Psa 73:6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.
In my years as a pastor (and no doubt even before), I have had to deal with RASNs (Revilers, Abusers, Sociopaths, Narcissists) many times. But for years and years, I did not understand. I did not realize what I was dealing with. I didn’t even know such beings existed.
Oh, I knew man was born in sin. And I knew that in this sense we all enter this world dead in trespasses and sins until Christ regenerates and makes us a new creation. I knew that. I preached the gospel for years, presenting Christ to the lost and God’s Word to those who professed to be Christians.
And there was trouble. Lots of trouble. Divisive people who worked to destroy the church and sometimes to even drive me out of the church. I knew about those kinds of sin and I confronted it often.
And yet, I continued to be ignorant of the fact that there are people, people who are church members, people who claim to be eminent saints – who are another kind of creature. These are not just sinners. No. They are a kind that the Bible speaks of quite often, but those warnings don’t seem to blip on the radar of our understanding. RASNs are not just “difficult people.” They are not the normal unsaved person. They aren’t even your standard hypocrite (though hypocrites they surely are when they choose the church as their playing field). No. These are something else.
And as long as I remained blind to what I was really dealing with, I failed to grasp how to go about doing battle with them. You cannot use the right battle plan if you don’t know your enemy. And I did not know my enemy. As a result, I even excused them quite often. I “forgave” them. And whatever blame was to be borne, I bore it. This, as you can imagine, is a formula for false guilt, depression, incredible anxiety, and a daily thinking about just giving up.
Did you know that in all my years in the church – Bible college, seminary, pastor conferences, etc – NEVER ONCE was this thing called Narcissism addressed. Never once were we educated about this wickedness that we WOULD encounter in our churches. Why? I think largely it was because we were being taught by people who didn’t get it either!
I look back now and I realize that for all of the sermons I heard and even preached on Satan and his demons, not a single series of messages really got right down to the essence of what Satan is and how we attacks. “I will ascend into heaven. I will be like the Most High.” But what does that mean? What does it look like. What is a servant of Satan who is driven by this same ambition going to look like? Well, here are some traits you can count on:
- No empathy
- No love
- Incredible sense of entitlement
- Belief that he/she is superior to all others
- A user of people for his own glory
- Driven by envy and jealousy
- A deep-seated lust for vengeance when he perceives he has been wronged
And on and on we could go. Such a person is far more than “just a sinner like everyone else.” No, this is a child of Satan.
And unless we understand this, we are going to go right on making excuses for such “christians,” enabling them in their wickedness, adding to the suffering of their victims, and telling ourselves that surely we can “lead them to Jesus.” History is filled with the ruins of lives destroyed by that kind of thinking.