In the world of psychology the term ‘narcissist’ broadly refers to people who have ‘excessive love of self’. And the origin comes from the Greek mythological figure ‘Narcissus’ who looked at his own image in the water and … fell in love with it! At the core of extreme narcissism is an egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how others perceive you.
Is Jesus …a narcissist? In the pages of the New Testament Jesus makes statements such as: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34), and “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:4), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Isn’t he preoccupied with his own interests rather than the interests of others? Doesn’t this all smack of a malignant self-love?
Speaking of the God of the Old Testament, Richard Dawkins said “(he) is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Ironically, Jesus is so identified with the God of the Old Testament that one passage in the New Testament dares to say: “ 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 with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in 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!” (Philippians 2:3-8).
Here is the claim of the New Testament : it is precisely because Jesus is God that he is not narcissistic. God is the polar opposite. As God, Jesus gave and gave and gave to the point of death… even death on a barbaric shameful cross. To serve this Jesus is to serve the divine servant of all. And if he is God, it makes absolute sense to live for him rather than to live for anything or anyone else who functionally takes the place of God in our lives.
Are you willing to check out if Jesus is God? He’s worth living for if he is.