Reading over some things I wrote years ago, I feel appalled and ashamed by how much I thought Christianity was about me. To a large extent, various churches I belonged to reinforced that self-centered attitude, as did many contemporary praise songs and popular “Christian” books. As much as I claimed otherwise (which I did with great passion), in reality I understood God primarily in reference to myself.
Definitely, every Christian who falls into narcissism of this nature needs to repent. Yes, we’ve been influenced by incredibly bad teaching, and the Lord certainly will judge the pastors, writers, women’s Bible Study leaders and others who taught us to hold such self-focused theologies. More about them momentarily. All of us who embraced teachings that made Jesus revolve around us must not excuse our complicity with those teachings. Girls, we eagerly embraced those ideas, and the Lord will hold us accountable for doing so.
That said, He promises to judge those who propagate doctrinal error even more strictly.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ~~James 3:1-8 (ESV)
Pastors, Bible Study teachers, writers and even Christian bloggers should tremble at the power our words wield. Far too often, these very men and women have poisoned our mind by teaching us that God sees intrinsic value in us. That Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel had experiences we should replicate. That the sign gifts of tongues, prophecy and healing are normative to 21st Century believers. Or that Scriptures regarding women’s roles and homosexuality don’t really mean what they appear to say. The list goes on.
And underlying all the distortions of Scripture is the lie that we, in one way or another, can be godlike, controlling our destinies and receiving the Lord’s adulation. The same rancid lie that Satan told Eve continues to infiltrate evangelical circles.
The Lord, however, calls us to focus on Him rather than ourselves. He created us to worship and glorify Him! The Bible must never be read as a story about us, but as a testimony of His character and greatness! Therefore, we must continually renounce self centered teaching, and begin reading the Bible with Him as its centerpiece. The narcissism we’ve been taught must give way to the wonders of His glory.