The problem of “self-ism” and relationship conflict has been around for thousands of years – the bible refers to it as people who are prideful, boastful, contentious, and lovers of themselves. In this episode, Sharmen and John talk about what does the bible say about narcissism and address some of the questions their clients struggle with, like how they can respond to a spouse’s abuse in a way that honors God and what the bible says.
What Does the Bible Say About Narcissism?
In today’s secular world, it can be challenging to navigate the issue of narcissism and understand its spiritual implications. While I am not a biblical expert, I believe it is important to explore how it fits into a spiritual context. This article aims to offer some thoughts on the topic, considering relevant Bible verses and the impact of narcissistic individuals striving to honor God.
Narcissism, often associated with pride and self-centeredness, has been present throughout history. Proverbs 21:24 and Proverbs 26:21 shed light on the proud, haughty, and insolent behaviors that underlie narcissism. It is crucial to recognize that it stems from the heart and impacts both the mind and how individuals navigate life.
Narcissism as Sin and Foolishness
Narcissism can be viewed as the epitome of sin, as individuals choose to be their own gods, seeking self-worship and control. The book of Proverbs addresses this concept by referring to narcissistic behaviors as foolishness. The fool makes his own rules, scoffs at rebuke, and disregards the harm his actions may cause. By understanding the biblical definition of a fool, we gain insight into narcissistic behavior and its spiritual implications.
Narcissism and Emotional Connection
Narcissism often leads to a lack of emotional connection within relationships. The self-centered nature of narcissism inhibits genuine emotional intimacy, preventing healthy communication and understanding. The biblical command for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church emphasizes sacrificial love and emotional connection. In contrast, narcissism prioritizes self-interest and control, hindering the development of authentic emotional bonds.
Complementarity and Interdependence
Recognizing and appreciating the differences between individuals is vital in overcoming the challenges posed by narcissism. The unique qualities and perspectives of both partners in a relationship should complement each other. The biblical concept of a “helpmate” extends beyond a supportive role and highlights the interdependent nature of relationships. Each partner’s individuality and needs should be acknowledged and respected, fostering a healthy and balanced connection.
Seeking Change and the Journey of Sanctification
When faced with narcissistic behavior within a marriage, the question arises: “What should be done?” It is essential to consider individual safety and well-being. Confronting the narcissistic behavior and seeking change is crucial, but change takes time. The journey of sanctification, both as individuals and as a couple, requires patience, persistence, and grace. While immediate transformation may not occur, the focus should be on moving in the right direction, fostering growth, and prioritizing healthy connection.
Attachment Disorder and Spiritual Battle
Narcissism can be seen as a manifestation of a broken attachment to God and others. Attachment disorders, caused by sin, can lead to emotional and spiritual isolation. Understanding the battle for healthy attachments and genuine connection is essential. Recognizing our need for a restored relationship with God and embracing the journey of surrender and worship allows us to move toward healing and reconciliation.
While the Bible may not explicitly mention narcissism as a psychological disorder, it provides valuable insights into the nature of pride, selfishness, and unhealthy relationships. It is a spiritual issue, affecting the heart, mind, and connection with God and others.
By understanding biblical principles, acknowledging the significance of emotional connection, embracing complementarity, and seeking growth, individuals can navigate narcissism within the context of honoring God. The journey toward healing and healthy relationships requires patience, grace, and the persistent pursuit of God’s truth.
Also read: What Drives an Emotionally Abusive Person
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.