It’s Narcissist Friday!
Every year or so I get a twinge of concern that I have strayed from the path the Lord wants for me. My heart’s desire is to help people come to freedom and peace in a true relationship with Jesus. In my mind, that comes through an understanding of the message of grace. I have written a lot about grace, taught a lot of people, and have preached grace for a long time. But now, here, I write mostly about narcissistic relationships. So, I wonder about that.
Then, I realize that the heart of God is moved with love toward those who have been broken, and what can break us more than the betrayal and abuse suffered in relationships? When we open ourselves—our hearts—to others, we become vulnerable. Narcissists in all relationships seek (or create) people who are willing to become vulnerable to receive acceptance. In the process, they manipulate and break our hearts.
While the intensity and the intimacy might differ among relationships, the abuse is much the same. Those who grew up with narcissistic parents have known that abuse all their lives. Those in marriage relationships with narcissists have known it in the most intimate ways. But even those who struggle with narcissistic bosses, co-workers, pastors, and friends feel the manipulation and betrayal at the heart level. We want to trust others, to be valued, to be welcome. The narcissist only imitates the provision of these heart needs.
And what does God give to minister to broken hearts? He gives Himself, His love. That’s the message of grace. Not more church or giving or memorized Scripture. Not more trying hard to measure up. Jesus is the answer Himself. Grace is Him giving of Himself to and for us.
The balm that comforts the broken heart is the grace of God in Jesus. The truth that confronts the lies of narcissism is the grace of God in Jesus. The power and the person are in Him.
It isn’t just narcissism that breaks people. We know there are many traumas in life. Tragic loss of a loved one. Loss of ability through accident or disease. Severe trials come our way in this life, even for those who never meet narcissists. There are marriage and relationship struggles that have nothing to do with narcissism—and some of them hurt us deeply. In those times we seem to know instinctively that our greatest need is to be held and valued and loved. We want the trials to go away, but even more we want someone to be with us through them.
If I can help anyone find Jesus in the midst of their struggle, to remember His love and experience His comfort, that’s the path I want to take. I can argue theology and doctrine with some skill, but the real message is not one of the mind. It’s a message to the heart. I honestly believe that Jesus loves you. The cross, the blood, the resurrection: those are all part of the message of that love. They are all true, but the power is in the heart. The most powerful statement of faith in the Bible was from the man who told the religious leaders, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” He didn’t know the religious answers, but he knew Jesus.
The truth is that the message of grace must always reach the broken hearts of the people God loves, or it is not the true message of His grace. To be true to the call God has given me, I have to see and believe the pain and struggle so many of you have shared. I am grateful beyond expression that you have trusted me and this group with your stories. Our discussion on narcissism has opened the door to me seeing how God’s message of grace is the most practical way for me to help.
Years ago, before I even considered writing on narcissism, I named this ministry, “Grace for the Heart.” The point, then and now, is that the message of grace is not just for the mind and from the theology books. That message, if it is real, comes out of the heart of God and goes to the hearts of those He loves. His grace is always for the heart.
That’s what it’s all about.
If you have read the new book, please leave a review on Amazon! Reviews are so important today. Others see a title, read the description, and wonder how the book is affecting readers. I have been getting wonderful affirmations personally, but others should hear your words.
Also, I am not sure why the paperback and e-book are not linked on Amazon. You should be able to get a discount on the e-book if you have purchased the paperback, but that isn’t happening. I continue to work on this.
Several years ago, Grace for the Heart was primarily a website with email newsletters. Nearly 2000 people received the newsletter regularly. Sometimes a thousand visitors a day came to the site, and we reached over 150 countries. Then we were hit with a Denial of Service attack, which overwhelmed the servers we were on and crashed the site. So much was lost. When the smoke cleared, I made the decision to focus on a blog, rather than a website and emails. That has worked so well and has rebuilt the ministry, but access to past blog posts can be tedious and there is little opportunity to share larger articles.
Now, all of that is changing. The blog will continue just as it is, but the website http://www.gracefortheheart.org will be up later today. I think you will like the layout. The goal is to organize articles, posts, and more in a way that is accessible to visitors and easy to advertise.
We are still tweaking it, and a lot of content will be added over the next few months, but it will be a great help to getting this word out. Be sure to drop in regularly as the site grows!