This may be hard for you to believe in today’s political climate, but early in our nation’s history, it was considered unbecoming for a candidate, particularly a Presidential candidate, to actively campaign for office. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and perhaps a couple others never gave a campaign speech and never attended a fundraiser. In fact, Jefferson actually said he did not want to be President, which we know was not true.
Washington was such an obvious and overwhelming choice to be our first President he didn’t have to campaign. He ran unopposed, and could easily have won a third term, had he not voluntarily stepped away, an act that caused King George III to say, “If he does that he will be the greatest man in the world.” No truer words have ever been spoken.
Far be it from me to criticize Paul, but when he wrote the list of Christian virtues in Galatians 5, which we know as the Fruits of the Spirit, he ought to have included humility. An argument can be made that love and humility are the basic underpinning of all the other virtues.
Pretention is not exactly the same as narcissism. Pretention is Narcissism’s little brother. All narcissists are pretentious, believing they are more important than they are, but not all who are pretentious are narcissistic. We all stick our toe into the pool of self-admiration from time to time. Narcissists do a swan dive. Pretention is something we all have to struggle with. It is human nature to think we each have qualities above and beyond what we really have.
The Bible has a lot to say about pride in all its forms. The Proverbist warns us that pride goes before the fall. We all ought to be tamping down our proclivity for self-righteousness. We tend to minimize our own sins, and then to make ourselves look even better, we maximize the sins of others. I look more righteous compared to “those people” than I do compared to the pure righteousness of Jesus Christ and his moral code.
The surest way for a Christian pretender to reveal that he/she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing is to suggest he/she has nothing to be sorry for. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive all our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and his word has no place in his life.
Here are nine traits of a narcissist.
- Exaggerated sense if importance
- Excessive need to be admired
- Exploiting in relationships, manipulative, critical, abusive
- Lack of empathy for the needs of others
- Sense of entitlement
- Sense of uniqueness and superiority
- Deserving of special treatment
- Can’t abide criticism or losing. Never wrong.
- Envious of other’s success
To be involved in a relationship with a narcissist can be excruciatingly painful. A spouse, a boss, a co-worker, or a teammate who has narcissistic tendencies makes for a difficult time and if you are trapped in such a relationship, you can expect to be miserable. The worst thing is that narcissism is very difficult to treat.