Call it Evil

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

 

Narcissism is hard to believe.  It seems so strange, so perverse.  Sometimes it’s the intensity that amazes us.  Sometimes it’s the tenacity.  Sometimes it is the careful manipulation, the long-term investment of the narcissist.  Who can do these things?  What kind of person is this?  What is this horror we call narcissism?

Call it evil.

We have little hesitation in calling some things evil.  Murder, rape, trafficking, drug dealing, corporate greed—evil is a word widely used in our culture.  In all these things we refer to behavior that is so abhorrent to our thinking that we simply cannot identify with the perpetrator.  Who sends a letter bomb?  What kind of person can cheat an older person out of her life’s savings?  Who could light a cat on fire?  These are evil acts.

Narcissism is evil.

Most of us are uncomfortable with thinking of certain people as evil.  We were taught that everyone can be redeemed, that there is the potential of good in everyone.  The only evil one was the devil.  The rest of the cruel and inhumane people were just deceived by him.  So the most we could ever say would be:

Narcissists do evil things.

And I suppose that’s enough.  If you are uncomfortable labeling another person as evil, that’s okay.  As long as it doesn’t hinder your ability to see that person’s actions as evil.  It is important to recognize evil when it comes into our lives.

But the Scripture doesn’t seem to have any problem labeling people as evil, does it?  Evil people do evil things.  Some stand against the Lord boldly.  Some hurt others.  Some are disgusting and vile.  Perhaps they can change, if they allow Jesus to change them, but the Scripture doesn’t seem to have much difficulty calling them evil.

Evil actions are almost normal in the life of the narcissist.  Lies, cruelty, manipulations, boasting, hatred, and the list goes on.  In fact, I pulled out a few verses you might find interesting.  Do you think these are reasonable descriptions of narcissism?

Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psalm 38:20 Those also who render evil for good, They are my adversaries, because I follow what is good.

 Proverbs 6:14 Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord.

 Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

 Micah 2:1 Woe to those who devise iniquity, And work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, Because it is in the power of their hand.

 Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

1 Timothy 6:4-5 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

James 4:16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

 

These seem like pretty good descriptions of narcissistic behavior to me.  What do you think?

Narcissism is evil.

Does it really help to call something evil?  Yes!  It helps because we so often don’t know what to call it.  The scapegoating, the gaslighting, the projection, the lies—these are evil things.  That’s why they don’t make sense in our minds or hearts.  The motivation behind them is evil and we don’t understand.  And not only do we not understand, we don’t want to understand.  Who wants to know the feelings that motivate someone to do evil?  Not me.

The Scriptures teach of two spiritual realms: good and evil.  There are people who live in evil, who so identify with evil that we can call them evil.  There are people who appear to be good . . . sometimes.  Sometimes they reach into the realm of evil to bring out behaviors and ideas.  According to the gospel, we were all a part of evil, living in that realm, until Jesus saved us.  Today, the memories and flesh-patterns of evil are still with us and still try to pull us back.  The battle between good and evil is part of this broken world.

But if you are trying to understand narcissistic behavior while defining it as part of the good, you will forever miss the point.  There is no good in narcissism.  There might be explanations for the evil behavior, but it is still evil.

Call it evil.

 

 

 

31 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

31 responses to “Call it Evil

  1. Victoria Cameron

    Thanks so much! Needed to hear that today!

    May I add the following verse:)

    John 4:12

    Happy V-Day!

    Sent from my iPhone. 🌹 Victoria

    “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh ~

    John 3:16👼

    “The Greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” Socrates

    Go confident in the directions of your dreams, live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

    >

  2. Pam Musser

    Well written!!!
    It’s hard to wrap your mind around this behavior…but well understood when living close to someone who behaves that way and yet manages to deceive most everyone else around.Thank you for understanding and putting words as to just how evil it is.

  3. Amen! Thank you! We don’t use the word “evil” lightly when it comes to labeling a person. But in the case if a narcissist, we must for our own protection and recovery from narcissistic abuse. If we take their behavior lightly and excuse it, we run the risk of being victimized again by the SAME evil person!! We can’t be afraid to call something what it is! Thank you! Namaste!

  4. prodigalkatherine

    And yet… narcissism exists on a spectrum. Narcissistic acts may be evil but nobody can ever know the mystery of the Holy Spirit who works beneath the surface, bringing to fruition seeds that were planted when the narcissist did not have their evil returned for evil.

    I am scared a bit by this post. And it’s hard for me to admit this because this blog (more than any other community on or offline) has been such a source of healing for me. I am afraid that it reinforces the worst parts of me- in particular, the part of me that think she “has someone’s number” and that my understanding of that person based on a series of actions at a specific time is the “truth” about the state of their soul. Something tugs at my heart here…

    There is no doubt that everyone who is a “regular” reader of this blog has been touched by the evil a narcissist brings. So I don’t want to minimize that in any way. I don’t want to shy away from calling evil acts evil. Every destructive act that characterizes a narcissist’s behavior is evil in the sense that it is sinful. Yet… I have to ask this even though I know I will likely push a lot of buttons people don’t want pushed… What separates the sin of a narcissist from the sin the rest of us commit? Are their acts more evil than the acts of a non narcissist?

    My hunch is that what really upsets us most is the idea of narcissist as predator. We can forgive the loose morals that don’t touch us and break our hearts. It’s far easier to separate the sin from the sinner (so we can still authentically love the sinner) when the sins of the sinner have not touched us directly and wounded us in a very personal way. Narcissists have an ugly pattern of deception that follows their selfishness that leads to attempts to annihilate the voices of their victims. But are they so different from the rest of us who are terrified and broken and desperately in need of redemption?

    Well, in terms of feeling those things- perhaps yes. Perhaps it is easier to be a narcissist in the present moment and to block out all the terror that comes with coming face to face with your sinfulness and facing the consequences rather than seeking a convenient scapegoat. But the compulsive nature of the narcissist seems so perfectly exemplified by Paul’s statement “For what I hate I do” because of the sinful nature alive in him. As I read and study about Paul I am struck by the fact that as Saul (and even sometimes as Paul) there is a great first century case study of narcissism. Yet God still used him. God chose to open his eyes after blinding him on the road to Damascus.

    Internally I recoil at the fact that God may be alive and at work in the life of my persecutors. Yet I wonder about first century martyrs whose lives where cut short by Saul. What would they say about a God who uses even the most horrid, evil, and self righteous man who was directly responsible for sending early Christians to their deaths? Saul was certainly pretty far along the narcissistic spectrum if you judge him purely by his “fruit”. And yet- God chose to work mightily in his life on the road to Damascus.

    I worry that resorting to calling the narcissist (apart from his/her acts) evil instead of simply focusing on the behavior. Had we done that to Saul, we would’ve overlooked a magnificent witness to the power of God’s grace to the “worst” sinner. I am not a huge fan of Saul (or even Paul). Both men seem abrasive and self focused to the extreme. Even after conversion, Paul continued to alienate those he ministered with. (I wonder if Silas would’ve found his way to this blog in modern times…) I don’t know what to think about Paul, quite honestly.

    But I can not dismiss the fact that God intervened powerfully in this apparently “evil” man’s life and that intervention was the catalyst for the gospel being spread. I don’t know what that means beyond the fact I don’t think it’s for human minds to judge someone “evil” apart from their acts.

    • “What separates the sin of a narcissist from the sin the rest of us commit? Are their acts more evil than the acts of a non narcissist?”

      Nothing and no. All sin is evil, isn’t it? However, the narcissist uses this to twist our thinking. Somehow we accept that what we do is evil, but then we explain away what he does. He has reasons, often based on what we did. It’s our fault. Poor guy, he didn’t really have a choice. He had to do it.

      No. That’s not right. His actions are evil.

      I think part of the reason we struggle against labeling someone as evil is that we have the idea that evil people are permanently corrupted and without hope. If that were true, then no one would be saved. As you point out, narcissists who come to the Lord can be saved just as anyone else. That doesn’t make what they do less evil.

      It is important that we call this what it is. Give the narcissist all the breaks you want, but say with boldness that his actions are evil. I have worked with so many victims who have told me how wonderful their narcissists are, except for their actions and attitudes. I have been told how empathic the narcissist is; when, by definition, that can’t be true.
      Good people fight for compassion. We want to be caring and accepting. We don’t want to think harshly, even of those who hurt us. There is a need in us to be good and we define good as being compassionate, no matter how it opens us to abuse. Sometimes we just need to let our natural abhorrence of the evil we see move us away from those who do it. Sometimes our nice versions of compassion are not the answer.

      Katie, your heart wants to love and that is good and right. I appreciate your concerns here. My post was not to label people as evil (even though the Scripture does so), but to be sure that we label the behavior as evil. That allows us to move away from it without justifying it. That explains and accepts the revulsion we feel toward the things the narcissists do.

      I have always allowed that narcissists can respond to the change Jesus can bring. Even if I were to call narcissists “evil people,” I would still believe that Jesus can do anything in their lives if they let Him. They could, as Scripture often pleads, leave their evil deeds behind and walk according to the Spirit.

      You said, “But the compulsive nature of the narcissist seems so perfectly exemplified by Paul’s statement “For what I hate I do” because of the sinful nature alive in him.” I find this puzzling. How many narcissists have you heard say that they hate what they do to people? Instead, I hear them rationalizing and blaming, as I mentioned above. Paul hated his actions in the flesh because he understood that he was no longer that person they represented. He did them from time to time, but he no longer accepted them as himself. Rarely have I heard narcissists make such a statement and those who do must be pointed to the cross and the One who changes us.

      Thanks for the comment! Something good to think through.
      Dave

      • prodigalkatherine

        Yes- I agree. It’s very important to not allow our understanding of this “disorder” to keep us from calling a spade a spade. Evil acts are the result of a personality controlled by the father of lies. No question there.

        But I think of the hymn “Amazing Grace” and how it was written by a former slaveowner who had an epiphany that led to his understanding that his “property” were actually human beings, created in the image of God. As I’ve heard it, this man renounced his former life and became an abolitionist.

        There is no question- we are not called to submit to an individual who is controlled by the father of lies. But at the same time, I believe that we must never forget that as long as that person lives, it is possible that the Holy Spirit is working in ways we can not comprehend. For that reason, we must never treat the narcissist as a demon or a monster (even as we do remove ourselves from their destructive path).

        My hope that redemption remains possible even for those who have perpetuated evil that is beyond my comprehension. While I am confident that God never asks me to put myself at risk again with an evildoer, I am still called to see the image of God within this broken person and honor that person with my compassion even if trust is out of the question.

        God saved Saul and made him Paul. Paul never became easy, but he was freed from the grip of evil.

        “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…”

        Thank you Dave for providing this place of healing for so many of us who need to understand what happened but do not want to harden our hearts.

      • HDG

        I’ve been pondering the use of the word evil. Yes,deliberate hurtful actions could be called evil.Perhaps the refusal to admit the harm they’ve done, take it to the cross,ask forgiveness and repent could also be called evil.Was I entirely blameless in my relationship?- No,,I’m far from perfect. I apologized to the N when I knew I’d “messed -up”, asked Jesus to forgive me and I continue to learn and grow.I have asked for ‘no contact’.My dilemma is: Do I ask the N(who immediately did more hurtful things after I broke up)to forgive me for anything he saw as hurtful that I failed to recognize? Matthew:5 23-24 is weighing heavily on my mind in this issue.

  5. Cecilia Kineely

    My heart is dancing since I’ve started reading about narcissists. I feel so validated now, and I truly feel that this has been a huge step forward in my healing – Thank You for your articles on narcissist partners! My ex-boyfriend fits the narcissist description to a “T”, and all my feelings have been reflected in everything I’ve read so far.

    We met in church, and there was instant attraction on both sides. As we began to learn about each other, I found us to be very different; he saw us as very similar. I was still willing to give the relationship a chance, but inevitably, I started seeing the red flags. Having learned that you don’t just abandon a relationship because of hard times, I continued on, hoping that surely it would eventually get better.

    I noticed controlling tendencies; the insistence of always being right; an imbalance of effort – for example, I drove to his house to spend time with him way more than he drove to mine; being demanding of my time – on the occasion when I would decide to spend an evening by myself, I would always expect to have to defend my decision to him; a critical nature – especially over petty things; disapproval of gestures that most people would consider praiseworthy; distorted perspectives; anger when I would disagree with him; a need for me to “always take [his] suggestions,” even if I did not like them; a self-righteous attitude; disrespect/disregard for my opinions and feelings; refusal to take responsibility and blame me instead (the majority of the time – on a couple of occasions, he actually did apologize and said he could see how his attitude/actions had been hurtful and made me angry); double standards; a tendency to be easily upset; and in the end, jealousy – but not over another man – over my female roommate, of all people, with whom I had developed a close friendship.

    That may not be a comprehensive list, but I think it covers the majors. It was an emotionally exhausting, draining relationship, and just like you said in one of your articles, I still miss and love him to some degree and think about the things I might have done that I have wondered if it would have made a difference. But thanks to all I have read, I feel more confident now, that no matter what I might have done or might not have done, chances are, it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.

  6. Cecilia Kineely

    One of the things I struggle with is the loving things my ex-boyfriend did for me. While he didn’t go out of his way to spend time with me (expecting me to go out of my way instead), he was always willing to help me with car or computer issues (a couple of his areas of expertise). He was definitely good about calling me on a regular basis and told me on more than one occasion that he knew I was “the one” from the moment he saw me (and actually, I have since read that this is common in narcissists – to make grandiose statements like that), and talked of wanting to marry me frequently. He willingly and eagerly gave me affection. And one time, when I was experiencing a physical mallady, he stepped up to the plate and helped me in a way that only love could have motivated (it is too personal of a gesture to describe specifically).

    So when I think about those things, I tend to wonder if I am just focusing on the bad instead of the good. I’m sure it’s normal for there to be SOME good, though; otherwise, few people would stay with their narcissist partners for so long, right? That’s how they keep you around – give you just enough of what you need to keep you with them? Or maybe they do it to make themselves look good?

    What I keep in mind that more or less grounds me is the way I felt most of the time when I was around him…I couldn’t relax completely, even in the good times, because I never knew when something I did or said would upset him. I was always on edge around him.

    And do narcissists have a distorted concept of love? Because my ex frequently told me he loved me; it just didn’t seem like his actions reflected that overall, so I stayed very confused a lot of the time.

    Thankfully, I felt fairly confident most of the time that it was not me, in spite of what he would say, and I think I stood up to him most of the time, which, of course, made him mad, but especially after the final “straw that broke the camel’s back,” I knew I had not done anything that was truly wrong, although I did acknowledge his feelings and apologized for hurting him (it was not intentional), but I was not willing to give in to his unreasonable demand.

    I have chosen to believe that perhaps God caused this last rift to happen so that it would put a final end to the relationship. We had broken up and reconciled several times, the difference this time being that for the first time, my ex ignored my attempts to contact him (it was to get something back from him that belonged to me) until I said I would call his mother to make sure he was okay, and afterward, he asked me to not contact him again unless it was an emergency. Upon my “threat” to call his mother, he said he was “rattled” by my “subtle threat to call [his] mom,” that I was being very rude in my attempts to contact him regarding the item I wanted back (what he called rude, I call being persistent – it does belong to me, after all), and that he was concerned about my attitude. Of course, I was the one with the problem, right?

    Anyway, all that to say that I think God knew that the only way to keep me from getting involved and inevitably hurt again was to bring my ex to the point where he was completely through with the relationship, because as long as he kept coming back and apologizing, I was likely to soften and take him back. So even though it was a painful ending, I am thankful for God’s merciful sovereignty.

    • Tami

      Cecilia,
      I could relate to how your partner did nice tings for you at times. Mine did too, things like when he though I was sound asleep, he would cover me up with an extra blanket, He did nice things for me when he though I wasn’t aware of them. I guess I have come to the conclusion that, if he thought I was an exstention of of him self, he needed to take care of his prized posession, That all stopped when I didn’t fit into the tidy box he created especially for the me he wanted me to be.
      The thing that sent up red flags for me the most, as to the evil he brought into my life, is that when I was trying to separate from him, and he was going through painful withdrawl because he knew was losing his supply, was when he was in a fit of torment almost to hystaria. He cried,
      “God is taking you away from me!”

      When He was not in the house there has a sense of peace in out house again. I have joy again. The verse that sticks out for me is the one that says, that no man should parish, but have ever lasting life, and the other story I think about is, when Jesus drove the demons out of people. I pray that there is hope for the narcissist. I do pray for him.

  7. Tonya Scarborough

    Yes, I agree! This is important knowledge for anyone to carry when they have to deal with a narcissist, especially if they are getting help from people who don’t understand the disorder. One of the most painful parts of dealing with my narcissist is that so many people believe his lies about me. So many do not understand how unscrupulous and insidiously cruel some individuals can be. One book that has been very helpful to me in regards to this issue is, “In Sheep’s Clothing” by George K. Simon – an excellent, concise book on the subject. He calls these individuals “covert aggressives”.

    I always appreciate your posts on the subject. I often save them in a folder so that I can show them to people who don’t understand what they’re dealing with. Thanks so much!

  8. Kathy

    I really don’t think Saul/Paul was a narcissist. He was a zealot for God — and misguided. But because he sought God, God was faithful in revealing Himself.
    Narcissists are not zealots for God or for anyone else’s best interest. They know exactly what they are doing and do it anyway. You can see this in how they behave in social situations — they can and do behave according to the norm. Their torment of their prey is in private. That is evil.
    It is very difficult for good people to use the word “evil.” We must remember that not only do cruel people “project” — good people do too. We would like to believe they have the same goodness we have, that maybe we are misunderstanding them, that maybe we are misinterpreting their intentions. That is our projection.
    But the Lord Himself calls evil for what it is. I cannot pretend to be more holy or forgiving that God Himself.
    It’s hard to come to the conclusion — but the truth is, there are some evil people in this world.

    • prodigalkatherine

      Perhaps, but there’s a big leap between saying they exist in the abstract versus labeling an actual person as evil. The problem I have with doing that (Labeling an individual as definitively evil- say a Charles Manson type) is that it gives us permission on some level to treat that person as less than human. Where does “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” fit into that? At the same time, I feel the same way about calling someone “good”. How do we know what’s in someone else’s heart? The best we can do is look for evidence of good or bad fruit and adjust our boundaries accordingly.

      It may seem I am being overly softhearted here but what is motivating my strong concern about calling people evil is that I saw it done a lot in my family of origin. I grew up in a prominent evangelical family and image was everything. I saw a lot of abuse come from good people and saw scapegoats (including noncompliant relatives) get labeled evil. My aunt killed herself at 27 after a lifetime of being “the bad one”- she wasn’t. She was actually very kind to me but didn’t conform to the image so she was psychologically brutalized. The burden of being told she was evil was too much for her.

      I’m sure you say that she was a narcissistic victim and the ones that did this to her were the evil ones but it’s more complicated than that. Both sides had their faults. What made the whole situation irredeemably toxic was one side claiming the moral high ground. People (those with narcissistic issues and those who have different issues) are complicated. We are all living the middle of our story. I think that it’s appropriate to draw boundaries to protect ourselves and others from evil actions (which can be anticipated based on previous patterns of behavior) but that we take things too far when we categorically label an individual evil. That’s God’s job, not ours.

  9. Kathy

    ProdigalKatherine,
    It could be that we all approach everything based on our own life experiences, etc. I often say that I come from The Waltons. I never met any Ns until I got married — and he was not an N (I am a widow). But his parents and at least one sibling, in my humble belief, are. And, never having met such people as this, the differences in what I came from versus him were stark.

    I truly have had no difficulty in praying for my enemies or treating them as fellow humans. I say that honestly. I have prayed for their blessings, their happiness, their peace, for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for them. I have prayed it and meant it. They, however, have stalked me a bit and told me they were praying for God to “get me back” for removing them from my life.

    No. No difficulty in praying for them, my enemies. The real difficulty was understanding that they were my enemies, that they truly wanted me destroyed — i.e., smear campaign (horrible disgusting lies). To recognize that someone DESIRES to hurt you, DESIRES to control you, DESIRES to obliterate you — that, IMHO, takes a revelation from God through His Word.

    I don’t dispute you. I’m sorry about what happened in your family. All we can do is pray that God will empty us of our pre-conceived notions about Him, empty us of our own understanding of human nature, and then leave it with Him and do the best we can with what we believe He has shown us.

    It is a relief to me to know that, even if I fail to comprehend and/or follow God’s will, He is aware that I am dust and He has made a way for me to be with Him in all eternity regardless of my failures.

    God bless you. I think you have a truly loving heart, seeking to understand God and to live according to His will.

  10. Fellow Survivor

    Kathy and Katherine, you both make very strong points Kathy, I have to agree with you about Saul/Paul. God searches the heart and he knew Paul was earnestly seeking to do God’s will. I am sure there were many others doing what Paul was doing, trying to kill as many of this new sect that they could find, but they were doing it so they could move up the corporate ladder and gain attention for themselves. Paul was just a guy running the wrong way on the Football field and God just sort of turned him around so to speak.

    And Katherine, your point is to Love the sinner but hate the sin. I believe your point is that “we all fall short of the Glory of God” so how can we remove the spec in our brother’s eye when we have a log in our own eye.

    But then Kathy makes a strong point that if someone is intentionally trying to hurt you and that person knows what they are doing, then that person is evil.

    If I had to vote on which one of you is right I couldn’t because you both are.

  11. Kathy

    I still have an earlier post “awaiting moderation.” Because it will be posted after yours, Fellow Survivor, it may appear as though I’m arguing. But I’m not. 🙂

    The beauty and awesomeness of our God is that He is so mindful (because He reminds us) that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
    I just kind of bumble through life, seeking to empty myself of what I believe I understand, seeking to truly understand, and seeking the strength to act on what I understand (or not act). Oh, the beauty is God’s undeserved and unmerited grace. 🙂

  12. Kathy

    No need for apologies!! LOL I only have one email addy. Don’t know what happened, but it’s not a big deal.
    Thank you so very much for your blog. It’s been very helpful to me. 🙂

    • prodigalkatherine

      Kathy, I don’t mean to come across as not seeing your point. You’re right that when people deliberately choose to attack and undermine you when you are sincere towards them it is evil.
      I just get very anxious when I hear that word. I’ve been called evil for standing up to narcissists. I’ve been the one who that word was used as a cover for someone elses sins. It hurts so much to be called evil. I wish Christians would just avoid calling other people evil because the people who seem the most comfortable with that word tend to wield it like a weapon. I don’t have the energy to retell my story, (it’s in various comments here)- but I’ll just sum it up by saying that “evil” is a word that pops up alot within the context of a smear campaign.

      Christians are very eager to protect “victims” from evil. Unfortunately- sometimes the people calling you evil are protecting someone who has deliberately deceived you after infidelity. What they couldn’t know was at the same time a brigade of women was spreading talk that I was an unfit mother and was “just tired of marriage” I had asked for a separation because he was trying to get me to participate in open marriage- and that even as he was trying to get me to come back, was showing up at church crying, he was privately telling me what it was like to have sex with another woman and trying to get me to have sex “because it doesn’t mean anything”. His family was the one who singlehandedly funded the building of the church and then a very expensive new addition. Why didn’t I tell my side of the story? Several reasons- I didn’t want to get into he said/she said bc of our four kids- I also wanted to leave space for our marriage to be healed and finally- I was terrified and embarrassed. My guess is that these women who spread the horrible gossip after a smear campaign was begun were told stories and just ran with it. But then end result was my getting cut off from a faith community and called evil.

      I know that I was sincere (even as I was devastated and had my own sin issues to deal with) when I tried to go back to church for a long time but faced continual ostracism once the new woman started attending (they were living together before we were even legally divorced). My lack of ability to control the information that was spread led to me getting labeled “the evil one”. After this experience I understand that who gets called evil has far more to do with who has power. It’s just one more weapon we give Satan to cut people off from Christian community.

      Outside the church, people are flabbergasted by my story. They want to know how I married into another family so much like the one I came from. They can’t comprehend me being called evil and think what happened was unspeakably cruel. But inside the church I ultimately left after understanding the depth of the smear campaign and amount of two faced behavior there still remains a wariness from people who I counted as friends (before they were told I was “evil”) How can you defend yourself against a group of Christians calling you evil? You can’t.

      So it may be entirely appropriate to call some people evil- but there are also times when it is terrible gossip that breaks a person’s spirit. It broke mine. My oldest daughter is an atheist and has severe mental health problems – she thinks I’m an idiot to still believe in God after what happened to me.

      While the people who called me evil likely did it mostly because they were simply repeating what they heard, I was still devastated. I often thought the world would be better off without me- especially when church members repeated the unfit mother stuff. It’s mind boggling to contemplate that your former community thinks you are too evil to be a mother. They clearly did not know the whole story. But in using the word “evil” they caused deep harm to me and my oldest daughter who was caught in the middle because she witnessed that her father’s family was lying about me.

      After that experience I vowed to never call anyone evil, and to leave that judgment up to God alone.

      • Repol

        Oh, PK–my heart breaks for you.

      • Kate

        “… leave that judgment up to God alone.” Yes Katherine, you’ve said it all right there. Who are we to say a person is evil? Even if what they do is evil, what right have we to define another’s soul? Just in the way the difficult process of forgiveness heals the soul of the forgiver more than the forgiven (or so we’re told), I feel that naming a person “evil” damages the soul of the person naming, in insidious ways. It may help initially to detach from the narcissist, but I think it hardens the heart and may even lead to a certain level of justifying oneself, similar to the way narcissists justify their odious attitudes and behaviors in response to their own hurts. We are presented with so many, for lack of a better word, paradoxes in living as Christian human beings, and I think this is one of them. Matthew 7:1-3.

        I struggle with this, and I think it’s supposed to be a struggle; to keep our hearts malleable for God’s will, not for our own will or anyone else’s. Distancing ourselves from the narcissist, clearly identifying damaging behaviors, calling “bullshit” even if silently (sorry, but what else is it, really?), and finding support like this forum are ways of healing and dealing, but branding a person simply and succinctly as evil is crossing the line, in my opinion, into the realm of black-and-white legalism that so many abhor.

        With that said, I have found no stronger support in my own personal battle with narcissism than this community of “strangers.” Thank you for that, Pastor Dave, and everyone else for lively, loving discussion — even when we disagree!

  13. Kathy

    I am so truly sorry for all the pain you have experienced. I am so sorry for the smear campaign against us — it was very painful when I found out about the smear campaign against me. All of it untrue, unfounded, and out of my control.
    Just please know that as horrible as your situation was/is — you are not alone, although I’m sure it feels that way at times. Regardless of the use of the word “evil,” I believe we’re on the same side.
    (((hugs)))

    • prodigalkatherine

      I agree. And hugs to you as well.

      • Penny

        PK–my response to you re:”Where’s the Church” got caught up in cyberspace “awaiting moderation”, and so I emailed Dave & he has resolved it. (It was an internal glitch that it seems others here have also had.) Anyway~it is there now, so I wanted you to know I had responded to you. Also~in reading thru the comments to this post about “evil”, I thot perhaps it may help to say that there is a difference in calling the behavior of others evil vs. labeling the person as evil. To quote Dennis Prager again: “….one of Judaism’s core teachings is that God judges all people by their behavior rather than by their faith alone, and that we are to judge people in the same way. I apply this teaching to evangelicals. I judge them not by their theology but by their behavior.” The Bible consistently defines evil behavior for us, and then tells us to stay away from it. That does not mean that I don’t believe God cannot save a N, but rather that He doesn’t need me to to do it. In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples “who do people say I am?” and they answered “Elijah, Jeremiah or a prophet”, but then He asked Peter, “who do YOU say that I am?” and Peter replied “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. Then Jesus delivers the kicker: “Flesh & blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven”. “Flesh & blood did not reveal this to you”, meaning we are called to be obedient to Him, but we are not called to save people–that is not something flesh & blood can do, only God can do that. In our obedience, we are, however, called to speak truth and to identify behavior, and that behavior may sometimes be defined as evil. The prophet Jeremiah said that the “heart of man is deceitful & desperately wicked; who can know it?”. The heart of the malignant N is deceitful, and has believed the lie & deceit of the enemy that we “can be like God”; those lies extend to “calling good, evil and evil, good” which is what happened to you and to your aunt. While I totally understand how painful it is to be falsely labeled as evil by another, it is also an example of the abuse heaped upon the vulnerable and the innocent by the one who IS actually evil. It is grievous and it is seen by our Father. Further, God never calls us to offer ourselves up for abuse simply for the pleasure of another; rather, He calls us to discern the truth and to speak the truth and stand for the truth. Sometimes, we absorb abuse for the sake of another (like for your daughter) but that then becomes sacrificial. Be very careful not to view sacrifice as the same as abuse, while at the same time acknowledging the evil behavior that required such a sacrifice. Flesh & blood will never “get it”, but that is not your concern. There is evil in this fallen world. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the Truth, our job is simply to keep speaking it.

  14. Leesa

    Thank you for calling it evil. After so many of years of an assistant pastor’s wife causing strife in our church but seen by everyone as the “victim” when we knew it was evil behavior (borderline personality disorder), we finally realized that her husband was a cunning and clever narcissist, forever behind the scenes talking to anyone in authority and lamenting his and his wife’s lack of relationship with the senior pastor and wife who they abused mercilessly behind their backs. We learned that flattery, flirting and favors given to families in leadership were traded for listening to lies about the pastor and wife. They made it clear to everyone that a “senior” pastor was not a Biblical role. He was equal to him and did not have to listen to anything the senior pastor said.
    You have confirmed the nightmare that has been here at this church. The woman with borderline behavior we recognized immediately. We came late to the narcissism and your postings have given clarity and validation to our experiences. We tried once to speak the truth and learned through one of the scariest experiences ever that silence and prayer is the only course of action. God bless you for speaking truth. It is only knowing the Truth that sets us free.

  15. Maggie

    I have half hearted read through the post and all the replies but something comes to mind swiftly and I feel perhaps sharing this could be of help to all. Has anyone read the book, “People Of The Lie” by Scott Peck? I think this book touches on all viewpoints I believe I understand presented here so far(again, I took an incomplete look see). Hope I am on target. I hope it offers more insight to those who consider exploring. I’ve yet to read it entirely but I like it very much so far and am compelled to address my own evil as well. Thank you Pastor Dave for all that you offer us here. Thank you others for keeping me in truth.

    • Kathy

      Maggie,
      I have read People of the Lie and also The Road Less Traveled, both written by Dr. M. Scott Peck — both books are excellent.
      People of the Lie deals with the concept of evil. It’s my understanding that Dr. Peck struggled with evil as a possible diagnosis/personality disorder. It is an excellent book and well worth the read!
      – Kathy

  16. SingingEagle

    Thank you so much for this article. I even feel a sense of relief as if a weight was lifted off me. The actions of a “N” are truly evil and admitting it gives me a feeling of freedom. Those of us who live with one learn to accept the reality of who they really are to keep our sanity. We all sin and make mistakes, it’s human nature. But the “N” has no intentions of seeing their actions as evil but only validates what they do as a means to get their way. Only after we are able to clearly see and accept the truth are we able to grow and heal. Yes, there are things about the “N” that just baffles the mind because it’s not the nature of the one being abused to deliberately hurt someone or be so heartless. Even if they are being manipulated by darkness, there has to be an open door by that person to give darkness permission to use them. You can still love the sinner and hate the sin but know the difference!

  17. Annie

    I posted a comment regarding evil. It was there with a couple of replies. Now it seems to have been taken down. Can I ask why?

    • Annie, I don’t have an answer for this. I rarely block comments and those few that I have are still saved in a deleted file. I have nothing from you on this post. I apologize. The only question I can think of is whether you may have used a different email address, but you have commented several times here with the same address. That doesn’t seem to be it. You are welcome to comment again, if you saved it or remember it. Or, better yet, email it to me directly. That way I can see if there might have been a reason it was deleted. But I neither remember it nor have any evidence of your comment being deleted.

  18. Annie

    Thanks for your response Pr Dave. Don’t think it’s saved anywhere. No problem.

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