Are Narcissists Ruining the Church?
- Jennifer Heeren Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2019 1 Jan
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. (Romans 12:3)
On days when I have a lot of things scheduled, I jump out of bed, shower quickly, get dressed, and get on my way. I think about where I’m going when I’m in the car. If I have to stop for an errand, I run in quickly, get what I need, and keep on going. Not only is this a stressful way to spend my day, but I’m also only concentrating on me and my agenda. What if my husband had needed to speak to me in the morning and all that I had time for was a very quick goodbye? What if I cross paths with a polite stranger that needs my help in some way and I don’t even see them? How can I help anyone else if I’m so busy with my tasks and duties?
Simply thinking too much about myself and my plans is enough to ruin the church. I do know that God’s overarching plan cannot be thwarted by my mistakes, but I lose the chance to be a part of that plan when I think too much about myself.
By definition, narcissism is an excessive interest in oneself. A narcissistic personality is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Therefore, they tend to also have a lack of empathy for others simply because their focus is on themselves. Underneath this deep need of admiration that keeps the focus on oneself lies a very fragile self-esteem that makes the person vulnerable to more self-introspection when they are criticized or hurt.
Everyone is vulnerable to this disorder, even if it isn’t an official psychiatric diagnosis. After all, we’re in our own heads 24/7; it is easy to get stuck there at times. The body of Christ is made up of many people and when some of them are fixated on themselves and their plans, certain good works may be left undone. An inward focus can blind me to the needs of others all around me. Therefore, I cannot help them because I’m not really seeing them.
1 Corinthians 12:12-21 compares the parts of the human body with the people that make up the body of Christ. The human body has many parts. All the parts are necessary and need to function together. If the foot worries too much about not having the capabilities of the hand, it may forget about one of its main purposes, which is to steady and support the body. If the ear would rather be the one that sees all the wonderful things in the world, the hearing capabilities of the body will be hindered. All the parts of the body are important and unique, just like all of the people in the body of Christ. Each has a perfectly crafted function.
Your individual function as a member of the body of the Christ will work in conjunction with the overall function of the Church which is to seek the lost and help them to see the Lord. For if they really see the Lord, they won’t be able to stop themselves from loving Him.
Each member of the body of Christ is one puzzle piece which may seem small when you contemplate too much on yourself. But when it connects with the pieces around it, a beautiful picture is formed.
When we think our part in the process is the most important part, we are in trouble. Similarly, when we think our part is the process is the least important part, we are also in trouble. All parts are needed equally.
I always need to check myself to make sure that I am operating for the good of other people and not just myself. Thinking too highly of my own importance can prevent other people from joining in and adding their part. Thinking too lowly of my abilities can stop me from joining in and helping. Both sides of the coin are detrimental to the Church.
When I think too much about myself, I tend to be anxious and anxieties hinder the message of the church. I worry about the effects of what I do. Are my efforts good enough? I worry what others think of me. Am I good enough for them?
Being a member of the body of Christ isn’t about me at all. It’s about my loving and worthy Savior. Simply remembering this fact helps me to quit lingering on myself and my efforts. Instead, I linger on God and what He’s already done for everyone who’s ever lived on the earth. This latter way of thinking brings opportunities, peace, and hope—a much better place to operate from than anxiety and worry.
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. (1 Timothy 1:15)
Yes, narcissists are ruining the Church and I tend to be the biggest one!
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/kadirdemir