for David but for Israel. He was afraid that David would take the kingdom.

Sauls’ refusal to take responsibility for his actions.

9And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? 11And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

1 Samuel 13:9-11

Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he blamed his army for being scared, Samuel for being late, and the enemy for their upcoming attack. Narcissism blames everyone but yourself.

David’s manipulation and insensitivity towards others.

5And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. 7And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

2 Samuel 12:5-7

David was angry when Nathan told him about the story of the ewe lamb. However, he couldn’t even see himself as the one who manipulated Uriah to be killed and took Bathsheba as his wife while she was mourning the murder of Uriah.

The biblical cure to narcissism

Realize that we are created to prioritize God.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Mark 12:30

Instead of prioritizing self, which is the tendency of narcissism, we ought to prioritize loving God. Loving self is a worldly principle that does not agree with the Bible. You don’t have to love yourself before you love others. Love God, and then you love others.

Realize that we are created to please God.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 4:11

Narcissism wants to please oneself since it is its priority. However, worldly pleasure will never satisfy man because man is designed to please God, not oneself.

Many wealthy and accomplished people are depressed and lonely despite their possessions and fam. They spend their lives accumulating wealth but end up feeling empty. The greatest disappointment is not failing to reach your goals but reaching them only to discover that it was never worth it.

Realize that we are created to praise God.

23Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

Self-promotion is the perspective of people nowadays. Social media is the tool that promotes this kind of thinking. To be clear, Not everyone who promotes themselves on social media is a narcissist, but it is a tool that caters to narcissism and attracts narcissists. But we should not promote ourselves, as the world suggests. We must promote God in every aspect of our life, including social media.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of selflessness. On the cross, He thought of others first instead of Himself. Christ died forgiving others, caring for others, and saving others.

Selflessness is one of the characteristics of Christianity, not narcissism.

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