Originally posted at: http://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/narcissism-lying-and-evil/
In his book “People of the Lie” Christian Psychiatrist Scott Peck makes this statement:
- Lying is both a cause and manifestation of evil.
For Christians, the epitome of evil is the spiritual being known as Satan. Jesus made this definitive statement about him:
Jn 8:44(b) – He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ESV
I would say that Scott Peck’s statement is consistent with the words of Jesus, and I realized that when I read the book. The statement stimulated my thinking about people being evil or at least having evil parts or tendencies or thoughts or behaviors, and how we see them manifested in our culture.
Peck, as a Psychiatrist sees the world with a scientific perspective and in the book he explains how the evil inner part of people shows up in their actions, in their relationships and in their personalities. In fact he goes as far as saying that evil comes out of narcissism. Again this seems to be supported by scripture; here is the description of Satan supplied by God, together with the reason why he was thrown out of God’s presence and favor. Does this sound like the ultimate narcissist?
Eze 28:12(b) – 17(a) – You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
When I consider or meditate on these things I’m left at the place where I ask myself some questions like this:
- Does Satan really need to talk to us to tempt us into doing evil?
- Is his self-appointed role one of developing narcissists?
- Does evil come from a narcissistic personality or a lying character or both?
I have long believed that Satan doesn’t have to do anything for us ordinary folk to commit evil acts; we all have the propensity inside us to do evil. And I have also long believed that lying is an act of evil. I only have to look at my past life to demonstrate that!
I have learned that so many of the best liars are narcissists, as I was in my past. In the ministry I operate I see it consistently in the form of a broad spectrum. Some narcissists are so far gone that it is almost impossible to work with them. When they’re confronted with the truth that the world does not revolve around them and they have a destructive effect on people around them, they reject the message and leave. Mostly though, I see narcissists who struggle with the issue of evil, although it is disguised as compulsive behaviors, bad choices or addictions.
So then, when we come across a person who persistently lies, according to Peck, we ought to assume that a big part of their character is evil, and a major feature of their personality is narcissistic. Out of my personal experience I find this to be a reasonable generalization, not always accurate, but a good place to start work from.
Why do people lie? Why does Jesus call Satan the “Father of lies?” Why does Satan continue to lie (deceive the nations – Rev 20:8), and why will he continue to lie until he is vanquished? According to Jesus, and Peck agrees, it comes out of an individual’s personhood, or their personality. The personality trait or type pictured in scripture and in Peck’s book is narcissistic.
Narcissism is one of two forms of self-love pictured in scripture, and interestingly in secular psychology.
Narcissism is an unhealthy self-love. It is characterized by grandiose thinking, pride and the maximization of self with the minimization of others. It values its own opinions and dismisses all others. It elevates personal importance as a supreme truth, and reduces all others as of no consequence. It believes it is always right. Consequently narcissists are blind to truth.
It is this blindness that is the source of lies in a narcissist. This is why Satan can never speak truth; he is a 100% narcissist. This is also why an addict lies constantly; he or she has the major personality flaw of narcissism in their personhood. Even when confronted with undeniable truth, an addict will still deny it. To deny truth is to deny self for a narcissist.
Some people believe that an addict’s biggest struggle is with their drug of choice. This is not so, their biggest struggle will always be to overcome their own narcissistic personality. Without overcoming this, the addict is always going to be an addict, and always be vulnerable to a relapse. The addicts who don’t have a serious narcissistic side will be much more able to get through their recovery than those who have a deeper flaw. Knowing this helps to explain why some addicts respond to treatment or recovery better than others.
The person who chooses biblical self-love in obedience to Jesus’ simple command is way less likely to succumb to the pressure of temptation to act out with compulsive and addictive behaviors. This is where the command is located:
Mk 12:30-31(a) – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ESV
Love God, love yourself and love your neighbor. Using God’s definition of love:
1 Cor 13:4-7 – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
As we can see the love described by God is very different from the self-love of the world, which is narcissism. Real self-love elevates God onto the throne of a person’s heart; narcissism elevates self onto that throne. Therefore to overcome narcissism a person has to abdicate their internal throne; a decidedly difficult choice and task
What are the “take-aways” from this discussion of narcissism, lying and evil?
- Narcissism causes a self-blindness which may be the central cause of lying.
- Narcissism and lying may be the source of evil thoughts and actions.
- Narcissism is hard to overcome.
- Compulsive or addictive behaviors are likely to be sourced in narcissism.
For those of us in recovery, narcissism ought to be a serious part of our discussion with our counselors or mentors. Confession of narcissism and much prayer may be necessary to get to healing:
Jas 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. ESV
Yes, narcissism is a sin, it does need to be recognized in front of God and others, and it does need to be prayed over.
While we may know we lie, and will confess it, how many of us can admit we have evil inside us and have narcissistic tendencies?
Lying, evil and narcissism are tough things to deal with. But it is so worth it to get them exposed in our lives and let God be put squarely on the throne of our hearts.