Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Destructiveness of Selfish Ambition

Gal 5:25-26 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

RASNs (Revilers, Abusers, Sociopaths, Narcissists) are driven by what the Apostle Paul calls, in the old term, “vain glory.” Pride. Selfish ambition. And he warns us against it more than once.

Php 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Those who walk in this evil sin, who are characterized by it, seek a glory for themselves that is a vain glory. Empty. Listen to John Calvin on it in a sermon on this text:

In Scripture, all glorying is seen as vain and perverse, if men are seeking esteem for themselves by it. Pagans use the term ‘vainglory’ to refer to a poor fool who is trying to pass for a clever man, or a poor rascal who is pretending to be a rich man – when a man who is neither dextrous, hard-working, nor hones to any degree, wants to be arrogant and to play at being a wise man. When people deform and disguise themselves to this extent to deceive others, the pagans call this kind of glory vain and foolish.

But the Holy Spirit goes even further than this. He says that even if we have intelligent minds, or abundant wealth, or great virtue, or all that is possible to have to gain renown, and we take the credit for it ourselves, then our boasting is vain. Why? Because it is sacrilegious to rob God of the honor that is rightfully his.

John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians, Banner of Truth***

RASNs, for all of their counterfeit disguise as pious saints which so many of them wear, are astonishingly destructive. Why? Because they are driven by the foolish and evil craving to be exalted above others. It is, as Calvin says, “the deadliest plague that a person who is entrusted with the responsibility to teach others could ever have.” And he adds:

When people push themselves forward in society like this, and seek to be famous and to be applauded by men, it is impossible for them not to abandon themselves to all kinds of evil.


“…to all kinds of evil.” This is the RASN’s fruit. Evil of all kinds. But just try to warn such a person against the snare of this trap. What they really are will soon be evident. If you are dealing with a real Christian who is on the precipice of falling to this selfish ambition, they will be convicted, repent, and thank you. But most commonly what we see is fangs when we point out a person’s vain glorying. To the RASN, you are nothing more than a supply for their ego and if you dare cease to give them praise or to call them to accounts, you will be met with murderous hatred. This is why Scripture tells us:

Gal 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

It is all vanity, this evil selfish ambition. And one day every RASN is going to find out just how vain and empty his/her entire life has been. Standing before the Lord, the RASN will even attempt to use his Creator as a supply of praise for himself. It isn’t going to work.

Mat 7:22-23 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (23) And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

***By the way, if you would really come to know the real John Calvin, read his sermons. He is well-known for his commentaries on almost the entire Bible, but his sermons really reveal his heart and I have grown to appreciate him greatly. Start with his sermons on Ephesians. You can find that volume at Banner of Truth Trust online.


I Believe in God the Father, Almighty


Satan is the Deceiver


  1. Kate

    From the post: “It is all vanity, this evil selfish ambition. And one day every RASN is going to find out just how vain and empty his/her entire life has been.”

    There seems to be a “block” of some sort on the mind of all RASNs. One quote about psychopaths goes something like, “They can’t realistically learn from the past, or (realistically) plan for the future.” If they could, they would know they will someday die and that ultimately, they don’t even matter. After all, how many gazillions of people have lived and died from the beginning of time that none of us remember?

    To repeat, their minds are COMPLETELY worthless (Romans 1:28). They scheme and play games only. They don’t REALLY think they will die or face the consequences of their actions. When faced with death (terminal illness etc.) they feel sorry for themselves or get angry or live out the song, “I Did it My Way.” (This song is the RASNs anthem.) They never repent but sometimes put on a show of it so we will continue to hang around them.

    It’s my thought that God has shown us the truth about RASNs to give us a glimpse of the original RASN, Satan. I think Satan might think he can get out of dying or judgement. God sometimes uses deception to keep evil ones from learning truth, and maybe he allows evil ones to believe this about themselves. That they ARE god, that they ARE smarter and cleverer than everyone else, and that they should be worshiped.

    Those of us who know we will die, and face judgement, have hope. Those who don’t are already dead.

    Lyrics to “I Did it My Way” whoever wrote this was a RASN or understood them well. (There’s an undertone of “woe is me” that’s typical of RASNs.) It’s all about THEM and how THEY did things. Not one word about anyone else. So typical.

    “And now the end is near
    And so I face the final curtain
    My friend, I’ll say it clear
    I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
    I’ve lived a life that’s full
    I travelled each and every highway
    And more, much more than this
    I did it my way
    Regrets I’ve had a few
    But then again, too few to mention
    I did what I had to do
    And saw it through without exemption
    I planned each chartered course
    Each careful step along the by-way
    And more, much more than this
    I did it my way
    Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
    When I bit off more than I could chew
    But through it all when there was doubt
    I ate it up and spit it out
    I faced it all and I stood tall
    And did it my way
    I’ve loved, I’ve laughed, and cried
    I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
    And now, as tears subside
    I find it all so amusing
    To think I did all that
    And may I say, not in a shy way
    Oh no, oh no, not me
    I did it my way
    For what is a man, what has he got?
    If not himself, then he has naught
    To say the things he truly feels
    And not the words of one who kneels
    The record shows I took the blows
    And did it my way
    Yes, it was my way”

    • Em

      Paul Anka wrote the lyrics [to “I Did it My Way”], which totally surprises me. I hate this song for several reasons, not the least of which is that it does indeed exalt evil in the form of self-serving wicked people. It thumbs its nose at God with “To say the things he truly feels And not the words of one who kneels” – wow.
      Thank you for the reminder that RASNs are all self-pitying underneath (or not so underneath!)

  2. Kate

    Another thought on this post.

    A quote from the movie The Devil’s Advocate: “Vanity is definitely my favorite sin. Kevin, it’s so basic, self-love; the all-natural opiate. You know, it’s not that you didn’t care for Mary Ann, Kevin. It’s just that you were a little bit more involved with someone else: yourself.”

    Vanity equals false pride. Self-glorification. Self Self Self Self Self. Me Me Me.

    Have you ever wondered what would happen if we offered every RASN over the age of 18 who was a CONFIRMED psychopath (using MRI imaging) the opportunity to live in a completely lawless environment? If they were given all the money, drugs, alcohol, weapons etc. (all the filth they wanted) but would have to give up their access to children and the ability to have them, as well as never again be able to have access to those with a conscience? (This would by default mean they couldn’t have the technology to have internet access etc., lest they can reach us.) Knowing how RASNs think, they may initially find this offer titillating, but…

    Would they be happy? Satisfied? Being as evil as they could possibly be with zero repercussions and no ability to hurt “innocent” people?

    I don’t think so. There is an element to evil that needs access to God’s people. They have to be AGAINST something as that is their nature. Anti-Christs. 2 Thes. 2:4, “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped…”

    They hide in the shadows, do their evil undercover. If this is removed, it takes away the element they seem to need to get satisfaction out of it. Secrecy. When the true light of God shines on them, they shrivel and die, and whine and moan.

    Those who are God’s children are always looking for ways to help, improve, learn from ours and others mistakes and prevent others and us from making them. We are trying to do good, right, clean, things…to keep evil from gaining a foothold by keeping things clean.

    Those who are vain self-worshipers are always doing what they can to tear down good systems set in place to protect the innocent. As much for sport but also as a way to get away with something and “hide” in the open.

    Just something to contemplate…since we are getting closer to the very end.


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