The Bible mentions many narcissists and also their how they got punished. So I’ll mention four such men below:
- Judas Iscariot
1) Gehazi the servant of the prophet Elisha
Elisha had chosen Gehazi as his servant. Many a times Gehazi must have first hand experienced miracles of God by the hands of Elisha. It’s an honourable thing to work with a true prophet of God. I’d say Gehazi initially was not a bad person. If we read 2 Kings 4:8-37 you’ll notice that he was entrusted by Elisha to even help out in the case of the dead son of the Shunnamite woman. Though he tried to revive the child and couldn’t succeed, Elisha never rebuked him. Instead Elisha simply by faith in the Lord revived the woman’s son. Gehazi still had potential in him for a great future.
So where did it go wrong for Gehazi?
It’s when Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian that Gehazi acted wrong. If you read 2 Kings 5:20-27, you’d notice a change in attitude of Gehazi. Through self-exaltation and deception he acted the way a narcissist acts and misused the healed Naamans gratitude towards Elisha for healing him. He pursued Naaman after Elisha said no to any gift and lied in the name of Elisha to Naaman as asked for gifts for prophets. And so he obtained two talents of silver in two bags and also two changes of clothes. Now when confronted by Elisha, he will still more impudent and lied about what he had been doing. So, then Elisha the prophet of God, pronounced upon him a serious punishment and here it goes :
“Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow. (2 Kings 5:26-27)
The very leprosy that Naaman once had now got passed over to Gehazi. A bad way to ruin one’s legacy of being the prophet’s servant!
2) Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian emperor
A pagan emperor who built his empire on violence and bloodshed. He too had an abundantly clear experience of the power and deliverance which comes from the Lord God. You can refer to Daniel Chapter 3 and you’d notice that the emperor first raised up an image of a false god made of gold, then his sly Chaldean citizens accused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (the three holy colleagues of the prophet Daniel) of wrong doing. Nebuchadnezzar in his furious rage assigned them to the fires all bound up to prevent their escape. Yet in the fires a fourth person appeared and prevented them from getting burnt. Even Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged this one as from God in saying “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25). He soon enough made a declaration all through his empire that in favour of the Lord God and the three men who stood up for God. Seemed liked he almost had a conversion.
So where it go wrong for Nebuchadnezzar?
Now even after Daniel helped Nebuchadnezzar in getting to know the meaning of the Second Dream the emperor received (refer to Daniel Chapter 4) there came big time humiliation for him. He was already warned that “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (Daniel 4:27).
Yet after a year of receiving the warning he still spoke pompously about himself on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. And this there was no Daniel speaking, instead it as a voice from heaven which spoke to Nebuchadnezzar “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Daniel 4: 31-32)
So if you see, Nebuchadnezzar was through a dream warned by the Lord God about his pride. Yet despite getting a prophetic confirmation later he rebelled. Then he was punished by the Lord. He did repent and came back to his senses. The following verses confirm this:
Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4: 33-37)
A narcissist at times if he or she is willing to acknowledge his pride and then humble themselves, can actually get out narcissism for good!
3) Judas Iscariot the vile betrayer of Jesus Christ
Judas Iscariot was a narcissist too. In spite of personally bearing witness to the Lord Jesus performing miracles, he didn’t have a clean heart. It may seem remarkable that when most of Jesus’ disciples left the Lord, Judas still continued with Jesus. However, before anyone says that he did it out of faith, I’d like to point that he was stealing from the Lord’s treasury and that’s one thing that kept him going on with Jesus. The following scriptures confirm this:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-7)
When did it go even more wrong with Judas?
Now just because he was not harmed due to stealing, he got even more obsessed with his own base desires. It went to be so evil in his soul that Judas for a few silver coins betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ. This betrayal is the worst ever betrayal till date and for the record he betrayed Jesus unto death. He did experienced grief but never really repented. As a result he committed suicide by hanging himself and later his body burst forth too (refer Matthew 27: 1-10 and also Acts 1:15-20) .
For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:21)
Even Jesus said that it was better for Judas Iscariot to have not to be born at all. The following scriptures confirm this:
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:20-25)
A horrible way for once a person who was called an Apostle of Jesus to down to the grave and to hell!
4) Herod the impious king
Herod was a king who was way too full of himself. The only thing he was truly great was in actually was in wickedness. He persecuted the Church and even got the Apostle James killed!
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12:1-3)
Herod was a manipulative narcissist who would go to any extent to please the crowd so as to get in favour with them. So he got Peter arrested and kept him in prison because Peter proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, the Church didn’t lose hope. The people of the Church prayed very earnestly unto the Lord God. And the Lord sent his angel to rescue Peter. Despite being guarded by two soldiers who even kept watch as the Apostle slept the rescue was still successful. God’s angel got rid of Peter’s chain and led him to a safe place (Refer Acts 12:5-19). Yet this didn’t humble Herod but rather drove him into rage due to which he got the prison sentries killed. He had no regard for the Lord at all.
What finally nailed Herod in the end?
His most evil deed was yet to come. He began manipulating the people of Tyre and Sidon by his anger. And they depended on his country for their food they had assembled to meet him and ask for peace. Instead like a vile narcissist he gave such a speech that he got them to shout out that he is a god. This provoked the Lord God with burning rage that the angel of the Lord struck him and as a result Herod died of worms
Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied. (Acts 12:20-24)
Herod was never a good man from the beginning nor was he a good man at his end. He tried to please others only for his selfish agendas. Not giving God the glory cost him his very life!
I shall soon write about the first narcissist ever to exist (hint: the Fallen one). However for now, from the above four examples we can learn that:
- It’s possible for a narcissist to repent.
- Not every narcissist might repent.
- The actions of narcissists can be harmful and even ungodly.
- Narcissistic people may even lie in the face of facts.
- Narcissist’s can hide their true inner motives by covering them up with good motives publicly.
- God can bring down the most proud narcissist to his or her rightful end.
- It’s possible for narcissist’s to experience miracles of God but remain unchanged.
- God can at times warn narcissists too either directly or through others.
- As in the example of Peter there is no need to deliberately get back to a narcissist who intends you harm.
- The Church though prayer and faith in the Lord God can actually defeat the plans of narcissist’s especially those one’s who persecute the Church and try to hinder the preach of the Gospel.
I’ve noticed a lot of rants and opinions online saying that Christianity is not a religion rather its a relation with Jesus Christ. Now I agree that Christianity is about being in a relation with Jesus. No doubt on that but I maintain that Christianity is a religion.
People must not jump on this bandwagon of ‘Christianity is not a religion’ because it simply confuses people of other religions and also Christians too. Also in certain countries you must mention your religion for official purposes. Like on your birth or marriage certificate you need to mention your religion. So if you tell them Christianity is what you follow but it’s not a religion, then they will give you strange looks and say you have gone insane.
Also this ‘Christianity is not a religion’ statement must be subject to the test of the scriptures.
1 John 4:1-3 Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, and every spirit that doesn’t confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is now already in the world.
And it’s not just the above verses, it must be consistent with the entire Bible. I’ve noticed that the ‘Christianity is not a religion’ stuff is mainly directed at legalistic individuals but the tone that is used is often very rude. It’s good to be against legalism and ritualistic attitudes in the Christian faith. However in the fight against bad traditions we must not lose out on our heritage. By this I mean we must never contradict the Bible while going against legalism.
Someone may ask where does the Bible say that Christianity is a religion. There are verses that do. Here we go:
James 1:26-27 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
The above verses are definitely not about Judaism which emphasizes on animal sacrifice. Neither are they about any other religion except the Christian faith. Here the religion of Christianity is not defined by the usual things that are associated with traditions but rather how people have self control and love God our Father and watch out for those in need. It even includes living a holy life. That’s the Christian religion!