Psa 36:2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The wicked (RASNs for our purposes here)…refuse to entertain anything that does not flatter them. As the Psalmist notes, the wicked flatter themselves so as to refuse to see any iniquity in them. The sin, the guilt, the blame is always projected onto someone else. RASNs (revilers, abusers, sociopaths, narcissists) have an astonishing lack of ability to self-examine.
As a result, other people have only one use for the RASN – to be used. And specifically, to be used for flattering and image-building of the RASN. In order to maintain a relationship (and it is a very toxic one) with such a person, you must continue to flatter them, to never point out any flaw in them. Stop doing this and you will no longer be of any use to the RASN.
Recently I was reading a sermon on Ephesians 4:1-5 preached long ago by John Calvin. Listen to what he said:
One of the evil extremes which are customary in this world is that a man will never be accepted by the world unless he flatters. Whoever means to be accepted must be one-eyed, and must shut his eyes when he sees a number of things in his friends worthy of blame.Sermons on Ephesians, John Calvin, Banner of Truth
It’s true, is it not? If you want to advance in this world – in the workplace or in the church as examples – you must never speak ill of anyone whose favor you would have. You must flatter. That is how the world operates in its sin. Calvin goes on:
And yet in the meanwhile, is not such silence a breach of our faith? For we see that they whom we pretend to love are on the highway to destruction, and entirely hardened in their sin, and yet nevertheless, whereas we ought to waken them, or else to set a mirror before them so that they might see their shame and be ashamed of it, we turn a blind eye to it all. Instead of doing rightly, each one of us flatters the other and cloaks the things which ought to be sharply rebuked, insomuch that those flatteries are no better than plasters to ease the sore, and in the meanwhile to feed the rottenness within.Ibid
This is in large part the explanation of why RASNs are typically not confronted in the local church. To do so would mean to suffer consequences of an enraged narcissist, to lose his support. Much better it seems to flatter him, to ignore his obvious evil, to throw his victim under the bus, and then we can “all just get along.”
The world’s way is flattery of the wicked. But that is not the Lord Jesus’ way. And it is not the loving way to deal with a person who is headed for hell.