As a victim of narcissism, I can attest to the fact that often, we want to see the narcissists that have done us so much harm brought to justice. The damage a narcissist does can and often is life-shattering. So, Will God punish a narcissist for what they have done?
The easy answer to the question, “Will God punish a narcissist?” is that if he does not repent, then yes, God will punish the narcissist. Not just for the narcissism, but for all of the wrong things he has done. But if he does have remorse for what he has done and he repents, then no, God will not punish him. The answer is the same for the wrong that anyone does, narcissist or not.
God does not hold narcissism as a higher sin than any other. Sin is sin. Once you have done wrong, God holds you in the same spot as everyone else that has ever done wrong. Now let’s take a look at the long answer to the question.
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God has Your Back When a Narcissist has Hurt You
When you are buried under the abuse of a narcissist, you may feel that God is nowhere to be found. Many times, I wondered why God would have allowed me to marry him when I had prayed for a godly man to spend the rest of my life with. When I met him, he was the “godliest” guy I had ever met, especially compared to the other teenage guys at the small Christian school I went to.
Let’s break this down a bit. First, who I married was ultimately my choice. I did pray long and hard about it. So, did God let me down? Definitely not. I had all kinds of red flags that I should have seen. But because I was raised in a home with a narcissistic mother, those red flags went largely unnoticed. And when I did notice them, I just thought that it was selfish or ungodly to expect so much.
Could God have hit me in the face with the bad decision I was about to make? He could have. But I think that God, in His infinite knowledge, knew that the road I was going to go down would eventually be able to help many other people who were hurting and needed the love of God and support from others. And for that reason, I don’t feel like God is nowhere to be found or let me down.
He also brought countless people into my life throughout the difficulties to speak His wisdom and love into me. I can name someone who was there to support me through the hard things in life in every stage of life I went through.
God has given me an amazing opportunity to speak truth into others that have been deeply hurt by narcissists and divorce. I am stronger emotionally and spiritually than I have ever been. I have no idea what my life would have been like had I not made the decisions I did. But I do know that my life is in a pretty good place now. I am extremely blessed and live a pretty awesome life now.
If you are worried that God is not with you, know that He’s there. And honestly, it’s a good thing that you have the autonomy to decide what you want to do with life. God gives us freedom to move as we choose as opposed to pulling us like stringed puppets. And I am very thankful for that, even with the bad decisions I have made.
God Will Give a Narcissist Time to Make Things Right
There is a verse in the Bible that says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” This verse is 1 Peter 3:8-9 and it talks about the fact that God wants us all to repent and trust in Him for our salvation and guidance in life.
So, based on that verse, God feels the same way about narcissists. He really doesn’t want anybody to not come to repentence. So he gives them time to repent.
I know that the sovereignty of God comes into play here too. But I am too human to understand it this side of Heaven. I also know that in Ephesians 1:4, God says, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Somewhere between these verses lies a balance between man’s free will and God’s sovereignty. I do know that I don’t want to be on the wrong end of this spectrum.
I also know that based on the hundreds of internet searches I have done for healed narcissists, the vast majority of narcissists will not come to repentance. Which leads us straight into the next point.
Can a Narcissist Repent?
I want to think that if a narcissist really wanted to repent, he (or she) could. Just for clarity, while I generally use male pronouns to discuss narcissists because the majority of narcissists are men, women can also be narcissists. Feel free to adjust the pronouns as it applies to your case.
Anyway, when I search on the internet and in bookstores to find any cases where a narcissist repented and turned over a new leaf, there just aren’t any storiesof it actually happening. There are a couple of cases of people who have acknowledged their narcissism, but they say that they still struggle with it and work through it with people who could see what was going on and walk with them through it. Both cases I know of have made a career of their narcissism. You can read more about that here.
The truth is that as long as a narcissist cannot admit that they have done wrong unless it benefits them and gives them more narcissistic supply, he cannot become a child of God. This is so sad and unfortunate. The fact that they can know all of the right words to say but those words will never be part of what comes from their heart is mystifying.
1 John 5:16-18 talks about what to do when that is the case. It says, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he should ask God, who will give life to those who commit this kind of sin. There is a sin that leads to death; I am not saying he should ask regarding that sin. All unrighteousness is sin, yet there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that anyone born of God does not keep on sinning; the One who was born of God protects him, and the evil one cannot touch him.”
This passage directly says that when a person remains unrepentant, we do not even need to pray for them. I have to say this is a really tough verse for me. I don’t know if my ex-husband will ever repent of his narcissism. But I know he’s had lots of conversations with counselors, pastors, and other people trying to help him heal. And he has angrily put all of them away as he refused to take anything they said to heart. I also know he is still behaving like a narcissist: lying, denying, blame shifting, gaslighting–all of it. Even though he has walked away from his original life and now has an entirely new one with all new people.
Why Doesn’t God Change the Narcissist’s Heart?
So, if it’s possible for a narcissist to finally be convicted of their evil ways, why doesn’t it ever happen? Primarily, a narcissist cannot repent because they cannot face the shame of admitting they have sinned grievously. They have to keep up the mask, even though God can see right through it. Just like even most men can see right through it.
In order for God to change the narcissist’s heart, the narccissist would have to admit that they are less than perfect. They would have to see themselves as needing God to forgive them for their sins. And I just don’t think they can go there.
I wondered one time if maybe the narcissist could admit to their need for a Savior with God but maybe not with men. Could they be honest with God, since God is already all-knowing? Or do they think they can food God as much as they try and think they can fool man? I don’t think we can ever really know that question, unless a narcissist who had sincerely healed could tell us. There is so much that the narcissist hides. We will likely never find out what they are thinking.
The Narcissist’s Abuse Can Bring you Closer to God
For all the bad news I have shared, I actually have some good news! Anybody who has been in close relationship with a narcissist has felt the weight of the abuse that resulted. But for the majority of us that have emerged and gotten the help we needed to heal, we have gotten closer to God. We realize God was there the whole time, even when we were in the midst of chaos.
He gave us the grace to be able to look at the narcissist (albeit long distance) with pity, knowing that it was likely terrible childhood trauma and/or neglect that brought the narcissist to where they are. He gave us the peace to get through it gracefully and with most of our sanity intact. And He gave us the ability to heal and help others along their path of healing.
I felt God close to me when I was 5 years old and passed churches in my parents’ car. I felt Him when I was 8 years old and came to a saving faith of the God that I had somehow always felt drawn to. And I felt him throughout my growing-up years with a narcissistic mother.
When I went on to Bible school, I really felt His presence and His love. It was one of the best years of my life. And what I learned there got me through the next 31 years of marriage to a narcissistic man.
And now? All those years of struggle, of wondering where God went? I now realize He was there all along, cheering me along to regain my footing in a life of instability and naivete. He is still here right beside me. And I feel him right now more than I ever have.
But if I couldn’t feel Him? I would know that He is still here and loving me through my good times and my bad times.
We have talked a lot about the potential of a narcissist to turn away from his abuse and live a life of service to God. We have talked about the near impossibility of that fact. Narcissists want to be served. They don’t want to be in service to anyone, even God. And we have talked about how even the victims of narcissism can benefit from their experiences upon healing from narcissistic abuse.
But at the end of the day, God will absolutely punish a narcissist if he does not repent and come to a saving knowledge and faith in Christ.
But what if a narcissist could repent and turn away? I don’t know what God has planned for the narcissist in my life. I still pray for him. And if he did become a child of God, then the punishment for his sins would be covered by the cross of Jesus. And that would be a very good thing.
I read The Toughest People to Love by Chuck DeGroat and it was so incredibly helpful for me, not only for my troubled marriage, but in dealing all difficult people, narcissist or otherwise. I know you would love it too. All of us have to deal with difficult people from time to time! Click on it for more information.
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