People have often described this generation as the “millennials” or the “Me Generation.” But ever since the beginning of time the greatest threat to relationships is not personalities, character flaws, or family background, but selfishness. I think all generations have been, to some extent, the “Me Generation,” because we are selfish people. But today, more than ever, “meism” is evident. We are committed, first and foremost, to self, and sadly we do not recognize that our self-centeredness is a serious problem.
Christopher Lasch, the author of “The Culture of Narcissism” noted, "Our society continually feeds our ravenous appetite for self-satisfaction. Indulgent toward our own needs and indifferent toward the needs of others, we have become in great part a society that knows little of true self-sacrifice and self-denial.” Narcissism is a term that has become main stream today. And when we look at some of the characteristics of narcissism, they give us an ugly picture of ourselves and our society today.
1. Narcissistic people like to be the center of attention. They love to talk about themselves, and will exaggerate their accomplishments to impress their audience.
2. Narcissistic people believe they are entitled people. They believe that they deserve what they seek.
3. Narcissistic people have a knack for making other people feel important. But all the admiration is part of an unspoken deal where they expect the other person to make them feel just as attractive, intelligent, and important.
4. Narcissistic people will tell you whatever they believe you need to know in order to get something from you. They may misrepresent information or twist some facts in order to convert you into compliance with their selfish purpose.
5. Narcissistic people show limited empathy. They do not embrace the world of another person unless it is for selfish gain. In other words, they can put on a good “caring” show in their effort to manipulate others for their own personal benefit.
6. Narcissistic people usually do not feel bad about any wrongdoing of theirs. It seems that their selfishness has hardened their conscience concerning the impact of their behavior on others, even those they love.
7. Narcissistic people are impatient. They get frustrated if something doesn’t go their way or someone doesn't respond to their text, email, or voicemail right away. Because of their selfishness, they feel they deserve special treatment, whether among friends or at a store.
8. Narcissistic people have this warp view that it's never their fault. They spend hours justifying their actions. They do not want to be held accountable for their mistakes or bad behavior, but will shift the blame to someone else.
These narcissistic characteristics should never be associated with a believer’s character. A Christian should be the exact opposite of a narcissist! We are taught that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) and “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:3,4). I Cor 13 describes Biblical love as not something that is based upon feeling and emotions, but doing what is best for the other person. It is the true art of self giving. The purpose for Jesus coming to this earth was not so that people could look at Him and marvel, but “to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
Thus, in this narcissistic “Me” world, believers should be different. Biblical love should be the key characteristic of a Christian’s life. We should be loving servants, who are genuinely concern about other people, believers as-well-as non-believers. Our primary purpose as Christians is to minister to and enrich the lives of others, rather than exploit and manipulate others to meet our needs.
-Pastor Mike Kotrla