How would Jesus handle narcissists?
When asked, most people (even Christians) would say that Jesus’ main qualities were meekness and mildness—someone who taught us to turn the other cheek when evil is perpetrated against us.
But would Jesus understand that we have narcissists today that wreak havoc in our lives?
Jesus would understand. Narcissism may be the ‘catch phrase’ of the day, but it’s nothing new. Self-centered, egotistical, evil people have been around since the beginning of creation.
And Jesus did not mean that we are to let people do whatever they want to us. Rather, we should say that God will handle it.
But while you’re waiting, let’s take a look at how Jesus handled narcissists in the moment.
#1 He ignored them.
Narcissists have a way of creating drama everywhere they go. Whether it’s the attention-seeking overt narcissist, or the ‘woe is me’ covert narcissist, there’s always drama that points the attention to them.
The Pharisees were a classic example of narcissism at it’s finest. With their pious attitude and constant correcting, the Pharisees were always looking to stir up trouble to criticize Jesus. Isn’t that just like a narcissist to go out of their way to point out your flaws to make themselves look good?
The same happened to Jesus in Matthew 9:10-12: As Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.”
Jesus didn’t take the bait. The Pharisees were trying to create a smear campaign and Jesus chose to ignore them and focus on his mission.
#2. He called them out.
Think Jesus always had kind words to say? Think again. The Pharisees were a hypocritical bunch that Jesus took several opportunities to call out.
One of my favorites is found in Matthew 23:29-30: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’”
Narcissists are classic scoffers and judgers. They love to appear superior to others. Remember, the narcissist is all about the image.
Want to be like Jesus? When the time is right, don’t hesitate to call out narcissistic behavior. Just be careful, we often think that because we call something out that it will change. It often didn’t for Jesus, and it likely won’t for us either.
#3. He cut them off.
Jesus was not opposed to going no contact. I have to imagine for as many people as Jesus helped, there were several more that he walked away from for many reasons. He even taught this mindset to his disciples. In Matthew 10:12-16, Jesus was preparing to send out the twelve disciples, giving them authority to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease.
“As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies, but be careful here.
If you struggle with any form of codependency, it’s likely that you continue to try and ‘love’ the narcissist, but in reality, you are simply perpetuating the evil they are causing. 1 John 5:16 is clear when it says, “If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.”
When referring to the ‘sin that leads to death’, the bible is referring to the sin that a person willfully and habitually continues in.
Narcissists rarely show any genuine repentance, so be careful for how you pray for this person.
It is possible to live in peace. Don’t let the narcissist distract you from your purpose, call out their evil behavior, cut off the relationship when necessary, and you too will can live in peace.
If you are struggling with a narcissist or any type of toxic person, grab our FREE Toxic People Survival Guide to help you identify and deal with toxic people.