It’s Narcissist Friday!
Okay, so the title of this post might be a little overstated. But I don’t mean simply to be careful about the groups you join. I mean never join yourself to anything. Never connect your life to an organization or cause or ideology. Never add an association to your identity.
You see, there is an idea (pushed by controllers and users) that when you join their group you submit yourself to their leadership and authority. For example, when you join some churches, you are supposed to live like they tell you to live and serve like they tell you to serve. If you don’t, you will be punished or separated from the group.
After every election you will hear someone say something like this: “I didn’t want to vote for that candidate, but I felt I had to since I am a member of his/her party.” Joining a certain political party or a certain movement seems to demand a loyalty, a service, that binds a person to performing or even believing a certain way. Few organizations willingly embrace those who disagree with the “company line.” Walk a different path from others who have joined the organization and you will usually find yourself criticized and under some kind of threat.
Your loyalty is very important to narcissists and other abusers. You are expected to release your will, your identity, into their hands. They will tell you what to do, how much money to give, and anything else they can get by with. And, interestingly, most people obey simply because they “joined.”
I realize that joining things is a part of life in this world. You are expected to join a church you attend regularly. You may be required to join a union. You will be pressured to join clubs and organizations of many kinds. It is challenging to live in society without joining something.
So, if you have to join something, be sure you consider your connection an “association.” In other words, you are choosing to associate with a certain group or cause, but you are not joining your identity to them. You should not identify yourself with their label, whether it is a political party, a church, or a civic organization. The moment you do, you become burdened with their weaknesses and compromises. You also lose a little of yourself in the label.
Sadly, church labels and organizations are just as much a part of this caution as are political parties. Groups of all kinds tend to speak for their membership. All xx’s believe this. All yy’s vote this way. All zz’s do these things.
But you are not of this world, not limited by any association. The only joining that matters is your relationship with Jesus and your connections to the special people He leads you to in life. Join with Jesus. Join with your spouse and children. But that’s about it.
Some readers might find this hard. Others will find this liberating. My point is that you are a person, unique in thought and heart. You cannot be defined by an organization’s goals or a church’s doctrines. You must always be free to follow the Lord who loves you. An organization’s label does not add to who you are, and the risk of guilt by association may communicate to others things that are not true of you.
The day will come when all associations in this world will end. Some of us have experienced some painful separations already in our lives. Loyalties, investment, commitment—sometimes these words had little meaning to the groups to which we were joined. When the trouble came, the group simply added to our pain. All our joining meant was that it was harder to go a different way.
But our joining with Jesus will never end, and in Him we are joined to each other. The day is coming when we will see and enjoy the beauty of all that.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22