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In a land not so far away, in a time very close to our own, lived a race with quite an unusual and yet, all too familiar problem. Welcome to Narcissopolis! Everyone here is the best…well, at least in their own eyes. This rather odd society continues to function despite its dysfunction. With its billions of citizens come billions of varied opinions with each person unwaveringly entrenched in his or her own way. It is not uncommon to see someone stop in the middle of the street and literally pat his own back and say, “I'm just grand! I am God’s gift to this planet!” or “If it weren’t for me, this entire civilization would slip into Oblivion!” (If you’re unaware of the geography of this region, Oblivion is an actual, gigantic, bottomless hole right outside the city that leads to utter darkness and despair. Now that we have that out of the way…)

One of the most distinguishing features of this city is that, instead of having cell phones so you can call someone and tell that person how much you miss them, they have mirror phones so you can tell yourself how much you miss seeing yourself. In America we have had leaders such as J.F.K. who told us, “Ask not, what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” In contrast, their most distinguished leader, “L.U.V. Mee” says, “Ask not what you can do for your country, family, friends...or just about anyone else, but rather what others can do for you because you’re worth it! (Oddly familiar… perhaps the marketing team at Revlon have visited Narcissopolis!)

Let me see...is there anything else that stands out about this place? Ah yes! How could I forget? A strange phenomenon occurs when they come of age; an event considered a rite of passage by their people. Inexplicably and without prompting, every single person comes up with their own A.O.S.W. or Affirmation of Self Worth. It’s a little mantra that they recite over and over, everyday, to build up their self-esteem. Here’s a little excerpt I overheard one day.

“I’ve discovered the secret to serenity…I’m really, really, really great and extraordinarily wonderful and when everyone else realizes that I’m really, really, really great and extraordinarily wonderful, they will be at peace too!”

Well, I bet about now you’re thinking how glad you are that you don’t live in such a ridiculous place! Sheesh! Who do these people think they are? So full of themselves! Well…before you go ranting and raving about how absurd these people are and need to get a life, perhaps a little self-examination is in order. How many times have we thought that everything might “go to pot” without us? How often have we overestimated how invaluable we are to the world? The narcissism in our society knows no bounds. The office of the number one public servant, or so it used to be, the President of the United States of America, seems to share a similar philosophy to that of the leader of Narcissopolis, “L.U.V. Mee.” It seems as though, anytime someone criticizes him he complains, lays the blame elsewhere and patronizes them. It’s as if he believes that he is always right and everyone else is always wrong. What’s that? You say that you’re better than that? You say you care for other people first? Oh, and it comes naturally to you? Well…let’s see...the Apostle Paul doesn’t seem to agree. In Ephesians 5:29, he says: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…” Also, have you thought about why Jesus commanded us to love others as ourselves? It’s because we innately love ourselves most. The fact is, we love ourselves, not just a little but a lot! Those A.O.S.W’s in Narcissopolis are quite similar to mantras recited by our self-help gurus, motivational speakers and pastors of many megachurches. How often have we heard so-called, “spiritual men” say, “You don’t have to settle! Take that parking space in the name of Jesus! Have your best life now!”

The sad truth is that both Christians, non-Christians, and the people of Narcissopolis all suffer from the dreaded disease, narcissism. From birth we naturally worship ourselves. And, of course, we imagine that there will only be peace on earth when we get all these ridiculous people to fall in line! God forbid! We should not only love others as ourselves; we should:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”(Philippians 2:3) NIV

So, the next time you see a citizen of Narcissopolis look in the mirror, take a long look and tell him, “Yes, you are an image of God, but you’re not the best thing since sliced bread!” You can thank ME for this sound advice! Hooray for me!

- Jordan McGehee