What?

Stop calling people names, Pastor Grant!

Narcissism can be a mental disorder characterized by extreme self-interest. A narcissist walks through life lacking empathy for others. Rarely will the NAR admit fault. The NAR always has a reason for a mistake.

Okay, stop thinking of others. We all have NAR tendencies; the Bible calls it selfishness. Jude describes the NAR:

These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted.  Jude 1:12

Doubly dead or without spiritual conviction or psychological sympathy. Concerned only for themselves.

Many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  Matthew 24:10-12

The love of most will grow cold. An end-times prophecy from Matthew 24. Can NAR be a description of today?

I am writing on NAR because I hear the word used frequently today, often as an insult from one side of an argument or political persuasion to levy against the other side. My observation – there is an unhealthy dollop of NAR on both sides.

A short history lesson:

In Greek mythology, a young man named Narcissus fell in love with his own image as reflected in a pool of water. Wow.  NAR is extreme self-absorption. It manifests terribly when a NAR pursues something. Better get out of the way because a NAR will trample you without mercy.

I believe James was aware of the myth of Narcissus or at least the concept:

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  James 1:23-24

There is a psychological disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder first diagnosed by psychologists in the latter 1800s. Please note that I’m using the phrase “NAR” for narcissism and am not accusing or diagnosing NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

I’m using NAR for two reasons:

  1. I consistently misspelled narcissism, narcissistic, and narcissist to the extent that my spell checker started sending me sarcastic messages. To appease the narcissism in my Word spell checker – I’m using NAR which doesn’t elicit a response.
  2. All of us tend to be NAR. The Bible also calls it sin.

Jesus writes the antidote to NAR:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged. 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? 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.  Matthew 7:1-5