Indulge Me

Matthew 23:23–36

Narcissus was a hunter in Greek mythology. He was the most beautiful person. He was so dissatisfied with those who claimed they him that he expected them to kill themselves to prove their of him. It wasn’t until he passed a smooth pool of water and saw his own reflection that he fell in . Ultimately, he was so in with his own reflection that he didn’t leave the pool and died.

The term narcissism obviously comes from this story. Narcissism is a personality disorder (according to the “official” diagnosis) where a person has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled , and a lack of empathy for .

Only troubled cannot be (fully) concluded from our understanding of the scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees. As we look at the list of issues that are symptomatic of narcissism, we can see echoes of them in these verses.  Yet, while it really would be hard to accuse them of having traits to the depth necessary to be narcissistic, they definitely had issues.

We all have issues. Any of these should be an issue for a Christian as they are not in line with a Christian walk. One of the other issues that isn’t covered under the list of narcissism is self-indulgence. This may be the razor’s edge of many decisions.

Self-indulgence can take many forms. Currently, though, it seems to take more the form of self-ness. Of course, it really is hard to define self-ness, as we are all self- to a degree.

How does one then evaluate an through the lens of self-ness? One must look outside oneself. What is the litmus test being used?

That should be the question we ourselves as we through these troubled times.


Lord , help us to look to you to define and guide our s that we bring honor and glory to you. Amen.


1) What is the litmus test for what makes an or thought self- or not? How about self-indulgence?

2) What might be the best way to work through self- and self-indulgent s and thoughts with fellow Christians?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.