Narcissus Goes To Church

W. Terry Varner
October 30, 2016

Are there Christians who are narcissist? A narcissistic individual is defined as “a disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self-importance.”

The story of Narcissus comes from Greek mythology. He was a hunter from Boeotia known for his handsomeness. He had an inflated concept of importance.

The girls fell in love with him. They threw themselves at him. The treated him as one who had all the attributes of a god. However, Narcissus paid them little attention. He mocked and rebuffed them. Basically, he had no time for them. Seem strange? Why did Narcissus treat them this way? The answer is that he had no time for them. He was all the company he needed. He was not about to waste his time on anyone except himself. Everything centered in and about him.

The girls finding themselves in this situation prayed to the Greek gods for a remedy. Their prayer was immediately answered. In Greek mythology, Greek deities loved answering such prayers. The Greek goddess Nemesis answered the prayer of the broken-hearted girls. Nemesis decreed, “May he who loves no other love himself only.”

Time passed. One day Narcissus bent over a pool of water to get a drink. He saw in the water his own reflection. Wow!!! He had no idea he was this good looking. He knew the girls were falling all over themselves to get his attention. He fell in love with his reflection immediately. Narcissus said, “Now I know what all those girls see in me, no wonder they are in love with me— I’m in love with me! How can I ever bear to quit looking at such loveliness that is mirrored in that water.”

Narcissus could not quit looking at the image of himself in the pool of water. The whole world was reduced to that image, the Narcissus—adoring self. Narcissus got smaller and smaller until there was no Narcissus left. He had starved to death on a diet of self. Selfism is suicide. The flower we can Narcissus is a fail memory of selfsm.

Narcissus seems to be an unlikely character to appear among Christians. However, his offspring shows up, at times, among those who are Christians. When they do show up, they are out of place. We are reminded, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, emp. added). Paul also wrote to remind Christians that they are to “no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15, emp. added).

It is an odd phenomenon to observe Christians whose souls have been cleansed with the blood of Christ (cf. Rev. 1:5), trying to cultivate their own spiritualties. One of the hallmarks of our age is self-spirituality. What do we mean? It is a spirituality built upon on Me; i.e. a spirituality of self-centering, self-sufficiency, and self-development. This appears in various forms—I do not need to attend faithfully the services as I am as good as any who attend, there is no need to pray for something I can do for myself, God knows I am an independent, etc. This is a redefinition of spirituality as set forth in the Bible. The Bible is always right and the narcissistic individual is always wrong.