Why Doesn’t God Change the Narcissist’s Heart?

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Of all the questions I get, this might be the hardest.  The narcissist hurts so many so deeply.  Why doesn’t God intervene?  Especially when the narcissist claims to be a Christian.  Why doesn’t God just change his heart?

One of the first narcissists I ever identified as such was someone I had considered a friend and colleague.  He was always pretty self-focused and had a hard time listening to others and treating them with respect (even though he had a degree in counseling).  I watched as he manipulated his way into a position of power and prestige and then gave full rein to his narcissistic tendencies.  He became a demanding and vindictive leader.

His attitude toward others, especially those “under” him, was dismissive and mercenary.  He would use them and abandon them, often calling them names and making disparaging remarks about their work.  He realized that he held power over them and he used it.  If they didn’t honor him and obey him to the extent that he desired, he would destroy their careers.  Eventually he turned on me.

So I prayed.  I prayed a lot.  I prayed that he would change.  I prayed that God would remove him from his position.  I prayed that he would be stopped and punished.  I was even willing to help God. 😉

And the result of all those prayers?  He is still in the same position doing the same things nearly ten years later.  Why didn’t God do something?

Well, one of the many, many times I was praying about his cruelty and the unfairness with which he treated people, I just sort of gave up.  I said, “Lord, you will have to deal with him.”  I was seriously thinking of taking charges through the system and getting my hands dirty to end this monster’s reign.  But there was little I could do and I realized it.  So I gave him over to the Lord.  I thought I was being spiritually strong and right.

I am not one that expects to hear audible answers to my prayers.  I lift up my concerns to the Lord and simply trust that He will do what is right.  When I prayed that time, I expected that God would do something in His own way and in His own time.  But I received one of the clearest messages from the Lord in my life.

I said, “Lord, you will have to deal with him.”

He said, “Or not!”

Honestly, it was a shock to me.  Almost as strong as if the Lord had been in the back seat of my car that night, I heard those two words.  I understood them immediately.  It wasn’t my place to tell God what He had to do.  My place was to take my concern and lay it in His hands, and then trust Him.

I had to do what the Lord was telling me to do, within the situation, and not be quite so concerned about what the narcissist was doing.  Yes, it was wrong and it hurt people.  But fixing it was not given to me and telling God what He should do and when He should do it was not my place.  I was humbled and I have not forgotten.

Now, I wasn’t married to this guy.  For the most part, I could avoid him and move on with my life.  So I am not trying to belittle the struggles of those who have to deal with their narcissist day in and day out.  Not at all.  I have respect for your struggle and your perseverance.

But I suspect the answer to my initial question lies somehow in what I learned.  Our part is to pray.  His part is to decide what is best and when.  We pray, not to get something accomplished, but to express our pain.  He hears and He gives comfort to us.  But whether or not He will change our situation remains to be seen.

Why doesn’t God change the narcissist’s heart?  Perhaps He is.  Perhaps He is working, ever so methodically, to convince the narcissist of His love and repair the damage that was done so long ago.  It might take a long time.  And maybe the narcissist isn’t interested in changing.  God won’t force him.  God might actually put more pressure on the narcissist to show him that he needs help.  That pressure may make things seem worse for a while.  The work of the Lord is His work.  He does it His way and in His time.

But He has heard your prayers and He knows your pain.  He loves you and offers you comfort and peace in Him.  To Him you are valuable, even precious.  To Him you are worth loving.  He has not forgotten you and He has not abandoned you.  Come to Him and find what you need, right now in the situation.  Let Him worry about changing the narcissist.  Or not.

61 Comments

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61 responses to “Why Doesn’t God Change the Narcissist’s Heart?

  1. Nan

    I’ve thought it was tough to be the one God uses to work in someone’s life. It’s like working on a stone statue and chiseling away at it to bring out the beauty of the piece. The poor chisel gets hit on one end by the hammer and is hit into the stone at the other end. But notice who is holding that chisel!! It is the artist himself, and in this case it is the Lord who has His hand wrapped firmly around us as He uses us in the lives of others, including our resident narcissist.

  2. Katherine Bennett

    This is a wonderful post.

    I am struck by the thought that God does not change the heart of the narcissist because God created the narcissist with free will and seeks to uphold that gift.

    What is more interesting to me is that God does not change the hearts of those who love a narcissist even after true colors have been exposed again and again. The secular community describes this sort of love as unhealthy codependence, simply because it seems that those who manifest it are nothing but gluttons for punishment. It is true that some “love” is closer to addiction, but my own experience (I have known many Christian narcissists over the years) is that addictive love evaporates if a Christian is truly drinking from the well of living water. Yet- compassionate love remains, and often grows deeper as God allows the experience of suffering that goes along with loving a narcissist transform our own ideas about what love looks like.

    Why wouldn’t God allow love for the narcissist to dry up and blow away so the hearts who suffer as they seek connection with one who can only relate from a place of false image can redirect their hearts energies towards more rewarding efforts? Because God has a plan to use that suffering to draw us closer to Himself. How do we know that the suffering we experience is constructive? If we are brought to our knees to find the strength to bear it. Suffering that is not constructive/masochistic interferes with our desire to be in communion with God through prayer. It isolates, makes bitter, and leads to a hardening of the heart that is the result of pride over playing the martyr.

    It’s not suffering that indicates that our exposure to a narcissist has become an impediment to our walk with God. It’s the hardening of the heart that comes from not turning from despair and asking God to fill our broken places.

    The redemption of a narcissist is an awesome example of the power of God’s love. It is a high stakes game that is lost frequently (the evidence of this being the broken hearts left in the wake of a narcissist who dies alone and miserable), which makes the love that God keeps alive in the hearts of those who see the narcissist truly amazing. Amazing, as in “Amazing Grace”, which I’ve heard was written by a former slave trader who turned to Christ.

    It is also compelling evidence that God has not given up on a narcissist. To allow the suffering of dearly loved children so that a place of grace can always remain should the narcissist abandon the false self and return home. The parable of the prodigal son clearly illustrates to me that there is holiness in bearing the pain of loving one who is willfully oblivious to the destructive consequences of callous actions.

    That love, the one that hurts so much to bear, is the power of Amazing grace. This same grace saved us, as we experienced the love of Christians who came before us, and loved us with a love bigger than their human weakness, because it was given to them by God.

    • Penny

      Katherine, I am sorry, but I have NO idea what you are talking about. I do not mean to be rude, but the God I know allows the N to choose even when the N rejects Him. This is not a “gift”, but rather, natural consequences. Furthermore, God DOES change the hearts of those “who love a narcissist”. He changes our hearts to understand that we are not the Holy Spirit, and it is only HIs Spirit that can penetrate the hard heart of the N. However, narcissist abuse is grievous to God and He wishes to rescue us from us, not abandon us to it. He has “called us to peace”, not to victimhood. The prodigal son was selfish and foolish, but not a N. The prodigal repented. There is a huge difference.

      • Katherine Bennett

        Hi Penny,
        I am sorry if I was unclear. What I meant to express is that God does not take away the free will he gifted all of humanity with just because certain behavior offends him. To change a narcissists heart without the expressed desire on the part of the narcisisst for that change to happen would undermine the free will he gifted us all with.

        The tricky thing about narcissism is that it exists on a spectrum. And like any sin pattern, there are degrees of change that are possible in some cases. And often, it’s easy to call someone a narcissist because we don’t like their behavior. It’s helpful to recognize a pattern of behavior so we can avoid being exploited in the future, but I think throwing around a term like narcissism can be dangerous. When it is misapplied or used as an excuse to completely ignore the dignity of a human life, an ugly sort of self righteousness that is rooted in being a victim can take hold.

        Having dealt with several generations of this behavior pattern in my family I know all too well how resistant to change a narcissist is. Yet- Christ doesn’t call us to forgive seventy times seven unless the person is a narcissist. He does not ask us to be victims- rather He warns his disciples that they are sheep among wolves and need to be wise as a serpent but innocent as a dove. But Christ never gives us permission to strike back. Instead, He asks the seemingly impossible- that we LOVE our enemies.

        For Christ to call us to that sort of love, even towards a narcissist is mind blowing to me. Yet- He does. To me that says that God does not give up on someone until the day of vengeance comes. God never asks something difficult of us (like loving our enemies unless there is a higher purpose).

        But- forgiveness and love are not the same thing as allowing exploitation to continue. It just means that Christians are called to relate to the narcissist from a place of compassionate wisdom, not angry scapegoating. That God would call us to that, and give us the strength the face a toxic enemy from a place of love is what blows my mind. I can’t say I fully wrap my head around the “how” or the “why”- I just think it’s a powerful expression of grace.

    • mother2

      Thank you for this. I believe God sent to me, in a fostering sort of way, a son who is narcissistic. He struggles every moment with the demons that rule his mind, and many abusive memories. The degradation and humiliation, as well as the pain of physical abuse and torment received as a child, follow him as mind hecklers. It’s through God’s love of me, a wretched sinner, that I find it possible to compassionately and unconditionally love him. Because of awareness of the disorder, I have a better insight into how his defensive structures have helped and hurt him from his beginning through adulthood. Many have warned me to stay away, but I couldn’t think of it. I don’t encourage his methods, not at all, but it is clearer as to why he uses them. He is such a fragile shell, yet causes such a wake of destruction. Small steps forward showing unconditional love as well as short, but deep, honest open discussions that aren’t cornering, have brought down very tiny portions of the wall around his soul. I know I have never experienced giving love so selflessly as loving this boy. Having understanding helps. I pray he opens his heart to God, so that he too, will feel love as well.

    • Mic

      Narcissists die alone and miserable. So we have to wait for them to die alone? and miserable? Since we all die alone and bring nothing except what Is Gods decision according what we have done during we are alive.

      • In my experience I noticed quite a few cases that narcissists didn’t die alone and miserable if they were wealthy. And rich or poor, narcissists seem to have a demon like ability to mesmerize and manipulate their direct “supply” people and their “flying monkeys” for a mind-boggling length of time, many to the very end of their lives. But what awaits them after this life? Ah, that may be where the “alone and miserable” bit begins.

    • Jeffro

      That is easy to say unless you were sexually molested by your older narcissus brother and now support the narcissus mother who allowed it to happen because of her toxic self seeking behavior. Also was forced to grow up in a gang infested area while my narcissus mother owned a property with an ocean view that her and my worthless “father” planned the life she “so richly deserved.”

      Save that crap. My hope is that she ends up in hell sooner than later. I’m tired of the pain I’ve been enduring for 50 years.

    • Annette

      I do understand what Katherine is saying. It does astound me that God does not change the heart of the one who loves the narcissist, especially after much prayer to redirect my heart. It saddens me so deeply to think that my narcissist will die miserable and alone, but without change, it is inevitable. How can that be? I believe you are correct, Katherine, that the love God keeps alive in our hearts is compelling evidence that God has not given up on the narcissist. And given He is all-knowing, God knows who will eventually change; my belief is God, as a loving Father, wouldn’t waste my prayers and love on someone who would never change. He does know.

      My prayer is that God washes over my narcissist with His love, that God reveals the truth to him in his head and in his heart, and that God gives him opportunities to build his faith.

      • Georgette

        Annette: My prayer is that God washes over my narcissist with His love, that God reveals the truth to him in his head and in his heart, and that God gives him opportunities to build his faith.
        God can’t do the above if the narcissist heart is dark as coal! Their hearts are hardened to the point of not hearing the knock or the still small voice! I have been advised to pray only if led to pray and not waste time wringing your hands in blind worry and constant prayer over someone who is full of evil and does not hear God, especially after I told the N that he was going down a dark path and that God was not in him. My ex-N doesn’t hear God and feels superior and continues to get his narcissistic supply at the recovery ministry he leads and now that he is going to be a nurse he will get more narcissistic supply. He can get in your space, look you in the eyes and lie without even blinking! He can turn on his tears like a faucet! His fourth is demanding, risky sexual behavior (fits his porn addiction) and condescending ways. Two people who are insecure and depend on each other to fill the void makes for a disaster! By the way I seen a dark spirit go in him in 2015 and 2014 I saw the affects of demonic possession! Narcissist might change just before they die and then they may not.

  3. It took me two years to truly understand that God’s in charge (I’m a slow learner!), and he still has to remind me frequently. This is the prayer (abbreviated) that I now pray for my narcissist:

    “Lord, I forgive ________ for the pain she inflicted on me by her lying, manipulation, and lawlessness. I forgive all those involved in her transgressions. Thank you for showing me that i am not wrong for being distressed by the conduct of the wicked; that you know how to rescue me from these trials even as you know how to punish the guilty. I give all my hurts to you; I confess and repudiate my sins of unforgiveness, bitterness and anger.
    “Please make all things work together for her eternal good. May those promoting and taking part in her sins be ultimately blessed and restored by your correction. May the innocent not be harmed by the offenders’ sins, nor the Kingdom blasphemed by their hypocrisy.
    “I ask that you deliver her from the stronghold of narcissism, heal her personality disorder, and destroy the work the devil has done in her life. Restore her mental and emotional health that she may be able genuinely to love you and to love others as she loves herself.
    “Father, please remove the ungodly, the false teachers, and every unqualified guide from her life. May she be surrounded by the righteous, told the truth, and held accountable in her walk.
    “Lord, if I am to have any future dealings with her, remind me to speak and act toward her reasonably, humbly, gently, and patiently.”

    • Jean

      Dear “A Brother”,
      Thank you for sharing your prayer. I have been agonizing over someone who tells lies and seemingly gets away with it. This person is very manipulative and seems to revel in pulling the wool over others’ eyes. Most are not fooled, and certainly God is not fooled. I am going to save a copy of your prayer as a reminder of how to pray for this person and how to respond in love. It will also serve as a reminder to pray for you in your situation, that love will win, and evil will be overcome by good.

    • Wow…powerful..I pray this for my husband /children’s father

  4. David

    I prayed so hard for 20 years this prayer about my wife ” Please touch her heart with your spirt that she might seek you and find you and know you” but to no avail. When you love someone so deeply and you want and need them to align with you spiritually and it just wont happen it is so heartbreaking. I would often feel betrayed by God and call out “why did you bring this woman to me?” The answer I thought I had received was ” not only did I bring her to you but I brought you to her” When your wife rejects the gift you give her of faithful ,caring, suporting love it just makes you so disallusioned even with God. There is a different lesson I am being taught, my spirit is being convicted, and it makes me feel bad about myself. God is there for me. He is faithful, caring, supportive, and he loves me. He so wants for ME to align with him and I just keep resisting. I want to do what I want to do. All to often I want to go my own way against his will because going my own way makes me feel good, temporarily. I have been so focused on trying to make “her” understand that my gaze is not in the right direction. Maybe that is why all of this is happening to me so God can get my attention. I can’t fix my wife. I need to concentrate on fixing me.

  5. Mary

    I can’t speak for anyone else, let alone God, but I can speak for me 🙂
    I was trained to be a rescuer from an early age. I was also a victim of brainwashing as a child (not ‘something like’ brainwashing- but actual brainwashing) so I was a perfect candidate for Narcissistic/Spiritual abuse as an adult.

    There came a time when I realized what was happening to me and I knew I had to break free but I had no idea ‘how’ to do it. I realized what I was experiencing was strangely familiar to what happened to me when I was a kid. I felt like one all over again- I was very intimidated and also disappointed in myself for letting it happen. (I’ve cut myself some slack since then)

    I didn’t know who I was to God anymore – I only knew what the Narc thought and wanted. He became ‘the voice of god’ to me.
    I actually had to ‘repent’
    I’m not for legalism, I don’t believe the Father to be a Divine Child Abuser who beats His kids for screwing up- but in my specific case, I knew I’d been manipulated yes, but I also knew I had allowed this guy to take God’s place in my life. I asked God to help me ‘Change my mind’ and I told God I was sorry, because I was.

    God has always been kind to me. He’s always been close and happy to comfort me. He is my God, and also the very best friend I’ve ever had 🙂 So I find repentance a healing thing and in this situation it was just that- healing. Still it took a lot of work to untangle myself from the Narcs web.

    The moment I began to withdraw from the Narc leader in my church, he went on the attack (covertly) destroying my reputation there.
    I became the token ‘scarlet women’ among other things (I had no idea about the rumors he was starting or that his gossip was behind the cold treatment I was getting at church)
    Eventually- I found myself more and more desperate to get a hold of what God thought of me. That was when things started to change.

    Our identity is found in Christ- I knew that much ‘in my head’ but how to know that in my innermost being…? That took a long time but- I wasn’t alone anymore. I knew God was for me and that he wasn’t expecting me to do the hard lifting.

    I believe God is willing to ‘change the heart’ of a Narc. But I also believe ‘the heart’ is precisely ‘where’ God speaks: What if no one’s listening?
    At this point, I have no idea what God is up to with that guy (Has he let God in yet? Maybe: maybe not) all I know for sure is God wanted me back and He wanted to change ‘my’ heart and return to me what was stolen AND what I’d given away. He’s just that good!
    Wow, this is a long comment- I hope this is helpful on some level or at least mildly entertaining 🙂

    • Katherine

      I can relate to a lot of your comment. I had to end a relationship with a man who had a lot of narcissistic red flags. He was only happy if he dominated me completely. You are so right about the narcissist being like a false god. They very deliberately coax you to give your power away and it happens in stages.
      My question for you is: what do you do about narcissists in your family? You can end a romantic relationship, but what is the narcissist is your mom? What if you are expected to be the one to provide eldercare for her?
      Some people say that the right thing to do is to cut the narcissist out of your life. But I don’t see any biblical justification for that. My short term solution has been to keep my distance (live in a different state, communicate less) but I am aware that the time is coming for me to have to deal more closely with my mom again.

      • Mary

        That’s hard:( I honestly don’t know what I I’d do.
        The only thing that comes to mind is to decide ahead of time how much you can handle, and only do that much. And I would get as much support as possible. Honoring our parents doesn’t mean allowing abuse-even from an aging parent.
        So, hmm…. having support for yourself as you support your Mom- that would be helpful- and fair. Are there others who could share that load with you?
        Just some thoughts… I’m no expert that’s for sure :/

      • Mary

        PS.. I also have chosen to live a fair distance from my Mom- she is hurtful. Still I love her and I want to have a relationship with her- so I manage the time and effort I spend engaging in that relationship.
        I have to have very good boundaries with her in order to stay ‘healthy’
        I have a husband, kids and a grandchild- I can love and honor my Mom without her becoming the center of my life. I’ve often wondered what it will be like when she needs elder care, and I’m not sure exactly what it will look like, but I do know that I won’t be doing it alone.

      • Mary (et al), I have been sick lately and not answering comments. Sorry. Check out this post from a few months ago. I have written on honoring parents here.

        https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/narcissistic-parents/

    • Cheryl S.

      I hope this guy’s name isn’t Wes because I had a similar experience with such as he worked for a church also. First & hopefully last narcissist I’ll ever date.

    • Alli

      Mary….You have given me comfort. I am struggling after going no contact with my narc. I feel so sorry for him for his childhood and his loneliness but I know feeling that for him will only hinder my recovery. I know God removed this person from my life…without a doubt God saved my sanity…but the pain is still real. Wondering if God will help me in this situation. Can i REALLY depend on God for healing from this? What does he want me to do? I’ve asked….nothing yet.
      I hear about so many different types of healing, but since i am a Christian, I would like for God to help me with this instead of doing alternative therapy that seems so outrageous (but heard it does work).

      • Miss Prayer

        I am glad I see there is a support system here I need one. I have a Narcissistic Mother who I have to love because she’s mother but she is slowly driving me insane. I feel she uses me as her human punching bag. Whenever she she is upset about something I am her number target. This whole entire week was almost like hell. This will be the first yr my dad wasn’t here to share my birthday so yes I was sad and so I decided to turn my ringer off so my mom got ticked off because my ringer wasn’t on and she didn’t feel like leaving a message. A day later after she wanted to stay over my apt. I didn’t want to say yes and I for sure didn’t want to say no and I just said I feel we really don’t get along to spend 24hrs in my small one bedroom apt so I dont know . She flew off the hinges and so I try to calm her down and say mom please understand don’t be upset I don’t want to argue . So I hung up and i had to say to myself okay let me try to pray and calm myself down because now I can’t relax. Then boom she calls this afternoon complaining of being sick and may need me to stay with her. I recommended to her she needs to relax more and look into perhaps getting on an anxiety pill. I didn’t say it nasty I said in the most loving way I could. But she can always tell me how I need to be on an anxiety pill. But I was being serious. My whole childhood she always made me feel on edge and scared. And now my dad’s deceased I am her punching bag and it seems her servant. I am mad, my whole entire life I have lived for my parents when does my life start? I remember one time my dad went away on a Golfing trip and I guess she doesn’t like being by herself so she made up a lie and said a guy I used date called and thought she was me and he started talking about the stuff we did together in my parents home and she said if I didn’t come over to the house she would tell my father when he got back.

  6. Penny

    [Pastor Dave, I am grateful to you for this post, and ask forgiveness if I am crossing the line here with Katherine.] Katherine, I appreciate that you want to clarify your comment[s]; however, the abuse[s] and lack of repentance by a N take love & forgiveness to a different level. To equivocate that abuse with “lesser” offenses and to say it’s “easy to call someone a N simply b/c we don’t like their behavior” and “throwing around a term like narcissism can be dangerous” is disingenuous and is a disservice to those who suffer. Narcissists as discussed here by Pastor Dave, are, in fact, dangerous. They are dangerous b/c they obscure the cross; they harm the cause of Christ by worshipping an idol of themselves; they are first, Christ is not; they increase, while Jesus decreases, yet they claim Him while denying Him. It took me (and many others on this blog) a long time to recognize what was going on with the “Christian N”, much less label them as such, and most of us here are bloodied, bruised, bullied, berated & burdened not only by an unrepentant narcissist, but by a Church that fails to hold them accountable or call them to repentance. The “70 times 70” passage is often quoted incompletely; it actually says this: “Luke the Evangelist adds something in his telling (17:1-6). Jesus ends his lesson with a far different warning: “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times a day returns to you, saying ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”* The key word usually omitted [by the well-meaning] is the word “repent”. In this passage, Jesus tells us first to “rebuke” your brother; to hold them accountable, to call them into repentance: that IS love. In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus tell us how to carefully pursue reconciliation, & ends with the truth that “if he refuses to listen…let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer”. This means to ignore them or walk away–that too, IS love. Matthew 10 tells us to shake the dust off our feet in protest to those who “refuse to heed”. Paul the Apostle tells us “not to associate with any so-called brother…not even to eat with such”. That may look like “giving up”, but it is a radical call to repentance. Perhaps the natural consequences of the N being “alone and miserable” is exactly what God requires to draw the N to Himself. (I know that I met God when I was alone and miserable, & if others had kept telling me I was okay, they would have interfered with that.) So, the N essentially refuses the gospel b/c they refuse to repent. To ignore that is not love, but appeasement. We are not called to appeasement but to Truth. The N wants to “win”, he/she wants power and control. In Christ, we want reconciliation, & release power and control to Him. The cause of Christ is Truth and redemption; the cause of the N is idolatry and falsehood. Christ calls us unto Him & into forgiveness and redemption and fellowship and Truth; the N demands we look away from Jesus to focus on their insatiable demands. Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light; the N’s yoke is heavy & burdens us incessantly. This is the spiritual battle that causes the dissonance for those of us in Christ. It is agonizing and we do have compassion on the N, but it is not our job the “fix” them, and we must follow the example of Jesus: He often walked away, He often ignored, He refused [to do] miracles b/c of unbelief, He had righteous anger at those who confused worship with “stuff”, He exposed the religious who postured for appearances (Luke 20), He allowed Lazarus to die to demonstrate His power, & He ultimately sent the Holy Spirit. I do not want to get in the way of the Holy Spirit, which may look to some like I have “given up” when in reality, I have “given to” Jesus what is His to do. Jesus did not come to make good men better, but to make dead men alive. Pastor Dave recently wrote of the Fall, and how Adam & Eve became the “walking dead”; that “apart from Christ, we are the walking dead.” Christ alone makes us alive in Him and dead to flesh, yet the N clings to rotting flesh. Only God can change that! My sin has been in thinking that I could. I have a long way to go, and often stumble on this road, but I want to keep my eyes on Jesus, not the N.
    I can be a stubborn disciple, and am grateful for Pastor Dave for his wisdom and guidance. I end with a quote from this article: “Indeed, because of the pervasiveness of sin and evil, Christian forgiveness must be at once an expression of commitment to a way of life, the cruciform life of holiness in which we seek to “unlearn” sin and learn the ways of God”…. This is my desire. Grace and mercy and blessings~
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/october/28.40.html

    • trish

      I agree with you. We are told to love, he does not want us to hate. There is no middle ground, if we hate them, he is against us. It does not mean give way to them or associate with them. We are not to let the actions of others excuse the way we react to them. If we love those who love us, hate those who hate us, we are just mirroring them. As for how we are, we are judged by him according to how we are. If we let others decide how we are living, we are giving them dominion over us. We are to rebuke, we are to show them their ways if they are wrong. The modern church is polluted with the ones who are wrong, they are accepted. It is not right that offenders expect forgiveness, it is not for the taking on their part. Unless we repent, we cannot be forgiven. If you forgive them, you are free. Unless they repent, that forgiveness will not come their way. To forgive is to free yourself, the rest is up to God.

    • dennis wadkins

      Those who omit the word repent are NARKS. They vie for high places were they can control others. Dan_4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
      There is nothing more base than a NARK. Even the animals have more EMPATHY than a NARK.
      Dan 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
      This is what man looks like without the mind of GOoD. Yes, honey men are beasts.

  7. Katherine

    Hi Penny-

    I fully appreciate that to tolerate a toxic narcissist within the context of a Christian community is unacceptable. Doing that leads to the extraordinary damage the pattern of covering up pedophile priests by the Catholic church. As believers we are called to boldly name evil, and renounce it. To deliberately coexist with it is to chose to allow evil to flourish.

    When I talk about the Christian call to forgive the narcissist, I am not talking about welcoming the narcissist back into community if repentance has not happened. Instead, the issue I am talking about is Christ’s call to love our enemies. Sometimes love takes the form of speaking the truth and allowing natural consequences to follow. Narcissists certainly do not deserve to be protected from the “bad fruit” their actions have set in motion.

    Because I have had to deal with narcissism for many years (I come from a family of internationally recognized evangelicals – my last name is not my maiden name, so that is why I speak openly) and have seen the ugliness of Christian narcissism drive a dearly loved aunt to suicide because the family scapegoated her in its frantic attempts to preserve image, I do not believe that a “head in the sand” approach is EVER constructive.

    My solution to the incredible internal conflict of seeing the hypocrisy of Christian leaders within my family was to marry at 20 and pretty much cut my family out of my life. Little did I know that to run from generational sin patterns when you are already wounded would lead to an “out of the frying pan and into the fire” experience for me.

    Rather than bore everyone with the ins and outs of a long story of repeatedly dealing with this sin pattern in multiple individuals I will say this: as I draw closer to God, and he reveals to me the sin in my own heart I see that nobody is without sin. My years long crusade against hypocrisy had an ugly side effect- blocking the sin of unforgiveness in my own heart.

    Forgiveness is not ignoring evil and walking back into a situation from a place of vulnerability. Forgiveness is fully accepting the pain associated evil leaves in its wake. It’s about suffering that you bear, instead of letting it harden into self righteousness that leads you to deny that the narcissist is still a child of God. Vengeance is MINE, says God. Not ours, no matter how much it hurts to continue to see the narcissist as a human being who God is capable of redeeming. The apostle Paul is a case study for me in the importance of not labeling another person as an incurable narcissist.

    While self protection is wise if you are dealing with things purely on a secular level, it short circuits our ability to participate in God’s grace. As Christians we cross a line into judgment that is sinful when we stop focusing on individual actions being toxic, and declare the person a narcissist and therefore beyond mercy. That is a sin I have engaged in, and one I openly repent for.

    Only God knows what is beneath the surface. Only God knows if a heart is beyond redemption. As Christians, I believe that calls us to be “wise as serpents” (to not deceive ourselves about the toxicity of narcissistic behavior) but “innocent as doves” in that we ALWAYS keep our hearts open to the possibility that the narcissist is simply living the middle of his/her story, and that God is working to soften the heart. Forgiveness to me does not mean excusing horrible acts- rather, it is the deliberate effort to deal with bitterness within our own hearts so that the capacity for God’s mercy to be manifested through human forgiveness that follows the genuine repentance of a redeemed narcissist.

    • I consider the “loving our enemies” instruction to be primarily for victims’ benefit, and who knows, it might someday be of divine help to the narc. At the very least the loving soul’s behavior may be contributing to fill the Most High’s cup of wrath towards the narc. And at the very greatest it may be elevating the “used and abused’s” loving soul to the greatest heights of spiritual life, light and love. In my understanding, evil does not succeed when it tortures or even kills its victims, but only when it causes its victims to also do evil and become evil as well.

      I believe that “loving your enemies” does not include continuing to take the narc’s abuse if/when there is an honorable way out. Neither does it include assisiting, covering for or otherwise enabling a narcissit to look good socially or do well professionally. You do not owe them that although the responsibility and guilt they heap on you probably has you convinced otherwise. Trust in and cleave to Christ, be armed with a clear conscience, and if you can, separate yourself and innocent loved ones from the narc. If you cannot, then I, and I suspect may others on this site, will be praying for you.

  8. Katherine

    also- Penny
    – That was an excellent link that you posted at the bottom of your last comment. For what it’s worth, I think you and I may be more aligned in our views about narcissism than you might expect- my focus on forgiveness that may seem excessive to you has a lot to do with my personal journey after dealing with narcissists for many years and allowing my own heart to be hardened. The final line of the CT link you posted about the acceptance that ultimately- only God is good rings very true for me as I confront my own reactive sin that was the result of experienced narcissism.

    • Penny

      I agree, Katherine, & I am truly sorry for your pain & experience & what you have suffered. I will pray for you on your journey.
      There is much I need to “un-learn” & to ponder & I am grateful for your willingness to interact with me, and, really, with all of us here. This is the only “safe” place I have found on my own journey with N that honors Jesus first while affirming I am not crazy or alone–where we who follow Pastor Dave’s posts can cry & share & encourage & vent & question, as we are all “in process”. It is quite a community & I am so very grateful God led me here. Blessings on you, & on all the “followers” here.

  9. M

    It was raining today..and i asked gid to change his heart and make him merciful or give me strength to endure his cruelity. I know god is willing and he will help me becauseI want to believe that.

  10. The last serving of wheat

    Hi all, the narcissist condition may be seriously deficient wired brain, like a misprogrammed computer. They simply cannot control the outcome of their thought patterns. For this reason we may need to look at them as human being that isnt a human being in the normal sense, and downsize expectations. Maybe they are broken in terms of the heart-mind connection that most people are fortunate enough to have. They may be living in constant pain-hell and have to dump or off load some of this on others because it is so over whelming. Seeing their deficiency they probably would like to change but have no leads, clues, or tools. For example food allergies like gluten/wheat have caused gradual brain tissue damage from a young age in some mentally ill instances with various types of mental disorders, but if the victim isnt aware of the problem it festers. I know because this happened to me, a gluten allergy lead to slow but steady inflammation near the inner wall of the skull and progressive brain tissue damage until the diagnosis at 25 years old, it caused my mind to “under perform” with MS and schizophrenia. 19 years later and lots of brain food i am Heart Mind connected!

  11. Don

    I really identify with your surprise when you heard God say “Or not!” He spoke to me like that a number of times over several years. He gave me answers I didn’t want to hear, and quite bluntly.

    It became obvious he was showing me my tendency to pray out of a place of fear — fear of losing comfort, losing face, losing selfishness, etc. I wanted God to keep me from having to experience the normal things of life in a fallen world. He showed me that I, in essence, wanted him to be my personal genie who would keep me comfortable, proud and lazy. He refused to play that role.

    I’m glad he gave me some tough-love, not letting me wallow in my immaturity and pride. He did that by refusing to answer my prayers the way I demanded, but instead asked me questions. They led me to answer him with honest insights that exposed my ridiculous self-centeredness.

    He was so kind to perform this spiritual surgery internally – he didn’t embarrass me in front of others. But he was, nevertheless, quite focused. It was very painful to endure, but I suppose that was the pain of surgery to cut away not-yet-dead “flesh.”

  12. rubi

    i cant help but cry reading this i feel so alone please God help me my father is suffering from being a narcissist and there is nothing i can do to help. He hates me because i found love and i am willing to marry but no matter what happens he still hates me he says such words that hurt me so much i can hardly breath because i am crying. I will leave soon and leave him with his narcissistic heart he does not want me near him so there is nothing i can do. I just pray everyday that he has a change of heart i will always forgive him for he has always treated me wrongfully *he is a strong smoker and alcoholic who is verbally abusive*. My heart just hurts because my own father hates me but i will never be angry with him may God bless him and always keep him when he passes away may he find the peace of mind every human being deserves.

    Amen

    • trish

      I understand where you are coming from. I will say this after considering my own troubles with some one who was the same as your father. By all means talk to God, but do not let it become the only focus in your life. Do not let their woes and troubles fill your mind. Step back and let God work, let God know how you feel and then focus on your life and the people around you. Do not be bogged down with how your father is. You seem to be carrying this around like a heavy burden on your back, it seems like you are forgetting yourself and the ones around you. Lift it up and then let it be. I don’t believe he hates you, his self hatred is being directed at you. Many transfer their own feelings on to others, do not take it personally. If you listen to God when you pray, he will tell how it really is and you will have peace. He is abusing his body, he might hate himself deep down. Be at peace and do not let your life pass you by at this time.

  13. Repol

    This may be my favorite of your posts about narcissism.

  14. Innocent Bystander

    My interpretation of God’s “or not!” reply is different than yours. God’s reply to you suggests to me that he is saying that narcissists are not only turning their backs on earthly love, but have made deeper, spiritual choice to turn back on God, for which he has given narcissist free will. This suggests to me that narcissism reflects not so much a mental illness (which is how it is manifested here on earthly plane) rather more of a spiritual condition too. I am just saying this is another possible explanation?

  15. Afton Williams

    I am currently in a co=parenting relationship with someone who I believe to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This was AWESOME! I have been praying and praying for God to do something and change this man. However, it is up to God and I must trust and believe that he knows what he is doing. This was a powerful post. Thank you so much!

  16. Or not seems to be the word for me, sadly, as I saw he was damaged by his family but didn’t know how to deal with his anger. He betrayed and dumped me, a means he used to avoid being abandoned ( not that I ever would have cheated on him). Now I know how broken God’s heart is over all who refuse his love. That is the only love I can lean into now to mend my heart. 38 years leaves a huge chasm only God can fill.

  17. Pamela

    My husband who is Pastoring our church is a narcissist. This is all new to me. Excuse my ignorance but I never anything about this NPD. My kids and I are badly effected by this as well as the church. There is very little growth. I have just been giving grace after one blow to the blow. Don’t know right now how to go forward with church. Alot of people did get hurt and are getting hurt. How do I watch this and do nothing. I am in shock and just don’t know what to do. Been praying n fasting. Nobody knows about this. Appreciate some direction.

    • Pamela, my heart goes out to you. I was right where you are a few years ago. Our church failed, but he still fails to see the truth. We have been separated for a year. I had to go and get counseling on my own. I will pray for you and your family. You are not alone. God Bless

    • Penny

      Pamela–I am so sorry for your pain. It grieves all of us who understand & we feel it with you. I agree with the responses of others to you, & would encourage you to keep reading & visiting this blog. This blog and another,”Crying out for Justice”, literally saved my life & gave me hope & strength & clarity & wisdom.

      Be aware that some posts will “trigger” deep emotions in you. That’s ok. Pastor Dave is a gifted and dear teacher of Biblical truth, & his voice brings clarity & grace. The Holy Spirit works in Truth, and much truth is told here!

      I will provide another link for you with that same warning: it may trigger deep emotion but it may also begin to refine & clarify for you what seems to be only confusion. God is not the author of confusion, but of truth and grace. He desires us to know Him, to know Christ, and in that way we should grow & become MORE like Jesus. If we are constantly being confused, that quenches the Holy Spirit & blocks us from Jesus & so is not of God.

      Here is the link, & I will pray for you to keep feeding your soul the truth of His word instead of the lies of the enemy:

      http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/02/22/more-thoughts-on-wolves-hiding-among-the-flock-by-jeff-crippen/

    • Pamela

      Thank you Cheryl for you reply. There are such lovely people in the church and sadly they true love him and look up to him. He has favorites in the church and my heart goes out to those he dislikes because he does not give them any time of day. For the last seven years I have seen people come and go, anyone in the leadership that he dislikes ends up leaving. He treats them so bad with his actions that they leave. this is going on and on and on.

    • dennis wadkins

      About all you will do is lose weight. It’s a control issue. They are everywhere one is premitted to control others. The job, the church, the government, the home, and etc. They will cry and say I’m sorry, the academy goes to the NARK.

  18. Kitkat

    Pamela, I would read through many of the posts on this blog. It will give you some idea of what others have been through and how you can relate. In particular read through the “Christian Narcissist” Pastor Dave may be able to give you more insight and you can message him via the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the page. You are in those first confusing moments of knowing now what you are dealing with, and the “where do I go from here?” question. We have all been there. There are some wonderful people who comment on here and who may feel a kinship with what you are going through. I have received some great advise from these kindred spirits here and they have helped to save my sanity. This is a place of safety and comfort, I love this blog. Praying for you and your situation, hang in there, you are not alone.

  19. Pamela

    Thank you kindly. Please pray for me.

  20. P

    Hi,
    I have been in a narcissistic relation where this man (who claims to be a christian) wanted to end the marriage in two months just because he could not get his way. It took me 6 months to understand why he is punishing me. He deserted me and does not want the relation. Its been 2 yrs 9 months now. He says things that are unfair still about me and though I want It has been the most challenging time of my life. Its been almost three years and today I got to know a very sad remark he made about me. My reaction was Lord, I am ok to let this man go but you have to deal with him. I happen to read your article and God spoke to me.. Its not my concern whether he deals with him or not but just to trust Him to make something beautiful out of the suffering that I am going through.

    • Jes

      Hi P
      Yes that is the hard part. It’s Gods job to work in their lives, not ours. In fact that has been my own personal lesson, which I continue to learn and understand – I CANT CONTROL this man, it’s Gods job to allow opportunities in this mans life for him to turn from his hate and start asking God to help him

  21. Jes

    Thank you for writing that article about narcissists.
    The pain just gets worse and my cries louder to God.
    Why can’t I find the strength to leave this evil man? Because I really don’t want to, and yet the pain and rejection just get worse

  22. Miss Prayer

    I have prayed and vented to God and I do trust he’s working out, but having a Narcissistic Mother who you pray for daily and uses scare tactics on u and then once your scared and feeling anxiety she will then say “not her problem”. Sometimes I feel I want to cut her off so I can have a much better happier life but I feel guilty. Since my dad’s death I feel now the weight is on me it’s a heavy burden that has left me drained physically and mentally. To the point after running errands for her and dealing with her rage I am tired and all I want to do is sleep. She loves picking fights with me or trying to see if she can get a rise out of me for her own enjoyment and I am seriously at the end of my rope. I have tried to express this to her but she starts to say what does that have to do with her ? I feel like I’m in a very abusive relationship I can’t escape from.

    • Penny

      Miss Prayer: I empathize with your situation, but also want to encourage you. PLease keep reading thru the many posts here and the replies of others who have a narc for a parent.
      While you cannot change your mother, you CAN change how you respond (or don’t respond) to her. I have a toxic MIL, and eventually went “No Contact”. That was after nearly 40 years of abuse. It took a long time to get to that decision & I did a lot of reading learning and praying and crying. Going NC is not for everyone, but I realized that if I wanted to survive, literally, then I had to. Your mom (as you describe her behavior) is using every trick in the book to shame & guilt you into doing her bidding. That is not of God.
      I went NC over 3 years ago & am stronger for it. I have written about it several times here on this blog (as have others). It may help you to keep reading here and then link to other references as well.
      None of us are called to be abused for the pleasure of another. Even if its your mother! You can still honor a parent while limiting contact.
      Be safe. Learn, read, pray, grow.
      But start by setting boundaries, without apologies. It’s ok. Really, it’s more than ok—it’s necessary. Do a search on “boundaries with a narc” and then get started…small at first, but be firm. You CAN do it.
      Selah

      • New Creature

        My N is my MIL. There are also unhealthy dynamics in my relationship with my dependent personality mother. This site, reading the Word and prayer have all really helped me understand that it is ok to set boundaries with parents. Especially with unbelievers, we do them a disservice when we allow them to continue to abuse us b/c they are just heaping up sin that they will have to answer for at the judgement. There is a fine line between honoring and enabling. What my MIL considers honoring, would just enable her to heap up more sin. I have learned to think in terms of legacy when I am trying to decide how to deal with her. Will my action toward her (i.e.: rolling over and caving in to her) help her to leave a better legacy or not? Usually not, and I know that it is ok to respectfully refuse her request/demand. I have also learned that unbelieving Ns can also be “fools” and “the wicked” and we have to pay attention to scripture that addresses these people as well. “Honor your father and mother” is not the only scripture we need to obey when our parent is an N (btw, many well-meaning believers don’t get this.)

        Another thing I have found helpful is a book by a secular author that was recommended by a Christian therapist: Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward. This book has helped me in my relationship with my MIL as well as my mother. As I understood how my reactions to them poured gasoline on the fire of our relationships, I understood how I could change my reactions and diffuse (somewhat) our conflict.

        We are currently not in contact with MIL. We have not declared that we have gone no contact, we have just told her that we want a relationship with her that does not include her brand of abuse. She is not willing to give up abusing us and so we are not having contact. We did not want it to come to that, but it is ultimately her choice.

        You will see on this site over and over again “set and keep good boundaries.” It is good advice. Maybe you can find a wise person who can help you decide what they should be, what will keep you sane and what you can enforce. And them KEEP them. Ns are like toddlers; if you give in once, they see the chink in your armor and they know they can get to you in the future. You can’t give in EVEN ONCE.

        Hope this helps.

  23. My wife has NPD and I feel very alone. When I have had all I can stand of her special rules that apply only to her and her selective use of th bible I lash out and confront her treatment of me. He verbal abuse, her making everything we do about herself. Her devaluation of my feelings and my personhood. We have 4 children and 12 years together. I am in constant emotional pain. How can I survive this?

  24. Girsch

    I am so glad to have stumbled (God’s work) on this site. Especially since it’s one that’s so recently updated. Many blogs have ceased in 2013 and later etc.
    My ex Narc is a Christian too. Even attended Bible school a few years ago, so she knows she has a Father in God, whom she can turn to, but she refuses. Needless to say, like many of you, I have never felt so betrayed and deceived in all of my life. I can honestly say, with all my heart, that I have never been so close to anyone so vile, immoral, wicked, deceitful, pathologically untruthful…and I could go on…in all my life, but who claimed (and had me believing) the opposite all along.
    The pieces all fit because of her, abuse under parents, substance abuse, alchoholism, promiscuity etc. Some of this I had to accept under the harshest of terms.

    From the start, one of the most prominent facets of our relationship was that I could sense its spirituality. I really thought it was from God, until a family member, under the guidance of the HS told me that I was too close to what I shouldn’t have been that close to – the existence of Principalities. This was very early on and it became more and more evident throughout the relationship, through dreams and a tense atmosphere every time I was around her.
    God places these red flags so that when we are in a place of restoration and reminiscence, we can clearly see that He has been there all along, and still is.
    Mine even told me she would destroy me. I know that those were the voices of the demonic, since I experienced the extremeness of the false self and the rage and injury, on a level that could not possibly be from this world.
    The secular term is narcissism. As Christians, we know we don’t wrestle against flesh.

    God is still in charge, though, and I have faith in His ‘working things out for good’…in accordance with His will. Whatever He decides that is.

    The family member I spoke of earlier whom had received such an intuitive gift from God had been one of the most wayward people I knew. I recall my Dad saying to him many years ago ‘if you surrender to the Lord, you will be so dynamic for Him’, and today, he is just that. A tool in the hands of the potter who created and shaped him for the purpose he is now being used – in the service of the King. So, your Narc may very well be in a stringent boot camp (not to be made light of), until God says it is time. Time for them to be dynamic, because they would have become so equipped.

    So, brothers and sisters, be conscious – Our God is not sleeping. He is ever present and ever vigilant and He is absolutely working behind the scenes.
    Those of you who are victims, receive your freedom because it is a gift from God. It’s a struggle for me every day, but there are so many others living broken, in harems.
    If you were in a Narc relationship, know that Your God has brought you out of it for a greater purpose. Let Him mould you to tell your story.

    • Girsch

      Georgette, I can relate 100% to your experiences. I have been down the road of lies and deceit, of betrayal, of demonic manifestation, of compromising the boundaries of what I knew a relationship should look like… As a Christian though, I do believe that My God is Almighty and He is All Powerful. Yes, the Bible does warn against developing a caloused heart and toying with the almost, ‘point of no return’ reality, for people who are so deep into sin. But, even in this, let us not look past the attributes of our God. I have witnessed hopeless situations, seen ‘past desperate’ scenarios, can testify to rebellion so intense, that we’d have written some people off. But, for the love of God, His hand of discipline in the life of the stubbornest person, and the transforming power of Jesus’ blood. When your heart is as hard and as dark as coal, one touch of the revelation of God will invade even that. These days, I don’t pray that God would turn around the lives of those who are close to me and inlove with their sin. Instead, I ask God to visit them. To reveal His Glory to them. How can anyone but drop to their knees and anguish about their sin at the tangibility of the presence of God?
      All, though, in the will of God. If He grants my prayers, my faith would be build up so much, but, if he chooses not to, He would have expanded my trust in Him, because He knows better, and I have countless testimonies, in hindsight, of Gods fingerprints all over my past, to attest to that.

  25. Mike

    God never punishes the conceited, the arrogant, the righteous, the corrupt, the adulterers,etc.,instead he love these people and continue hurting other people. God wants us to avoid these kind and move on with our lives.

  26. Confused and hurt

    My husband of 12 years is exactly like the person you described 😪. I have so many mixed feelings inside feeling so confused about my marriage. So sad to see the husband that I married become a person I don’t know anymore. A part of me want to leave so bad but I have three young children with him, and for me to leave will devastate my children. I feel so alone because I’m embarrassed to share all of what he has done yet I continue to stay. Please send some prayers my way!

    • Confused and Hurt…My heart goes out to you because when I was married 12 years, (I am now married 28) I had two small children and didn’t want a broken family…I tried to get him into counseling which he finally agreed to when I threatened to leave. We reconciled but things were only better for a little while. He told me recently that that was the most difficult time of his life because he had to “act” differently…Anyhow, during the time I thought was better I got pregnant again so now we have three children, (the youngest 15.) These years have had many ups and downs and maybe it was good that I didn’t even know about NPD until recently but I can honestly say that I am glad we have stayed together, (as long as there is no physical abuse). I realize that emotional abuse can be worse but if you can get the support of a counselor or good books to learn how to disarm him, you may be able to manage…I found research recently that said that the children of a NPD parent were better off in an unbroken home with one healthy parent than in a broken home, so that made me feel better. The important thing would be for you to learn how to protect your children and yourself. I know some will disagree with this, but a broken home is difficult too. You will still have to deal with him even if you leave…There are no perfect answers here…I am still in the same dilemma but have decided to stay for the time being. I pray for him, the kids, and me and I will pray for you too! I only realized what I am dealing with a couple of months ago through my 20 year old daughter’s therapy…I was shocked, so I know what you are going through! Definitely surround yourself with loving support!

      • Lea Anna Curtis

        I agree. As long as there is no physical abuse and the emotional abuse isn’t really bad, and he wants you to stay, then yes, I believe it will be better in the long run. I believe it will be better on the children, too. I think the children will need to do a lot of talking with you and you can talk to them in private about out the things their dad does that is not pleasing to God, so they will be aware that they don’t accept that as normal, and help them to cope and you all can pray always that God will bring him to a point that he will change. Prayers for you!

  27. Lea Anna Curtis

    I will pray for you. I am so sorry for what you are going through. May God give you wisdom and help in dealing with your situation. All situations are different, but God knows just what to do with yours. Cry out to God, and ask for His help….and I will bd praying with you.

  28. Lea Anna Curtis

    Pastor Dave…please watch ‘Love is Complicated”. It is a movie they show on Hallmark sometime. The character, Edward, has got to be a narcissist. It is really an example of how they can act. I would like for you to watch it and see if you agree with me.

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