I loosely follow my stats. If I see a bunch of hits coming from one site then I'll follow the link to see what the chatter is. In no less than four different forums in the last month the subject of whether or not the narcissist can be saved has been going on. Whenever this subject comes up rather a lot of heat is generated on both sides. Both sides have very personal reasons for fighting for their view for reasons you can all likely understand. It is usually a Christian who is contending for the view of the narcissist that requires an eternal optimism for their salvation and which usually is the means of justifying, yea, demanding, that people never give up on them. When this subject comes up someone puts up a link to my site as support for the Narcissist Is Doomed to Hell view point.
I think I will, for the sake of future discussions along this line, clarify my position. I think my position is already clear but I'll make it more clear just because the emotionality of this subject seems to disengage some people's logic centers. I speak of those of the Never Give Up, Never Surrender ilk.
Here is what I haven't said. I haven't said that God can't save the narcissist. In fact, I've said the opposite. I have said that God can save the narcissist but with the addendum that He doesn't need YOU to do it! We must have an expiration date on our patience with evil doers.
A year ago I dealt at length with one of the apostle Paul's very clear commands concerning what we should do about those who practice evil in the church family (and by extension, our own families) in the post titled "From Such Turn Away". I don't believe that "love thy neighbor" negates the force of Paul's command. You can't take one text to annul another text and properly exegete the Bible. Context is everything. Too often people make a passage say something it isn't by not putting it into context. Apparent contradictions can be explained when one takes the effort to understand the big picture. I want to present a bigger picture on the Biblical view of what God's people are expected to do about evil in their midst by adding a few more texts into the mix.
Whether one reads the Old Testament or the New Testament it becomes clear rather quickly that God teaches that evil is contagious. There are so many parts of Scripture that teach this it would become very cumbersome to try to list them all. This truth is a given throughout all the Bible and is the very core understanding that is central to every Biblical command to separate from evildoers -- especially and primarily evildoers in the church and home.
It is this core truth which those Christians who insist on eternal patience with evil doers must either ignore willfully or who are just ignorant of all together. I'll say it again: evil is contagious. It is contagious because evil isn't satified to be evil all by itself. It actively works to co-opt you into its evil. And when you join them in their evil they applaud and approve of you (Romans 1:32).
You, the reader of this blog, have likely seen enough of the world and life to have your own observations to call upon to illustrate this truth. You've seen the contagion of evil infect from person to person in your own family. Or the workplace. Or perhaps you've found yourself co-opted for a time into someone else's evil deeds. The understanding that evil is contagious is understood by all good parents. Most parents will guard the associations of their children because they know that bad influences are very likely to lead children and teens into bad behaviors. Evil doers are never satisfied to be alone in their deeds. They want accomplices. To corrupt their peers is essential in order to be able to carry on their evil with a minimum of moral judgment or risk of exposure. Evil doers are not confined by truth or by morality if it stands in the way of getting what they want. So this amplifies the persuasive power of evil. Because it can and does lie to get its way; because it can create a false reality; because it can use the implements of cruelty, bribery, violence and exercise of any and all power it may possess without moral considerations -- all this increases the likelihood that evil doers will create other evil doers.
Having elaborated a bit in the paragraph above about the FACT that evil is like a virus that will infect those who remain in close contact with it I have again underlined the central reason I so energetically urge "no contact" with the malignant narcissist. To avoid picking up their traits, to avoid being used by them as a "cat's paw" to hurt others, to avoid becoming indifferent to evil and therefore more likely to be evil oneself, it is essential to separate yourself from it. For a Christian to urge the opposite is to reveal themselves to be profoundly ignorant of the Bible or, I fear, profoundly over-confident of their ability to not be co-opted by evil. A confidence the Scriptures do not urge us to have!
Another aspect of my urging "no contact" with evil doers is your responsibility to protect the most vulnerable and most innocent ones whom you are in a position to protect. This, too, is the Biblical view as the Bible holds those in positions of authority responsible for the temporal and eternal well-being of those in their care. So, even if you feel overly confident of your imperviousness to yielding to evil doers in your family or church I do not see on what basis you are confident of the unyielding nature of the vulnerable and innocent in your charge. Parents are responsible before God to protect their young from evil, church leaders for their 'flock', kings for their people, etc.
Evil doers in the family are not granted a special exemption by God! Evil doers are in the best position to harm those who are closest to them by reason of familial ties. Family ties are not any justification for evil else we condemn each new generation to endless repetititions of evil doers in the familial circle. The cycle has to be broken at some point or entire families will be destroyed. There are historical examples of this going back as far as recorded history goes. Like begets like. Evil spreads. Entire nations can be eventually consumed by unchecked evil in families.
All this means that Christians who agitate for the idea that we are not true, loving Christians if we don't emulate their own eternal patience with evil are actually only perpetuating evil rather than spreading good as they claim. Eternal patience with evil is equal with being a despiser of the good and the innocent!
Don't be cowed by the unflinching self-righteousness of those who claim to be better than you because they won't give up hope that God will save the narcissist. Recognize the false premise in their reasoning. They reason thus: if you walk away (i.e. give up on) the narcissist you have, at the same time, shown that you don't believe God can save the narcissist. Walking away says no such thing! God is not rendered powerless to save anyone just because you've had to go 'no contact' to end your exposure to their evil! Where in the Bible has God said that every person we will ever come in contact with will be saved by God through us?? It is no where even hinted at such a notion. The arrogance inherent in believing that God can only use YOU to save a particular person is quite odious when you recognize it for what it is. You are not that important. Or powerful. Get over yourself.
Some more texts to consider carefully because they enjoin us to separate from evil doers and trouble-makers.
Romans 16:17-18. Notice that those who are co-opted by the "divisive" ones are called naive. Other versions use the term "simple" or "simpletons". The Bible marks those Christians who can't discern the evil acts of their brothers in Christ to be simpletons. Remember that when one of those simpletons come to you to accuse you of being ignorant! Oh, the irony of it. Also remember that the Christian church is called a family and its structure is modelled on the family. What applies to the church family can be rightly applied to the family you were born into.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13. As in Paul's instruction to Timothy where he says "from such turn away" Paul is very specific about whom we should be shunning in his letter to the Corinthians. He says that if he told God's church to turn away from ALL evil doers then the Christian would have to leave the world. Paul says this is obviously impossible so obviously he wasn't telling Christians to avoid all the evil doers in the world. He was telling them how to deal with those in the church. This is entirely consistent with the view of the contagiousness of evil. That evil which is closest to us is the most dangerous form. Paul was much more concerned about prospering evil doers in the church than in the world at large because evil disguising itself in Christian garb is much more persuasive to other Christians than some stranger outside the circle of the church family. He concludes his admonition with this unequivocal command which is a quote from the Old Testament (Deut. 13:5), "Expel the wicked man from among you." There is no special clemency for evil doers just because they are in the family. The very opposite is true. Paul is clear that we are to judge those closest to us...not those furthest away. Those who call themselves family (church or birth) are the most accountable to us for their behavior!
The law that was handed down in the book of Deuteronomy was to govern the family of Israel. Israel was a family, a denominated church and a nation all rolled into one. We can learn much from God's commands to Israel about both church and family government. We don't see God telling His people to cut extra slack to evil doers in their families or nation. No slack cutting...cut them off is the command! Paul's quoting of this command in the New Testament shows that its instruction is in full force for the Christian.
Please note that Paul puts sexual immorality next to greed. Idolatry is just as evil as slander. A drunk is as evil as the swindler. However you may categorize evil, if you call yourself Christian I hope you won't put yourself above Paul and describe greed or slander as less evil than the other sins listed. The habit of those who've long lived with the evil narcissist have usually come to excuse greater sins than these in them. Don't minimize what the Bible calls evil and exhorts you to separate yourself from!
Psalm 26:4-5, NIV A psalm of David. "I do not sit with deceitful men nor do I consort with hypocrites; I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked." Which Christian is it who can claim to be better esteemed of God than David? I daresay, none. Will you show your greater righteousness by sitting with the wicked and joining in their assemblies?
Psalm 97:10, NIV "Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked." Are you better than the Lord Himself? He hates evil. Do you? Notice the promise of deliverance from the hand of the wicked. What would that be but a promise of 'no contact'. A blessed relief from their persecutions.
Proverbs 2 Click on the link to read its entirety. In it Solomon explains the blessings that proceed from listening to and acquiring wisdom and understanding. "Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways." Wisdom and understanding are presented as the means whereby God can protect you from wicked people. Hello!!??? Can you hear me?? You can be an idiot and make it impossible for God to protect you! You were given a brain and are expected by God to use it. What does this chapter end with but this rather good news, "the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it." Again, I ask, who of you is better than God who cuts off the wicked? From my view none of you are better than God Himself. Therefore, I will not listen to you who believe that the "good" Christian will never cut off the malignant narcissist. I can only see you as a coddler of the wicked not a protector of the innocent and the virtuous. Your eternal patience for the evil doer is taken by them to be a license to continue on as they are. Never cutting them off allows the evil doer to feel justified in what they are and in what they do.
It is because God loves people that He instructs them to cut off the wicked. It is not from hatred of the evil person himself. God hates evil because it destroys the evil doer and all those in the evil doer's grasp. The Bible records that God has many times executed the death penalty upon the wicked and many choose to see Him as being too harsh for doing so. Yet they would forget the many crimes of the wicked to accuse God in that way. God has killed evil doers with the express purpose of saving those who are still save-able. He states clearly that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 33:11) The destruction of the wicked is elsewhere called His "strange act" (Isaiah 28:21). Be assured, cutting off the wicked is an act of justice and mercy dispensed by God to preserve those not given over to evil. Don't pretend to be better than God Himself by refusing His instructions to distance yourself from those who won't distance themselves from evil deeds. He expects you to use wisdom. Wisdom is the conduit whereby He is able to shape circumstance to protect you. Wisdom is a function of logical thought. Which means you follow your head and not your fickle little heart when confronted with having to deal with evil. Family ties are not an automatic exemption from all instruction concerning evil. Family is more accountable to us, not less, for their closeness.
I'll say it one more time before closing. Cutting off the evil narcissist is not a commentary on your believing that God can't save that person. Going no contact with the malignant narcissist doesn't mean God has gone no contact with him. Please, don't be a simpleton. God can still reach them even if you never speak another word to them. Because the Biblical instruction to the Christian is unequivocal that we must "Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person", don't expect God's protection if you refuse His clear command on this point. And believe me, there will come a day when the trap springs and there will be no help for you.
"Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse." Prov. 2:11-12
"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." Prov. 22:3