Confessions Of A Closet Christian 37: What Makes Us Narcissistic?

Confessions Of A Closet Christian 37: What Makes Us Narcissistic? September 24, 2014

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When I hear the word narcissist, I think of something other worldly and extreme – like the greek myth that narcissism is derived from.  It’s easy to write narcism off as something only ancient greek youths wrestled with.

When I’m taking communion on the first Sunday of the month, I’m distracted from what the definition of communion is – doing something together as one body, united with each other and united with Christ, remembering what Christ did for us.  I usually don’t consider the significance.  Preoccupied with my own worries, dilemmas, or problems, I take my swig of grape juice like a shot of tequila and get on with the day.

When I look at society and what is attributed to as “normal,” I see a layer of apathy laced over a creative array of navel-gazing attention seeking and narcissistic intention.

Facebook asks us what’s going on, how we’re feeling, or what we’re thinking and we’re encouraged to reflect on and talk about ourselves.

We don’t notice that these prompts aren’t coming from a person who cares about us.  We don’t notice that we’re projecting these self-focused thoughts into a world of other self-focused thinkers who are too busy answering their own Facebook prompt to notice ours.

I think as a result of this false sense of relationship, this encouragement to respond to a site instead of a person and this belief that people are reading and responding to our self-centered comments, thoughts, and needs, our relationships start to suffer.

When we finally speak to people socially, face-to-face, we ask how they are out of protocol all the while counting the seconds until they turn around and ask us about ourselves.  We aren’t listening to them.  We aren’t engaging with them.  And we aren’t caring for them.  We’re socially vomiting and tooting our own horn at every turn.

And we’re all doing this – we’re each just as selfish as the person next to us and instead of creating an atmosphere of care, comfort, and concern, we eagerly brag, boast, and one-up the next guy with our food porn photos and trips to Hawaii.

We forget what real relationships look like.  We forget what fellowship is.  We forget what really talking to someone feels like, sharing the truth of our situation and not the filtered photo version.  We forget what really listening feels like, not worrying about telling our big fish story, but listening intently to our friend’s.  We forget what it means to love and sacrifice for the sake of our friend and neighbor.

Philippians 2:3-8 says:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships to one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross.

If, as Christians, we’re called to be Christ-like, our first order of business is to give ourselves up and empty ourselves for others just as Christ emptied himself for us.

Not easy.  I think we refuse to do it out of fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of interaction.  Fear of being needed or responsible.  Because of this fear, I’d essentially rather get a day’s worth of dental work than pick up the phone and really catch up with someone.  It’s terrible.  And I know a bunch of millennials who feel the same way.

I think we also refuse to do it because we’re apathetic and it’s just easier to look at our cell phones and monitor our likes and followers, measure our Klout score and Google analytics, and keep track of ourselves and what we think people think of us or rather what the internet has valued us as.

And we forget.  We catch a glimpse of ourselves in our profile pictures and, like narcissus, we forget to gaze on Christ.    We forget what’s outside of ourselves.  We forget the good that we’re called to being made in Christ’s image.  We forget how high and long and deep and wide is the love of God.  We forget His perfection and we forget to share His perfection outside of our Google plus circle party of one.

It makes me wonder what would happen if we looked out.  If we looked toward Christ.  If we looked out for the good of people instead of waiting for them to look at us.  What would change if we gave ourselves up and sacrificed?  What we happen if we considered others better than ourselves?

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