It’s Narcissist Friday!
If you have walked a similar path to mine, and I know some of you have, you probably hate the term “character building.” I know my kids hate it. Back in the day when we were told that character was everything, almost every negative experience was considered character building. During some periods of my life I have wondered how much more my character could stand. Having a friend stab you in the back doesn’t feel like a positive thing for your character. It just hurts. Health or financial crises don’t seem particularly character building at the time.
There’s a lot I could say about this worship of character, but that would be another post (or series). Character is not the end all for believers. The ultimate test of life is not about what kind of person we are or were. Identity is the central theme for believers, who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you. The new life we have in Him is who and what we are.
Recently I have been listening to a very good book where the author said that adversity has made us who we are. I agree with his idea in context, but I want to rush to say that adversity is not the good thing that has made us better people. No, our response to adversity both reveals the hidden strength we had forgotten and reminds us of our identity. What we do in times of adversity comes out of and exposes our identity.
You see, I will give thanks to the Lord for using adversities to reveal His strength in me. I will even thank Him for allowing the path that involved the narcissist. But I will not say, not ever, that the narcissist was good.
I believe narcissism is evil. I believe it springs from an evil root in a person’s heart and develops into an evil fruit that poisons anyone who has the misfortune to come near it. Overcoming that evil is a wonderful thing, a great blessing, but that doesn’t make it less evil.
I read your emails and comments, and I see strong people. You are either victorious over the painful abuse of narcissism or you are becoming victorious. You have discovered who you are in Christ. You have found strength and courage and wisdom. You have been through the battles and have come out even stronger.
But you don’t have to say that the narcissist was good for you. You don’t have to give the narcissist any credit for what you have become. You looked at yourself and realized that you were not the person the liar said you were. You found that strength and courage the narcissist tried to take away. You became who you are today because you overcame the lie and abuse, not because of the narcissist.
There is good in this world, and there is evil. Make sure you keep the two separate. As you learn more of your identity in Jesus and live as the person He has made you to be, you experience and proclaim something good. The evil that tried to conquer you, that held you in bondage for so long, is still evil.
Adversity has not made you a better person. Overcoming adversity has revealed the good that was already in you so that you can be even stronger in the future. Give thanks to God for that.