Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not All Enemies are Created Equal

This post is in response to Jordie's comment on the last post. As a preamble to this post I'd like to ask for the indulgence of my non-Christian readers. As difficult as you know it to be to extricate from a narcissist, especially a family narcissist, Christians are rendered much more susceptible to narcissist control because of the powerful clubs that misinformed Christianity hands over to malignant narcissists. So, hopefully, you'll be patient when my posts focus on problems for Christians, especially Bible-verse-twisting antics of the narcissists and ill-informed Christians who often unwittingly support the narcissists.


"I have heard every argument under the sun by ex-cult members not to turn away from this evil, and to in fact continue to try and reach them since God himself doesn't reject them (they believe). They use Jesus' words in Matthew 5:44, to pray for, love and do good to your enemy, and sometimes I myself wonder how to reconcile this verse and the Timothy verses in this situation.

Surely the malignant narcissist is our enemy, yet Paul tells us to turn away from them. Of Whom then was Jesus talking about in Matthew?"

Paul, in the Timothy letter (2 Tim. 3:1-5), carefully exposes the behaviors of wicked persons as important context before the instruction is given to walk away from them. Yes, the wicked man is an enemy. On the other hand, not all enemies are wicked men! Christ and Paul were not talking about the same people or persons. Let me elaborate.

There is a certain level of chutzpah required to make the assumption that "all people who oppose me are my enemy and are therefore evil". This is the baseline assumption of the narcissists. Disagree with them and you are targeted for destruction. You are their enemy and you are evil.

Early in Christ's "Sermon on the Mount", which begins in Matt. 5, He set the theme for the instruction to follow:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Emphasis mine. Matt. 5:17-20

The rest of the chapter Christ repeats the theme, "You have heard that it was said..." followed by His teaching. From whom did people hear the "it was said" that Christ was countering or expanding on? The religious leaders. Those Pharisees and teachers of the law whose level of righteousness was exposed by Christ as being inadequate for entering the "kingdom of heaven".

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' " Matt. 5:43 That was the "sage" teaching of the Pharisees and lawyers. Christ sets that teaching on its head. This teaching was based on Levitical law but had been perverted by the religious leaders' interpretations. It was the perversion Christ was setting about to correct.

Let's consider who Christ was talking about when He refers to "your enemy". He was talking about those whom the religious leaders commonly categorized as such. During all of Christ's earthly ministry He worked to overcome the extreme national pride and the religious bigotry of a people who felt assured of their superiority in God's eyes. They were a people who considered others to be enemies simply because they were in a different class of society or of a different nationality. The Jews, most especially the religious leaders, were very resistant to the Roman rule they were under in Christ's (and Paul's) day. Israel was one of the most difficult nations for the Romans to manage. It was not uncommon for a Roman soldier to commandeer a passerby to carry something for them for a distance down the road (it was Roman law that they could do this). The Jews would often resist the order of the Roman soldier. The Jews chafed under this type of thing because it was a reminder that they were a conquered people. This was a reality they liked to deny to themselves as evidenced by the Pharisees preposterous response to Christ when they stated that they had never been slaves to any man. (John 8:33) So, Christ, in teaching the people how to behave like God's children instructed them to cheerfully walk that mile with the Roman and volunteer to walk another with them. The Roman was most definitely an enemy to the Jewish mind, but was he evil? No. There would be no evidence of that in a short encounter, so the assumption must be that he isn't. The kind of wickedness defined by Paul is not going to be perceived by a short encounter. The exposure of truly evil people can only occur over time and with multiple encounters under varied circumstances.

Christ defined how we should think and behave toward those who may oppose us; those whom we may be inclined to think of as our enemy, but who are just average people. They may have prejudice against us for whatever their reasons. If we are consistently kind and helpful it is likely they will dump their prejudices at some point. We, as Christians, should not do anything to further provoke someone who may dislike us. Our attitude is to be benevolent and will be demonstrated by our doing our best to seek their good.

Christ consistently worked to expand the minds of the people to look past class and nationality--to look at someone in need as their neighbor. The story of the good Samaritan was to illustrate "who is my neighbor?" To the Jews a neighbor was of their same level in society in addition to being a fellow Jew. A "neighbor" was their peer. Period. The Samaritan's definition was the godly one; the person you are in a position to both see their need and to help is your neighbor. The fellow Jews who walked by the beaten Jew on the road were able to justify leaving him bleeding and barely conscious because he was not one of them by their very narrow partisan definitions.

Obviously, just because someone doesn't like us we are not free, as Christians, to reciprocate with hate and bad behaviors. The religious leaders of Christ's day did believe they were free to hate their perceived enemies, and to treat those perceived enemies badly or with indifference. Christ was countering this kind of thinking in Matt. 5:44. Someone may consider us their enemy, but that doesn't mean we are free to treat them like they are our enemy. On the other hand, when someone is clearly dedicated to being evil, insofar as we are able...we should walk away from them. There are plenty of other Biblical instructions to not associate with those who are evil. Christ was not negating the Scriptures. He was dealing with a different kind of enemy. Not all our enemies are fact, few are.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes a person isn't able to walk away. In those instances, the Christian is instructed to submit without rancor or retaliation. When you have the power to choose to leave an abusive situation and or the presence of a wicked person, then there is NO Biblical basis for staying in the abuse. If a person was a slave in Christ's day there was no option to the slave to walk away, hence Paul's instruction to be obedient to their masters as if they were serving Christ Himself (Eph. 6:5-8). The Jews were a slave nation to Rome. Therefore, Christ's instruction to them was to not resist Roman rule, but to comply cheerfully as long as they were not having to violate one of God's laws. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Matt. 22:21 (The gigantic law structure of the religious leaders were often out of sync with God's laws. Christ was stripping away the man-made structures that had obscured the real requirements of God's laws (Mark 7:7). This is why He was accused as being "against the law" by the religious was Paul. Both were against man's law usurping God's law. Example: "Corban" was a man-made law that could be used to override the 5th commandment of honoring one's parents. See Mark 7.) Prisoners are another example of a situation where a person is not able to walk away from evil doers. Paul was often a prisoner...his example is one of submission and Christ-like behavior toward his captors. The context of a certain Biblical instruction has to be considered when applying its teaching to the life. Is it addressing someone who can't walk away? If yes, then the instruction is quite different than for someone who is able to choose their own course. For example, Matt. 10:14.

Even when we have proof that someone is clearly dedicated to being evil and have walked away from them doesn't mean we are now free to treat them badly. We can still follow the spirit of Christ's instruction in Matt. 5:44. You can still pray for and have genuine concern for (love) someone you've had to walk away from. That being said, going no contact from wicked people is not counter to Christ's spirit. So many people think that "no contact" is a retaliatory measure. They pretend it is an "attack". This is ridiculous on its face. Going "no contact" is a benevolent act. It is an acceptance of someone else's decision and acceptance of reality. It is a refusal to use force or manipulation to try to get someone to change. It is a recognition that evil is spiritually contagious and to remain in contact with someone who embraces evil greatly increases the likelihood that you will "learn his ways" (Prov. 22:25). You are making a choice based entirely on the evil person's choice to remain what they are. It is the only moral choice left when one is up against recalcitrant evil.

Your ex-cult members who believe they are morally obligated to remain in contact with exposed and unrepentant evil are spiritually naive. They wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. (2Pet2:16) If they must judge you as being bitter in order to justify their view, then so be it. You know your heart much better than they. There are too many other Scriptures which command us in no uncertain terms to cut off from unrepentant evil to allow one verse to negate the force of their instruction. One verse can never be rightly used to negate other verses which seem to say something different. The responsible Bible student looks for the harmony. Christ's stated in Matt. 5:17-18 that He taught nothing in opposition to the Scriptures. Paul, who wrote under the inspiration of Christ's Spirit, would not give instruction that contradicted Christ's teaching during His earthly ministry. Is. 28:10 gives the principle of comparing Scripture with Scripture to learn truth.

I hope I have adequately illustrated the harmony between Christ's instruction and Paul's. Their teachings are not in opposition; they are talking about different people. Prejudice, bad will, misunderstandings can all create a perceived enemy, but these kinds of enemies are not likely to be evil people. People who are not dedicated to a wicked course can potentially be won to Christ...but not if we treat them like they are our enemy just because they've declared us to be theirs. The gentle spirit of Christ is to be the mark of His followers. Sometimes that gentle spirit is required to give strong rebuke to evil doers and/or walk away. When Christ cleared the temple twice of the con men otherwise known as the "money changers", He was a terror to evil doers...but the average person was attracted to Him because of His scary rebuke of the con men. They recognized that Christ was being merciful and kind to them because it was the average person who was being used by the con men. After both incidences, the people gathered in great numbers around Christ in the temple to hear Him teach. There was no fear for them. They recognized Him to be a Deliverer. Sometimes we have to take a stand. Yes, that will make us a terror to evil doers, but the victims of the evil doers will recognize us to be standing with them. Taking a stand against evil doesn't make us "bitter". It means we are principled. We recognize there is no harmony between the philosophy of evil and the principles of God's kingdom. You can't stand on both sides when right and wrong are the issue. You can't harmonize evil with good.

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8


Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this Anna. Your analysis of these two verses makes excellent sense. Did you come to these conclusions on your own, or did you use other bible studies? I don't think I have heard this explained so clearly in this way before. But then, I have spent most of my time listening to lies spoken by men who twist scriptures to their own way, so I have alot to catch up on.

I will link to this post from my own blog for other reader's sake. It is very helpful, even for non-christians to understand how different verses apply in different ways, yet link together beautifully.

Anna Valerious said...

Did you come to these conclusions on your own, or did you use other bible studies?

Thank you, Jordie. Good to hear you think it makes sense. It was a long post and I worried that it may be too cumbersome for readers. So I appreciate knowing you read it and came away with understanding! No, I didn't use other Bible studies for this. I'm pleased to know you think this post is helpful enough to your readers link to it on your own blog. :o)

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"There is a certain level of chutzpah required to make the assumption that "all people who oppose me are my enemy and are therefore evil". This is the baseline assumption of the narcissists. Disagree with them and you are targeted for destruction. You are their enemy and you are evil."

Actually, it doesn't require much of anything, except for childish pettiness and simplistic thinking. It's fairly common among the Mary Sue authors of the fandoms I'm involved in. Love the Mary Sue=GOOD person. Hate the Mary Sue=BAD! NO GOOD! HORRIBLE! Teenagers are especially prone to this sort of thinking. Okay, maybe it was just me. Teehee.

Other PD people tend to do the same.

Anna Valerious said...

Good point. It really is just simple math by simple minds i.e. childish.

Anonymous said...

I really love your blog and have been reading for about half a year, yet it seems your blog posts have been venturing into territory where you really explore your personal religious beliefs, or perhaps confirmation that your adverse relationship with your parents is somehow santified or justified or something ... somewhere in the Bible.

I wish you luck there, but I wish I would have seen more of you just being a person and a daughter and sister standing up for what is right. I can't really cotton to the religious references. Thank you for this site.

Anna Valerious said...

My preamble to this post made my reasons for this post and others like it quite clear. Sorry you think my reasons are other than what I stated. I had hoped for the patience of readers like you.

My blog is where I express my experiences and my principles. My Christian background is a significant part of both. Not everything I write is going to be helpful or relevant for everyone. I realize that and feel bad about it, but there's no way around it. No one can be all things to all people. Again, sorry to offend you, but I am being me on my blog. If you don't like me being me...well, what can I say? I have nothing to prove to myself. I'm trying to help others who have similar struggles I have had; these struggles were intensified because I am a Christian. Naturally, when other Christians express their perplexities on how to deal with narcissists, I can relate. Because I have waded through these waters before, I have something to say about how to do it. People who write have to write about what they know.

Anonymous said...

What's a lot of the bible- lesson and common life experiences..and some burning bushes : )

I am not well-versed biblically, but can follow a story line. In a Judeo-Christian culture ( Norh and South America for example) much of our lives, religious or not, are deeply effected
by biblical teachings-I wish more so- but it's still there.

I read secular blogs, like Kathys (love it) and get a lot out of them, sometimes I want to say to folks relax already I won't drag you to heaven against your will!

: )

Cathy said...

Hi Anna,

I have had a chance to read this post quickly and am going to come back to it later when I can more thoughfully read it.

But I wanted to make two points at first blush. THANK YOU for this analysis. It makes so much sense and is so helpful. Many of us Christians, (me, myself, and I) don't always know or understand the historical context, perspective, or customs of the day which add rich texture and meaning to the scripture. Trying to interpret the meaning in a vacuum is where we sometimes run into trouble and are perplexed when there seem to be inconsistencies encountered in the Bible.

Not only has the content been helpful but you have inspired me to go further in exploring a more disciplined study of the Bible. Thank you for that as well.

As for your non-Christian readers, I would reiterate - please hang in there. So many of us are wrestling with these issues and are finding help through Anna and this blog. God bless you Anna for taking into consideration the feelings of all of your readers and navigating so expertly between the Christian and non-Christain camps.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I have come to realize now is that my Nmom will use WHATEVER arena she can. While I too had a very religious upbringing and she used it first and foremost to manipulate me, she also would twist and 'interpret' ANY subject....whether politics, psychology,economics, etc. to fit her view. While she came across as simply 'philosphical' about any given subject, it was ONLY a ploy to draw you out for an opinion so she could 'correct' you.

My point is: IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT IT IS RELIGION. IT COULD BE ANYTHING THAT ALLOWS THEM A STAGE FOR ATTENTION. I've seen my Nmom argue both 'sides' against the other....depending on her audience.

I, personally, appreciate the biblical analysis because it was the most twisted in me...(because my spiritual life was extremely important to me...and she knew it) whether one is religious or not, please see the bigger picture of an N...and that is:


Stormchild said...

Anna, you are an absolutely fantastic lay theologian. If you haven't read Dorothy Sayers, you would probably enjoy her very much ["The Mind of the Maker", about the theology of creativity... but of course it doesn't stop there.]

C.S. Lewis was also a lay theologian. People forget that.

Laymen [laypersons] seem to be more willing to face issues such as the ones you are exploring. Often, churchmen are much more comfortable worshiping The God of Things As They Are. Very often, this is because they are "fleecing their lambs" one way or another.

A minister with one hand in the offering plate and the other on someone else's wife's knee... isn't going to want a congregation with strong moral self confidence. He's going to want a collection of enablers who won't stand up to his bad behavior and will continue to submit to fleecing and flummoxing, world without end.

A layman, on the other hand... especially one who's experienced the above described nonsense... well, there was this old farmer named Amos, once.


On a secular note: if your non-Christian readers will simply consider your subtext, which is the ethical, moral, and psychological lessons here, much of value can be learned. And your subtext isn't very 'sub'. It's right out there and easy to see.

[Reminds me of a math class I had in college. The prof was ambidextrous and wrote with either hand. About a fourth of my chums were so distracted by that, that they completely ignored the math, spent all their time grumbling about the fact that the guy could use both hands to write with, and did very poorly in the course. Pay attention to the math, people.]

Go Anna go.

P.S. -- Jordie has blogged very recently about just the type of ministers I've described above and how their congregations are affected by the kind of teaching you are debunking here. Link to Jordie's blog entry here.

And again, for secular folks, Jordie is describing the degree of entrenched Groupthink that leads to things like Jonestown or Waco, but also to things like Skokie and Watts. She's talking about hyper-conformity, and the subtle teaching of subtle prejudice. And she shows how an entire group of people behave when they're immersed in toxic control. This doesn't always have religious origins, and Jordie's illustration is extremely valuable with or without the religious context.

Anna Valerious said...

Anon @ 10:54, krl, NNL, Stormchild,

Thanks for your comments. It was nice to see others articulate exactly what I have set out to do on this blog. I didn't think my objectives were hard to understand.

On a secular note: if your non-Christian readers will simply consider your subtext, which is the ethical, moral, and psychological lessons here, much of value can be learned. And your subtext isn't very 'sub'. It's right out there and easy to see.

I had hoped that my secular readers would be willing to read the religious themed posts too for this very reason -- there are principles that apply to everyone in these posts whether or not you're religious in your mental framework. No one needs to feel left out whether I'm talking secularly or putting things in a religious context. The readers make the decision to be left out by dismissing something as worthless that may actually have some value if they were willing to look a little harder at the bigger picture I'm dealing with. My more religious-minded readers don't complain when I post outside of a religious context. This is because they can see the value of the information regardless of whether it is framed secularly or not. I had hoped my secular readers could do the same thing. I think most can and do. None of my religious posts are in any way aimed at proselytizing. I think that is pretty damned obvious. No one is in danger of being converted just because they read one of my Bible-based posts. I marvel at how people choose to be offended at Bible references like that is somehow a direct affront to them.

Attempts to try to shame me into changing my content is really not the place of the readers here. You aren't paying for the content. The most you can lose here is the time you spent reading...a totally voluntary expenditure on your part. People need to lighten up.

Stormchild, loved the math class analogy. That put a smile on my face and made the point eloquently. Thanks!

Anna Valerious said...

Another thought or two...

I write primarily from the perspective of having been a child of a narcissist. I didn't stay involved very long with narcissistic males in my dating or married life, so I don't write about experiences with romantic involvements with Ns but rarely and certainly not at any length. So, in a sense, it appears on the surface that my blog doesn't offer much for those in male/female romantic relationships. But from the comments and emails I get it is obvious that most people are able to extrapolate from the information I present and apply the general principles to their unique situations even if they weren't raised by a narcissist. The reason they can do this is because I try to boil down to the essence the idea that all narcissists have common behaviors and motivations. The principles of dealing with them whether you are a child of one, married to one, or working for one are the same. I think intelligent people are able to find useful information in all my posts whether or not the context of the presentation appears to apply directly to their situation. I'm not here to entertain with maudlin stories of my childhood; I'm trying to educate.

As krl pointed out, narcissists are narcissists regardless of where you find them. They adapt to their unique set of circumstances by turning whatever is at hand into a tool to get their supply. How they manipulate religion to their nefarious purposes is the way they can and do manipulate any ideology including pop psychology. The intelligent reader learns this and can spot how the narcissist in their life is twisting some set of ideals to their own ends. Thanks for that good point, krl.

Anonymous said...

Anna, THANK YOU so much for these religious posts. I didn't comment on the previous post because I could only manage an incoherent "Awesome!"

Although a few others are posting about Narcissism and I find it helpful, you are the only person willing to discuss it in the religious realm (that I know of).

And we have struggled mightily because my husband's Nparents (who were my second parents for many years also) are so religiously respected, it's been very challenging to separate Christianity from the abuse thereof. And very confusing.

And of course these people use Bible verses and spiritual talk to try to bring us back under their thumbs. Even after over a year of trying to go no-contact, they are still pursuing us. It's quite awful.

It's just so shocking to me on a visceral level that NOTHING IS SACRED with these people. Krl is right that they will use absolutely anything. But it still boggles me.

So Anna, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your posts, religious and secular. I need it all. This method of operating is soooo foreign to me that I have to keep reading to avoid slipping into denial that they will someday "get it."


Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Anna:

Hmmm, well I was raised by religious addicts (and in the ministry) and I'm pretty sure my mother was an N. I know that both my parent were raised by men that were alcoholics who, when they became saved, went into the ministry and basically transferred their addiction to alcohol to religion. My parents often used the scripture or just "God's will" to excuse any of their behaviors that were damaging to me. I have to say that I did NOT go No Contact with them and ended up being my father's primary caregiver when he was dying from cancer, despite the fact that I probably should have done so. His last stay in the hospital, Dad apologized to me for how he had treated me particularly when I got divorced. However, I need to state that I did confront my parents a couple of years prior to this, the last time they stabbed me in the back and invited my ex to a family meeting, and told them that if they betrayed me again it would cost their relationship with me and my daughter. It was a very emotional scene and I went home and wrote it all out in a letter once I had calmed down, just to make it very clear what would happen. I didn't want them saying that I'd never warned them what the consequences would be.

A couple of years after my Dad died, my new husband and I were trying to help in a church that had recently lost it's pastor. (My husband is a former pastor and was married to a very Malignant N.) My husband was on the board and unfortunately, my mother was newly elected, too. Anyway, a really mean spirited man (who later divorced his wife and moved in with the woman he'd been having an affair with) called in the local presbyter and basically attacked my husband for being divorced, serving on the board and preaching in the church. He was supported by the "company man" presbyter. Anyway, we resigned and left the church. Now here is the kicker, my mother saw an opportunity to run a church again and so it suddenly became "God's will" that she stay on the board to rescue the church at the advice of the presbyter, despite how we'd been treated. It was the last straw and I told her that I was distancing myself from her, our relationship was permanently damaged by her actions, and that the consequences I had already laid out several years before were now in play. I would never allow her to be close to me or my family again, and that is exactly what happened. However, when she was dying of cancer in 2006, I ended up going to care for her, too, [in spite of the fact that after my father died she had basically given all of her estate to my eldest brother whom she had favored all of our lives]. Neither of my brothers could be relied on to do it.

I've left a great deal out here, but my point is that I did take care of my parents because of the biblical injunction to honor them. Not because they deserved it or even because I loved them. So there are degrees that can be applied when dealing with Ns, but each person needs to decide what works best for them. I don't think anyone had the right to force me to take care of them by telling me I had to, I did it because I wanted to obey God. Taking care of her in particular was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I did it without rancour and have no remorse.

On the flip side: when my husband and I were having so many problems with the twisted sister stepdaughter(TSSD), one of my husbands friends (and someone that he had helped to get his ministerial license and assisted in many other ways) sent him an e-mail that said exactly this:


I love you. God told me to tell you to Agape your daughter.


This man had been my husband's best friend. Needless to say, we were floored--it was so obvious that he'd been contacted by the TSSD and was straightening us out!!! I went through the roof, having been raised in the ministry I'd seen this sort of presumption all of my life and I have zero tolerance for it. My husband was so hurt, and responded:

"God" told you that? I think you'd better pray about that one some more.

Since then, we have not been friends with that couple. They have NEVER apologized for the arrogance and presumption, that sort of "word" giver never does, and have made no attempt to restore the relationship. Now that may be a case of someone being "sincerely" wrong, but I've no interest in a relationship with people like that. Particularly when we had not invited them into the problem by seeking their advice. Perhaps I should be praying for them, but I don't. They made themselves my enemy by stabbing us in the back and taking sides against us. No one needs "friends" like that, even if they try to justify it by the verse in Proverbs that says "The kisses of an enemy are deceitful but faithful are the wounds of a friend."

I guess my contempt is showing, but I'm sick to death of "well-meaning" but stupid so-called Christians. The ones that equate "forgiveness" with being in relationship are the worst. Even if my TSSD were to apologize I would not want her in our lives. She'd have to do some serious changing, and it would have to last for a LONG time before I'd even consider it and the same goes for her youngest brother. Still, I do pray for her and her brother to someday see the light and genuinely repent. The problem is that they are excellent at playing the Christian game. They can fool a lot of people and of course, they are excellent at being misunderstood and mistreated victims of their terrible father and his wife. From my experience, N's have a huge hole where their soul is, which is why they can't repent or change. They don't need to--the world does!

~Karen~ said...

What post! Wonderfully put! ~~~My NDad always twisted scriptures when I was growing up! When my brother and I were little kids he would tell us (misquoting a verse: ), "He who does not work does not eat" - and therefore we were not allowed to have HIS milk, yogurt...etc... they were HIS because he 'went to work every day and paid the mortage'. (He told us every week, "I pay the mortage!" --like, we were suppost to help him make the payments, as kids~??! Crazy making!!!)-- We were unworthy to eat since we didn't make any money! (SICK!) Looking back the only way to go is to go NON-Contact! I am 26 years old now and so glad to have gone No contact with my Dad... and you know what? I've never received so many cards in the mail until I decided never to see him or speak to him again --- it is SO interesting that N's will not let you go! My Dad's sister and mother are also N's (just figured this out in the last 2 years) and guess what? I get cards from them for Christmas, Birthdays, Easter.... EVERY holiday now that I don't contact them any more! --- Guess what my Aunt underlined in her Easter card to me... it was talking about Jesus' death and resurection and what did she underline...: "ALL OUR SINS" -- ....Wow... Ns who think they are Christians are the very worst of all... it is a miracle my brother my Mother and I are true Christians after living with my "Christian" N-Father... It is sick to see how people can use GOD's Word to get their way - but I shouldn't be surprised, Satan has been twisting God's Words since the Garden of Eden.... I think the worst lies of all are lies that directly twist God's Word -I mean can you imagine the evilness of such a thing!?! All creation obeys God (birds sing, trees grow) but His greatest Creation, Man delights in disobeying Him! ~~~ Thank you again for all your posts- they are wonderful, clear and I always am going "Yes, that is it exactly RIGHT!" when I am reading your posts! You are a great writer! ~Karen~

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna, I have spent the last year trying to figure out/recover from a mind-boggling
encounter with a narcissist who is a Pastor of a 250 member church.

His ability to repeatedly blow-off the 9th commandment was stunning to say the least. What was worse, was his "advisory" board who sat there and let him lie on an outstanding member of our church because he scripture twisted them into believing that he was the only one hearing from God and the only one capable of it, so he had "carte blanche" to conduct himself as sinful and self-justified as need be. Present also, was the elusive non-admittance of guilt or even a "sorry", just an ambiguous, general statement of "well, mistakes were made" when he was confronted (of course a year later he said from the pulpit that he was attacked). False documents were even produced by him and formally presented to the board to convince the board of this memeber's guilt, that is slander by definition. I wrote the district superintendent but the official position was "we cannot get involved unless the board invites us to", needless to say that crooked bunch was not going to entertain that for a second "If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. Proverbs 29:12 - So out went the best worship leader that church ever had. I left too, I was not going to enable or employ that or sit in the pew and smile every Sunday and act like anything about this "reputation rape" was okay.

The scariest thing about it, is he has managed to hide his true self to the rest of the church, so on it goes. Its tragic. I have been labeled a church divider and have experienced the "amish shunning" It sucks, but the truth will be known someday. Justice comes, not always swiftly, but it comes, "liars do not go unpunished, liars do not go free and liars will perish" Proverbs 19:5,9. God is watching, Ralph will get his as sure as the sun will rise tommorow. Here's to recovery Anna.

Unknown said...

I know this post is old, I hope you see this comment anyway. This has helped me so much! As a Christian I have been struggling with the morality of my necessary decision to limit (and finally end) contact with my narcissist mother. I no longer have resentment for the many abuses and manipulations she has heaped on me from the past (starting with her abortion attempt, which of course was not her fault). But my husband is a respected minister, and once my mother realized that he was relatively well known, she started trading on his and my reputations to lend herself credibility in the church, finally marrying a man in our congregation. It galled me to be pulled into her deceptions and used to strengthen them. I asked her not to attend with us, explaining fully to her why it would be hard for me. Of course she has not respected that. I want people to know I have rejected her, so she can no longer use me to look good, but I dont feel I can tell everyone all the bad she has done, simply because it seems malicious to do so. However, this article has helped my own conscience immensely, which gives me confidence to continue my course regardless of what people think. There IS a difference between revenge and simply avoiding a toxic person, and i honestly feel i have fallen on the right side of that line. I have just discovered your blog, and I'm appreciating the fact that you approach this with a biblical perspective. Thank you!

Anna Valerious said...

I see all the posts since this blog is moderated. I am happy to hear from you even though this post was from over 10 years ago. The concepts are timeless. It is always good to hear from readers who have benefited from what has been written. God bless you, Unknown.