It’s Narcissist Friday!
All my life I have been told not to be proud. So have you. “Pride is the greatest sin of all,” the preacher said. “Pride goeth before a fall,” the King James Bible said. “Don’t think you’re so smart,” Dad said.
If you do something wrong, that’s your fault. If you do something right, that’s someone else’s credit. Don’t think too highly of yourself. Never be prideful.
There’s truth in that, of course, but it had the effect of making most of us doubt ourselves and limit our contributions. Many of us have walked through life with our eyes cast down and our mouths shut. Even if we knew the answer, we would hesitate to speak because we didn’t want to show off.
Now, pride is a sin, and it’s wise to beware of it. But there is also a sin in thinking less of yourself than you ought to think. How many great contributions have been lost because people have been told to keep quiet or convinced that they are less than others? How many good things could you have done if you weren’t quite so cautious?
Narcissists and other self-absorbed people never seem to have a problem with pride. They embrace it and use it to their advantage. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, they say. They would rather speak out and muscle their way into being noticed and believed than to actually be right. If they are shown to be wrong about something, they just blame the error on someone else. We obviously don’t want to be like them.
Ok, pride is bad. So what do we do? I would suggest that the positive characteristic we should allow is confidence.
Isaiah quoted the Lord as saying, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” It is interesting how those two go together. Narcissistic confidence is rarely quiet. Rather, it is boastful and arrogant and loud. But you can connect the quietness you have learned to confidence and find strength. Not just strength for yourself, but strength to benefit others as well.
The thing about confidence is that it has to be based on something solid. Narcissistic confidence is based on the desire for superiority the narcissist carries. But there is no substance to that confidence. The narcissist makes up for this by being loud and confrontational or by accusing and manipulating. The narcissist will lie as boldly as he will proclaim the truth. Whatever it takes to look superior. But, again, there is no support under his stand.
Your confidence, on the other hand, must be based on the character and work of Jesus. In other words, have confidence in Him rather than in yourself or the things of this world. If you do that, you can hold your head high, speak boldly, and contribute as He leads.
Avoiding pride is a matter of avoiding self-focus. You know that you have weaknesses and compromises, but you don’t have to look at them to move forward. Just look at Jesus.
When I tell people that I am certain of going to Heaven and being forgiven and being loved by God, some of them think I am being prideful. But I am just confident that He is who He says He is. I trust that God is not lying or mistaken when He speaks of me. He says that He loves me. He says that I am forgiven. He says that Heaven is mine.
So, walk in confidence. Let your confidence be seen as strength. Pride will lead to a fall, but confidence in the Lord and His truth will hold you securely.