Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved! (St. Augustine of Hippo)
The way of acting with others
Anti Narcissist series – Part one (Narcissism defined)
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
To avoid a narcissist in your life, you must first know what a narcissist is and take your actions. That’s the difference between a prudent one and those are simpletons or gullible people.
At times, I encounter to people who face issues on being in love with a narcissist. Their sufferings are odd but what’s more odd is that these people can’t seem to keep away from their narcissist fiancé whom they intend to marry. They allow themselves to be the proverbial doormat to their oppressive fiancé. Some of these despite my warnings to cease and desist from continuing with such vile ‘sweethearts’ went on with the relationship, lost a lot of their emotional and physical health. And then they came back to me saying that the fiancé now is not interested in marrying them and how to win back their fiancé. I’d then say to them, good riddance for you, now please go and thank God for this, but the people whose hearts were broken by their narcissist ‘loved’ one were still in disbelief that the break up happened. I late understood this weird attachment as a soul tie.
Narcissism is not limited to only a couple who intend to marry. It could be a vile boss, a despotic dictator, traitors, serial stalkers etc. They don’t just seem to care about whom they have to hurt, just so that it inflates their self image to the clouds.
For those who wonder as to what a Narcissist is, here are two most appropriate definitions:
1. Excessive preoccupation with or admiration of oneself.
2. A personality disorder characterized by self-preoccupation, need for admiration, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem. (source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/narcissist)
Now for those who still don’t get my point, maybe due to fact they could be with only genuinely nice people, let me make it real to you; bad people do exist. About a few years ago, I encountered once such Narcissist. We due to some reason had to be in the same vehicle. And she kept yelling at her fiancé over the phone. Now all of a sudden she was speaking kindly to him. Initially I was not one bit interested in what she was saying, I was more bothered as to why she became polite without dropping a hint. She then told her fiance that, for two minutes they are to be off the phone and he must not call her and only after the actual time is over to call her back. This is the bit that provoked my interest. She held her mobile phone in her hand and also kept looking at her watch to see if two minutes passed by.
Her boyfriend or fiancé I suppose, called her a few seconds before the stipulated two minutes were done with. Immediately, this vile woman unloaded the worst possible insults to her boyfriend and kept asking him to apologize for calling before the two minutes were over. Even after the boyfriend once said sorry to her, she kept demanding that he keep saying sorry over and over again. Finally, she said the only sorry that she will accept is if she given a ‘treat’ of shopping for her whatever she wishes, provided the boyfriend pays the bills.
I was shocked at such behaviour. A gentleman in the same vehicle, once the girl got off, remarked as to once the girl and her fiancé get married it’s going to be an emotional riot in their marriage. I later pondered on the situation and realized that the girl was indeed a narcissist. Suppose if her boyfriend could think of how his actual future would be with her, he could either tactfully correct her or just leave her. Both ways it would set up a non oppressive future for him with her.
I believe that since the Bible warns of narcissism it didn’t do so only for the sake of our reading. It’s something we must pay attention to and also act on.
Does the Bible speak of narcissism?
– Yes it does and elaborates on narcissism very clearly. Here’s what it says:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
Name a few in the Bible are known to be narcissists?
– I’ll mention four such men. Here we go:
- Judas Iscariot
God himself got these four punished in various forms and as per the degree of their sin. At times he did it through his servants on earth, at times by the angels, at times by the narcissists own actions and at times even one on one. (I’ll cover these four in detail in next post of these series) If the Lord knows how to recognize narcissists, shouldn’t we keep guard against such types? Yes, and like I mentioned we need to know what as narcissist is and then take decisive action.
Just because someone looks neat and beautiful doesn’t mean that you should say he or she is a nice person. Understand what their words and actions mean, and you’d know the kind of person they truly are.
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24)
Christ be with you!
An experience this year that I faced
I recently shared a prayer called ‘Uproot in me every evil seed‘ and then a prayer called ‘Plant in me O Lord’. Now there’s a good reason for it. This year has been quite a dramatic year for me on various fronts. Especially on the spiritual front. So I felt like I better share this one up before the year ends. It’s possible that by knowing this, you too might ask God for the right things in life and elimination of evil from your life.
Just before this year could begin and even right up to April 2015, I’d be encouraged to pray that every evil seed is uprooted from my life. I received such suggestions from various people. Originally, the context of such a praying attitude was to ensure one doesn’t get sick or unwell. However, the field of view expanded. With faith in the Lord Jesus, I kept praying every time there was a call to remove all obstacles that come in the will of God in my life.
Then things started unfolding themselves in my life by the grace of God. I found that evil seeds can also be people, not mere illnesses alone. Suddenly I started noticing some the people who profess the Christian faith and who were good friends and allies of mine at that time for many years, were not all that much into the faith. I mean their view of the Gospel didn’t go by with the true Gospel at all. Let me make it real to you, for starters some believed that once forgiven they do not need to ever repent if they happen sin again. (I’ve already covered this in a much earlier post called as The heresy of pre forgiven sin). And this was surprising to me that they conveniently kept this hidden for a long time from me though they were much aware that I do believe in repentance every time a person sins, not just one time only.
There were another bunch of folks who were of the opinion that God will automatically grant his ‘stamp’ of approval on everything they do, even if meant using deceitful means. For them it was not a case of doing God’s will in their life. It was the opposite, which is their own thoughts and opinions are ‘deemed’ as God’s will for them on the assumption that everything they do is by default approved by the Lord without checking with the Bible. They seemed to conveniently ignore the following verses of the Bible:
- There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 16:25)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Then there was the legalistic brigade which believes that one must fast for almost everything and at every season. Legalism works as a counferfeit of discipline and I surely have had a tough time dealing with such people until I realized that the best way to tackle them is by the Holy Scriptures. And they were the most hostile to deal with but eventually they couldn’t prevail against the principles of the Bible.
I mentioned only three types of deviations in short without going too much in to the specifics, but there are more such deviations from the Gospel I noticed among others this year (again!), which I intend to expose in the future, but these should suffice for now.
A common trend that I noticed among such people is that they were cherry picking Bible verses as per their liking instead of taking the whole of the Bible in context. Besides this they were obsessed with their denominational tags and doctrines far much more than normal. And this led them to label anyone (not just me) as one who is ignorant and in need of their ‘guidance’. Well it didn’t work on me especially when I realized they had an aversion to the teachings of the Epistle of James and also of the Letter to the Hebrews in the Bible. One even said they hate such and such Bible verse and I’d be shocked by such replies. They again ignore the fact that ‘Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)’. So I also didn’t ignore that they were repeatedly trying to spoil my name in the preaching of the word obviously behind my back since they knew they stand no chance in a debate with me, though I at many times asked for face to face discussion about their points of view. So, I immediately went on guard against them and now they are totally out of my life, for good.
The effect was a lot of peace and joy, which was almost instant. I didn’t realize that they were such a negative influence of me until they actually got removed from my life. I could pray really well again! It came to my mind, that not a single part of me being happy depends on them but it’s only up to the Lord alone. Oddly, I didn’t even have to try too hard. The Lord just made it turn out in such a way that they by their own actions are now in a different direction from me. My only judgement on them was that I won’t be wasting my time on those who hinder my walk with the Lord God. As simple as that!
To those curious about the judgement part I’d suggest that you read a few earlier posts of mine titled Do not judge or do no repent? & Some people seem to read only the words ‘Judge not’ in the Bible. Under those circumstances it had become less of judgement and more of respect to the Lord. One couldn’t remain with such people without them in return attempting to undermine the rightful knowledge of the Gospel.
My own observation was that whatever that I’d ask them to pray for me wouldn’t happen but in fact the reverse would happen. I mean challenges in life would seem to overpower me. But then when they got out of my life, I kept a very basic level of prayer and saw good results. I’d just would read the Bible and then ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand it correctly and then pray as plainly as possible. So the part of the part removing every evil seed prayer, came out well for the glory of God. This was in a way trying to keep only Christ as mediator between myself and God.
There’s the part of planting in one’s life not by one’s own standards but by the will of God. This part is not yet complete but let me say this year as I prayed for the best alliances and friendships in life, the Lord God has indeed given me these things really well. And I know that more is due in the future. It’s just that I was initially more focused on removal of evil. But I know for sure that now in the future, it also needs to be about acceptance of the good things of God by asking in faith.
I do hope that now you know the context of the two prayers about removing evil seeds and planting right seeds and are so are able to pray much better. This doesn’t actually stop at praying effectively alone. It’s more about the will of God going right in your life in terms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God be with you, always!
The need for full Christian counseling
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)
There are times when a person needs counseling in life due to various problems, trials, decisions etc which come up in the course of life. It does help to be independent in the sense of having a rightful opinion of oneself and living a disciplined life. However, it’s even wiser to get wisdom and counsel from a person who truly walks the talk. I mean the walk with Christ. If one can expect a counselor to be so pristine in action and words then what if you were to be in a situation where you have to counsel someone? You too then need to be good enough.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)
Now in your life you won’t always be the one in need of counsel from others in the Christian faith. There may come an occasion in which you need to counsel others. Perhaps they might be children or someone facing trouble in life and you are the only person available at that point of time to help them. What would you do then? It would be unwise to shun people who willingly ask you for advice. Obviously its your responsibility to live a holy and prayerful life and give wise counsel in good faith to those in need of wisdom. The thing is you must be able to give full Christian counseling. In other words, please don’t give incomplete guidance to anyone. It won’t help them as much.
So let’s think of an example of full Christian counselling. Let me present to you the issue first. A typical issue is about disharmony between teenagers and their parents. So we have a teenager, let’s call him Adam and the rest of various counselors he meets, we shall name them as we go along. Here he visits various people one by one for counsel in the church premises during a seminar at church. (Though on a cautious note, I would always recommend anyone who needs counsel, to know if the people who are going to counsel you are really worthy and safe enough to give you counsel. You need genuine Christian counseling not foolish worldly counseling)
Adam: “My parents tend to get very angry all of a sudden with me. The arguments then go very long. I don’t say a word back but they keep yelling and asking me to get better in life. But they don’t say where to change. Please help, tell me what to do”
Now come a bunch of typical responses to Adam’s predicament:
- Harry: “Forgive them.”
- Tessa: “Everyone has to face challenges in life.”
- Jacob: “You must learn to be patient.”
- Gwen: “Pray about it.”
Each of these four responses are good but they still not complete. I will get to a more complete answer in a bit. But so that things get more clear, I shall mention two more responses before that.
Then we have a response, which is not actual counsel. At times you got to be honest that you don’t know the answer instead of wasting time. Here’s what would be the response:
John: “I don’t know to say but I want you and your family to be happy. Please, can you go to preacher (insert any name) at Camden? He should be able to help.”
Then we also have another response which does raises more questions rather than be a good answer. Here we go:
Gemma: “O dear, my child that’s really bad. I’d suggest that you study hard, get a job and move out of your home. Be independent, that should take care of it all”
Such an answer put’s undue pressure on Adam to get working and excludes any possibility that Adam’s parents are at fault. It would make him look solely responsible to set things right. This answer doesn’t talk about depending on God and neither about being in good standing with one’s parents. Besides, it does not address any depression that Adam could be facing.
Now here’s a more complete answer to Adam’s problem:
Barnaby: “Indeed Adam this is a tough situation you are facing. It could be that your parents have noticed something wrong but are not able to express themselves clearly and have obviously gone too rough with that. What I suggest that you be calm no matter what happens. Forgive them their faults and don’t get discouraged. Many others do face similar challenges but not everyone has a happy ending. You have a choice to be victorious in all this. With God at your side you aren’t alone. He understands your feelings so cast all your worries upon him as he cares for you. Read the Bible especially the Psalms and Proverbs to know the principles of progress and peace in life. This will give you guidance when you desire to do what is right to be a success in life. Knowing what is right will then be useful in keeping away from all silliness of life. I shall later pray for you but I ask this one of you; that you daily pray that your parents are at peace with you. Pray also that every evil power be it visible or invisible, I mean everything from the devil is removed out from the relationship between you and your parents. Remember this is more than being an achiever, this is about relationships. So conduct yourself with due honour to parents and also to God. Be of good courage Adam as the Lord God cares for you.”
The response by Barnaby is one which full in wisdom and counsel. No bits and pieces here but rather he tried to cover everything the best he could. He didn’t go by impulses when speaking to Adam. He was realistic about the problems and about the parents. Such a response would help Adam to have better chances of being at peace with his parents.
By this example you’d notice that it does take some level of maturity and understanding to counsel others. Showing empathy is vital to show your solidarity with the afflicted person you are counselling. Having a sound knowledge of the principles of the Bible will help you to this effect. Above all, pray to Christ our Lord that he strengthen you by the Holy Spirit so that you can give hope that is consistent with the Bible to anyone that comes your way.
Christ be with you!