What Does The Bible Say About Narcissists?
When we are talking about narcissism, the conversation inevitably turns to spirituality. Many people believe narcissists are possessed by demons or negative energy. The one you hear most often is the so-called Jezebel demon or Jezebel spirit, which I may go into in more detail on a later podcast. Today I want to talk about what the bible says about narcissists. Though we may think of narcissism as a more "modern" type of disorder, the bible actually has a few passages that could be interpreted as having to do with narcissists or narcissism. The most blatant of these is 2 Timothy 3:1-7. This is the 2nd letter from Paul, one of the apostles, to Timothy, a fellow missionary. He is reminding Timothy that many terrible things have happened and will happen, but to stay strong in his faith. Paul warns Timothy that a terrible time is coming, and the people who will prosper in that time will be monstrous indeed, and warns Timothy to stay away from them:
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
This is all pretty self-explanatory and obvious, but it is uncanny that even thousands of years ago, we were being warned about these people. Even for those who are not spiritual or religious, it's difficult to deny that these verses are referring to narcissistic personalities running amok in society. "Lovers of themselves." "Proud." "Without love." "Without self-control." "Slanderous." "Ungrateful." Even that long ago, people were warning each other about the abuse and trauma inflicted by narcissists.
In the spiritual sense, these verses tell us that narcissists are separated from God. Everything they represent or demonstrate is against what the bible tells us God wants. Some interpretations of the phrase "having a form of godliness but denying it's power" suggest that narcissists are in fact influenced by demons but do not recognize it. It should be noted that in this verse, the word "godliness" appears with a lower-case g, therefore it does not reference God Himself. Many people who deal with narcissists will nod their heads at that. Many, many people believe that narcissists are evil. We sometimes hear people say that they could see the demon in their loved ones' eyes, and it's usually the same description: not always scary, not always angry but often amused - as if it were having the time of it's life causing all of this trauma and disaster in people's lives.
Some will want to know, "What do we do now?" and the answer is, there is nothing you can do. If someone really does have an evil or negative influence in their life - whether spiritual or otherwise - they have to confront it themselves. We've all seen The Exorcist and Emily Rose but the truth is that most cases of negative influence - even those that aren't spiritual - it's happening because somehow the person has invited it into their lives, usually unknowingly. Whether we call it karmic debt or possession or negative influence or anything else, it is still the same outcome, and therefore it requires the same solution as just about everything else: the person with the problem has to recognize it and do something about it. There is nothing anyone else can do except recognize this and protect themselves from it.