Sunday, October 14, 2007

Armor Up

I have to ask for the indulgence of the readers of my blog who are not Christian. I need to have a word with the Christians for a moment. Hopefully you'll read anyway because there are some principles here that apply no matter who you are.

It used to be that some of the bravest and mightiest warriors have been men of faith. I am fairly sure that the first mention in the Bible of a mighty warrior with his own army is in Genesis (chapter 14). That man was Abraham. Abraham...the father of God's people, Israel. The father of Ishmael (progenitor of the Muslims). The spiritual father of the Christians (Gal. 3:8-9). His warfare was fought for freedom. There are other mighty warriors in Scripture. Joshua. Caleb. David. These men are portrayed as having been righteous men. David is described as a "man after God's own heart". These men didn't go to war for mercenary reasons. They fought for freedom and they fought against the forces of evil kings. Kings in those days were barbaric to their own people let alone to people they subjugated. Even the cruelest and most evil of Israel's kings were described as being better than the gentile kings.

Less well known are the Gospel flame carriers who were the precursor to the great Protestant leaders that eventually followed. The Huguenots and the Waldenses. They had some very brave and valiant fighting men too. Again, they were not mercenary. They fought for religious freedom against cruel and evil tyranny.

So, my question is: where have all the warriors gone? Why are Christians such wimps?? Why do we so easily succumb to the idea that we are being "mean" if we confront evil? Why do we capitulate our convictions to the "cult of nice"?

For you Christian readers I'd like to help you buy a vowel. Do you know what your Bible teaches you about where war first broke out? Where war originated? In the most unlikely place. Heaven.

Yeah. Please. Chew on that for a moment.

When evil broke out in the place where God lives, He suited up and fought. God is not a pacifist. He is a warrior. When He presented Himself before Joshua, the mighty warrior/leader of Israel, He was dressed as mighty warrior with drawn sword. (Joshua 5:13-15) How do we know it was God and not an angel? Because He accepted Joshua's worship and told Joshua he was standing on holy ground. No angel in Scripture speaks this way. Angels always refuse the worship of humans sometimes describing themselves as "fellow servants". Joshua thought it was God standing before him and he was not corrected. His thought was confirmed by the Holy Visitor-in-Arms. Put yourself in that moment with Joshua. God presenting Himself to a soldier as the "Captain of the Lord of Hosts". Our God, a noble and holy Warrior giving courage to His soldier Joshua. What a sight. Obviously, in God's eyes warfare can be necessary and righteous.

Back to the war in heaven. Revelation gives us an important snapshot of history. Chapter 12:7-9.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
The reference to Satan (the name means "adversary" or "accuser") as "that ancient serpent" is what shows that this war in heaven happened before Adam and Eve were deceived. The Accuser had been cast out prior to the creation of this earth. He was the one who approached Eve in disguise as a serpent in her Eden home.

Okay, I'm not here to put a fine point on the theological discussions inherent in the above. I'll just hone in on the issue pertinent to the main point I'm trying to highlight. Whether or not you think this is a description of a symbolic war or a literal war I care not. If it was a war of arms or it if was a war of words the simple point is: God is not a pacifist. He confronts evil wherever it rears its ugly head. In this case, it first made an appearance in His own house. There is no Scripture reference which pinpoints an earlier date for the first appearance of warfare. War began in Heaven. Paradise. God did not spend an eternity issuing sternly worded memos. He didn't turn His head and hope it would get better. He didn't act like it was "beneath" Him to fight. God and His forces armed themselves, be it with swords or words (or both), and demonstrated they were stronger and were able to cast out evil from Heaven. I think that the war in heaven was primarily a war of principles. War of truth versus error. This chapter in Revelation encapsulates an large piece of history. The Accuser took war to the Almighty. The Almighty won that war and cast out the rebel. Unfortunately, our father Adam took the bait of the deceiver and here we are. Locked in a battle between good and evil to the present day.

Revelation 12 proceeds to illustrate that the Accuser has taken his battle from heaven to the "woman"...a symbol for God's people. (If we allow the Bible to interpret itself, we can learn this from Jeremiah 6:2 and 2 Cor. 11:2 as well as many other places where the Bible describes God's people as a woman. An impure woman symbolizes an impure church. Rev. 17 for example.) The Accuser, the devil, is a busy guy stirring up trouble everywhere. But, apparently, he saves his concentrated efforts and rage for those who are loyal to the service of God.

The Scriptures, both old and new testaments, frequently describe God's Word as a sword. Word pictures of deity, in the prophetic books especially, are sometimes portrayed as having a sword coming out of His mouth...i.e. His Word. Heb. 4:12 describes God's Word this way:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The fact that God and His loyal angel hosts were able to prevail against the Accuser and his hosts is because God's Word is powerful enough to defeat His enemies. Truth is more powerful than lies. Truth wins in the end. Which is what the book of Revelation is all about. Whether or a battle of arms was involved is less important than the reality that there was a clash of realities. A warfare of principles. This is the kind of war we're engaged in with malignant narcissists.

Christ used the language of warfare in this provocative statement:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Matt. 10:34-36
Um, Christians? Why do you so often act like you think you're exempt from this? Why are you surprised when the war crops up in your own homes? The warfare is spiritual. Which is the context in which we frame the concepts of good and evil. Why are you not willing to fight when evil lives in your family? Why is it suddenly un Christian to oppose evil when it is found in a family member? Christ went on to say that if you love "father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me..." You can not stand before the judgment of God and try to excuse your passivity based on your love for family. Christ has made it clear that no such excuse will stand. He's already pronounced judgment on this rationale as proving you "are not worthy" to take on His name. This is very strong and unequivocal language. I don't see a lot of wiggle room. God took war to the evil doers in His family and He expects the same from you.

Strong words and strong principles are necessary to make a stand. "...having done all, to stand." (Eph. 6:10-17). It is not a war that we picked. Evil has launched the first grenades in our families. Repeatedly. How many family members have to be blown to pieces before it is okay with you to confront evil in your family? Your God is no wimp. Your God does not excuse or pacify evil. Neither should you.

God's face looks different to people depending on which side of truth you're standing on. Isaiah describes the reaction God's people when He returns:
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Is. 25:9
The ones referred to as the "wicked" have a very different reaction to the same event:
And [they] said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Rev. 6:16,17
Same face, different reaction. Same event, different reception. The same will be true in your house. If you take a principled stand against evil, evil will fear (and smear) you. You will also find there are those around you who will feel safe with you because of your stand against evil. Expect both reactions. Do not expect evil to love you. Don't expect those who are deceived by evil to love you, though there is hope they will someday. Like it or not, you're already in the war. Quit waving a white flag every time the malignant narcissist shoots one across the bow. Quit dressing up your refusal to fight the "good fight" by calling it "being nice" or "being forgiving" or "being a Christian". Blech. Evil can be temporarily placated but only at the cost to your integrity and to truth. Evil can never be truly pacified. So take up the arms of truth and take the battle to them.

Remember this when the accusing narcissist (a child of the Accuser himself) slings their arrows your way:
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Rom. 8:31-34

The "accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10) is revealed by Scripture to be "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world". That old Accuser is the original Malignant Narcissist. He tries to convince you that the Accuser is God Himself. His smear and fear campaign against God has been an attempt to separate you from your God and Saviour. The Accuser has worked to slime God with his own attributes (with great success). The passage above uses the proof of the cross to reassure the Christian that of all the beings in the universe, God is the last one to accuse you. He is the One who justifies us i.e. clears our name. It says above that Christ is "interceding for us". Do you automatically assume that Christ is interceding between God and you? Then you have not read with comprehension. God the Father is described as the One who "did not spare His own Son" in order to save you. Obviously, Christ doesn't need to intercede with God the Father. God the Father is already on your side. Who is the accuser of the brethren?? Yeah, you know the answer. Satan. That nasty creep trips you up and then runs off to present his case against you before God. Christ is interceding between you and the smears and accusation of the devil who is trying to prove his case against you. To the question Paul asks, "if God is for us, who can be against us?" he makes the answer clear. Nobody. The battle of truth has already been won...all that remains is to see which army you're signing up under.

You can not take a stand against evil and not end up being the recipient of accusations and smears. It is the M.O. of the devil...the father of all liars. (John 8:44) His minions follow his lead. Armor up and act like your God. Fight for the truth if you want to feel worthy to ever stand in the presence of Abraham and all the other great warriors for God.

10 comments:

Jordie said...

Wow, I was discussing this very subject with my husband last night. We were talking about how David fought against Goliath. He was the only one who was outraged enough to stand against an enemy who was making the army of Israel look like a bunch of wimps, sitting there with their mouths agape at this ugly monster. David, completely off his own bat, goes in to fight, incensed that Goliath should be able to cause these hardened fighting men to be paralysed with fear.

I'm with you Anna, we fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.

Naive No Longer said...

So many valuable points in this that I had to take note of because they are timely for me:

We are in a "clash of realities" a "warfare of principles". And . . . "Evil can be temporarily placated, but only at the cost of your integrity and truth. Evil can never be truly pacified".

The above most eloquently states what I am FINALLY realizing. Evil can NOT be overcome by entering in and playing on its playing field, playing by its rules, on its terms.
Going in and selling your soul over and over to get temporary repreive that never lasts. Hoping that it will change. Darkness will NEVER change into light. Sure, light ALWAYS overcomes darkness. But the narcissist has to be willing to allow the light to penetrate their darkness. So when you have abundant evidence that this is NOT going to happen, you have only one conclusion to draw. You are in a war. Light vs darkness. Good vs evil. Reality vs delusions. Truth vs lies. Call it what you will but all of these things hide themselves in darkness and maintain their strength in these hidden places. When we draw our sword and begin to speak the truth, begin to bring the hidden things out into the light of day, to expose lies and inconsistencies, to burst through delusions with reality - the darkness has a fit. Hence, as Anna states: "You cannot take a stand against evil & not end up being the recipient of accusations & smears". . . Evil's way of trying to disarm you. Of trying to make you stop. I was continually flabbergasted because it was my own mother, my own flesh and blood that was selling me out when I decided to speak up. The above quoted statement by Anna has now put this in perspective for me.

Let me ask this: If THEY are not worried about sacrificing us, their own flesh and blood, to smears & accusations, why are WE so worried about hurting THEIR feelings (with the truth)??? Why are we so worried about playing fair (according to their rules)??Of playing nicey-nice??? So afraid of declaring war on the evil that resides in our own mother, who's all too willing to sacrifice us? Why do we so readily lie down and play dead? Because it's our mother??

One thing (amongst many) that Anna's blog brings into focus is that this is much bigger than just the people involved. It is a battle that has raged since the beginning - when Lucifer was cast out of heaven.

Note this - After the serpent deceived Adam & Eve, Genesis 3:14 says: So the Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, . . . (v. 15) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Notice here, God himself is saying that the devil is capable of striking our heel (thus hindering our walk). But WE WILL CRUSH HIS HEAD. We need to keep this in mind. God himself stated it in Genesis 3:15. We need to take our wounded foot and stomp it down as hard as we can on Satan's head.

BTW, the "head" is the control center, where all the evil thoughts and schemes are planned out. And WE have the capablility of crushing it according to God's word!!! It is time to take up our weapons of warfare. Greater is He who is in us ...

Trust me, I am speaking to myself.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I wish someone had warned about this YEARS ago. I have been soooo naive. I never thought that those war passages would apply to relationships within a so-called Christian family. I thought those passages referred to those obviously sinful people "out there." I never realized it would be a problem within the church, within a Christian family. I never dreamed that people would call themselves Christians while harboring narcissism and treating people terribly. I never saw it coming.

Renewed

Anna Valerious said...

NNL,

Thanks for the positive comments. I wanted to clarify a theological point you brought up. Gen. 3:15 is the first promise of a Messiah. The "seed" is not "seeds" as of many...but singular. Christ. The promise of a "seed" was repeated to Abraham. Again, the promise of a "seed" (singular again) was a promise of the Messiah. See Galatians 3:16. The serpent will bruise His heel but Christ will crush the serpent's head. In other words, the serpent will be utterly destroyed. Not by us. By the Promised One.

Naive No Longer said...

Thank you, Anna. You are absolutely right. And to think I was just "naive" enough to think that that was meant for ME!! (who is "in" Christ Jesus).

So until that point at which the serpent is utterly destroyed and all His enemies are put under His feet, we are left in the midst of the titanic struggle between good and evil that as you so aptly stated, is a war we cannot opt out of - even if it is playing out in the midst of our family.

So, bear with me on this. My naivete still extends to wanting to believe something that might start a theological debate. Yes, the final victory is yet to be won. In the meantime, you and I are here fighting the age-old battle that is raging until that time comes. We are warriors of Christ, representing him in the battle. We have identified with him through baptism in his death and resurrection. Is it naive and unbiblical to assume that in the individual battles of our lifetime we have the capablility in and through Christ to put the enemy under our feet? To crush his head in the battles that we encounter in this life? Even though the final crushing and destruction is yet to come?

Anna Valerious said...

NNL,

I'm not really that comfortable in maintaining a theological discussion here on the blog because that isn't the focus or function of this blog. I try to keep things focused on NPD. I'll answer you privately on your questions.

Anonymous said...

Its easy to stand up to EVIL when it is OBVIOUS evil (molestation, child abuse, neglect) and the scars, trauma, bruises are there for the WORLD to see. Only a blind fool could do nothing.

But when dealing with a N, it is a whole other world. The evil is secret, covert, SUBTLE. The abuse is hard to recognize, let alone describe to someone, and when you do...it is met with profound DISBELIEF (you must be exaggerating or making it up). There is no sympathy. No call to arms.

Then add the lethal mix of spirituality and religion since MOST N are profound "church" going folk and everyone of their aquaintences think they are so holy and pure from the show they put on for everyone.

And you wonder....AM I CRAZY? AM I BEING TOO HARSH? AM I THE UNLOVING, UNFORGIVING, UNREPENTANT SINNER like the N is accusing me of and gossipping about me 24/7 behind my back?

Then you will have the answer why so many people are "wimps" when it comes to Narcissists, Anna.

It's hard to be a warrior, when no one believes evil is going on and you're just trying to rock the boat.

Suggestions on how to trap an N in their own web of lies?

Suggestions on how to be believed?

Anna Valerious said...

Being believed is not a prerequisite for doing the right thing.

Unless a person has a clear moral view of the issues they will not be equipped to stand up to cloaked evil. That is what I attempt to provide here. Most of this blog is directed at helping people get a clear understanding of what covert evil looks like and to provide moral clarity. Christians especially have a moral obligation to stand on principle. But if a person's principles are still foggy, then they won't have the courage to take the battle to the malignantly evil ones. War is not for the coward or for those who fear getting wounded.

Suggestions for trapping a N in their lies? If I could write that up it would be a book...and I would be a very rich lady if I could give a recipe for trapping Ns in their lies. There is no one-size-fits-all on this. Different circumstances, different Ns, different everything...how do I know how to trap every N in their lies? No one can give anyone that kind of easy ticket so that doing the right thing is less painful. It would certainly be easier for all of us if we could stand up to our Ns and not look like we are the bad guy. It is part of the price we often have to pay in order to do the right thing.

I am very sympathetic to how hard it is to confront covert evil. You outlined the very thing that makes it so damned difficult: self-doubt. Which is why this blog is somewhat of a tutorial on how to get past the self-doubt. When dealing with narcissism we are constantly having to choose between two realities. The one we witnessed with our own eyes and ears and the one fabricated by the N. My recommendation is that people keep reading and learning how to give themselves permission to believe the truth, i.e. reality. I don't think it is a good plan to take the battle to the N until a person can reach the point where they are willing to believe what they know over the revisionism of the narcissist. No warrior goes into battle unprepared. You have to equip yourself. Moral clarity is essential for taking it to the N.

jordie said...

Can I just say, self-doubt is the crowning glory of the non-narcissist. That's what marks us out as normal, and marks us out as victims at the same time.

Its actually a blessing to have not only self-doubt but self-awareness. The narcissist has neither.

Oh, and FWIW, I have found getting your N to put it in writing can help a great deal in giving you time to see the lies and to hoist them by their own petard. Just don't expect them to go "drat, they got me", its more likely they will up the campagin to the next level of hate.

chickwithbrain said...

Courage by definition is doing the right thing when it's hard. It isn't courage if you have the approval of everybody. That's called "going with the flow." History is filled with the stories of men and women who accomplished things regardless of the danger to their person, regardless of the ridicule they met, regardless of the people who told them they were dead wrong or that it was impossible. Heroes don't take polls to find out from popular opinion if they're doing the right thing. They just do it.