It is healthy for us to do some honest self-assessment. Several weeks ago, I asked our congregation what they believed to be some of the most overlooked sins in the 21st century American church. I received a variety of insightful responses – gluttony, laziness, gossip, and lust, etc. I would add another to that list – narcissism.
The apostle Paul said that in the last days “people will be lovers of self…” (2 Timothy 3:2). Narcissism is defined as “inordinate fascination with one’s self; self love.” A certain amount of self-love is assumed. Jesus commanded, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19). We naturally provide for our needs. But a follower of Jesus also gives attention to the needs of others. And when our concern is only for ourselves, we are living in disobedience to Jesus. To what degree is your life characterized by narcissism?
- Do you spend your money only on yourself or are you generous with others?
- Does your schedule revolve around Christ’s church or around yourself and your recreational choices?
- Do you dominate conversation by talking about yourself or do you take interest in other people?
- Do you do hard things in obedience to Jesus or simply do what you want to do and what makes you happy?
- Are you involved in regular patterns of serving others or do you insist on being served?
- When making decisions, do you think about what is best for you or what is best for the group (i.e. church or community)?
- Do you reach out to new people or do you remain in safe and established friendships?
We understand that narcissism will increasingly be the pattern of the world. But it should not be the pattern for the follower of Jesus.
Photo credit: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iris_-_right_eye_of_a_girl.jpg