What is a "Character Disorder?"
(Psychology’s “Personality Disorder”)




The American Heritage Dictionary says "character" is the "ethical and moral structure of a person's group, that ultimately reflect the person's moral strength and reputation." The Bible considers character as "conscience." In a sense, many of the Bible narratives are complex moral and ethical stories revolving around a person's moral strength or lack of moral strength.
As a pastoral counselor and crisis intervention therapist, I am very concerned with the degree of conscience or lack of conscience that is in an individual. Psychology refers to those with a lack of conscience as "personality disordered." Personally, I like the term, “Conscience Disordered.”
Just how these people impact us in the evangelical church has been a subject of fascination and sometimes of dread, because of the pain the "disordered" inflict on those around them. We mean these people no harm, but we must be honest and not over-expect people with these types of orientation to life to respond to our ministry or help. Do not be discouraged at those who resist our love and care. Help those you can, and pray for those you cannot directly help. There still is a sovereign God who can and does perform miracles.
Here is what we must look for:


A. They cause constant Pain to those around them
1. No intimacy Potential
2. Cannot love - They cannot return your love
B. No Fruit of the Spirit
1. Character of Christ cannot grow in them
2. Gal 5:22,23 - No love, joy, peace, patience, etc.

A. Cannot See Connection between Actions and Results
1. Cannot peer into the mirror of Self and see a reflection
2. Do not try "Inner Healing," or "Healing of Memories"
B. Cannot Learn from Experience

A. Cannot own their own feelings
1. Someone else always "Causes" them to Feel Bad
2. Can provide "sounding board" through "active listening"

B. "Beam/Mote" problem
1. Projecting/Blaming others for their “own” sins
2. Easier to see what I dislike in others, than myself

A. Compulsives try to ORGANIZE the authority figure
B. Paranoids mistrust them and will threaten to kill them.
They may try to become an authority person themselves,
but in a worldly sense.
C. Histrionics will try to seduce them (if they're young), or
mother them (if the histrionic is older)
D. Passive-Aggressive will be covertly hostile toward the authority figure. It's more natural to stab them in the back through a gossipy tongue or indirectly sabotaging the work of the authority person.
E. Anti-Social person will "feed upon" the authority person.
They are natural predators, and will see the authority person as an "easy mark."

A. Enjoy "Gathering troops" who see the world through the same strange lens that they look through.
B. Become very powerful in groups:“Birds of a feather, flock together."

VI. Resist Healing
A. All will suffer at times (like a dull toothache)
B. Various treatment programs will seemingly fail

A. Cyclical rounds of depression
1. Sometimes based on seasons of the year
2. Sometimes based upon stressful situations
B. Healthy adults undergo at least one bout of depression in a lifetime
1. Character disordered persons often go through "chronic" depression
2. Some have never in their lives been able to know a time when they WERE NOT depressed.



A. Misplaced or missing
1. Feel no anxiety or guilt (unless they are caught!)
2. Morally insensitive
B. Outwardly poised or serene

A . All are immature
1. Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth
2. ALWAYS want somebody to "feed them".
See Hebrews 5/6
B. Poor Leadership Material
1. Unteachable Spirits
2. Unstable, Revengeful, Spiteful

Sheepfold Ministries, Sharon, PA - Rev. Philip Roland, MA - 724-981-5683



Three States

1. The individual with a healthy conscience has an inner sense of right and wrong, a sensitivity to the pain of others, and the ability to make healthy choices for themselves and those around them.

2. The individual with an out-of-place conscience makes occasionally impulsive decisions about themselves and others. Sometimes that make good choices for themselves. Sometimes their choices injure themselves and those around them. They are inconsistent because their conscience works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t work for them.

3. The individual with a missing conscience is extremely self-centered and is insensitive to the pain they cause themselves and others. Their choices in life are based upon opportunity. If the opportunity is in front of them, they will make unconscionable decisions for themselves and others. The missing conscience renders them “predators.” They will naturally take advantage of others in their attempt to satisfy their own lustful needs and desires.

Courtesy of Phil Roland, Sheepfold Ministries, 2002




Dangerous People and The Biblical Law of Sowing and Reaping

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
“As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” Job 4:8

The Biblical understanding of a conscience disordered person is someone who cannot see the scriptural and pragmatic connection between sowing and reaping. They keep making the same mistakes over and over again. “Ever learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7 They stay on a plateau of existence, never learning and growing from the lessons of scripture or from life.
I refer to them in ministry settings as “Dangerous People.” They are in danger FROM others and they are dangerous TO others. They are relationally blind and deaf. Conscience disordered persons are so self-centered, they are totally lacking in empathy and discernment. Every issue in life revolves around them. They walk into danger unaware. Dangerous People literally “get out of the frying pan and into the fire.”
The Dangerous Person may be suffering from paranoia, narcissism or any of the host of psychology’s “personality disorders,” but they keep proverbially “shooting themselves in the foot.” We are referring to people who have “relational sickness.” They are drawn to “fatal attractions.”
These are people who will ultimately injure or hurt them. Dangerous People are especially drawn to predators (sociopaths) who will use them and abuse them. It's frustrating to be on the outside and watch this deadly process happening. The Christian counselor sometimes feels pretty helpless.
Sobriety, pain and having to deal with the pain they cause themselves and others will somewhat help “Dangerous People.” Often, however, the ultimate healing for them is incarceration. For these disordered among us there are always the codependent few who will give up themselves in futile efforts to save the “Dangerous Ones” in our midst from their consequences. Life can become the revolving door from one painful crisis to another. Let them have their consequences. They earn their own pain. Let them have it while you move on to more receptive souls.

Extrinsic vs. intrinsic believer

Maintains a external belief system of rules and dogmatic theology.
Filters all issues through an external grid of rules and regulations.


A . Minimal concept SELF
1. Outwardly rigid
2. Motivated by guilt and fear
3. Immature – Static, non-growing

B. Low Tolerance for ambiguity
1. No grays allowed
2. Black and white thinker

C. Poor Self-Image
1. Minimal Concept of Self
2. Chronically low Self-esteem

D. Strong needs for Security

Maintains an internal belief system; is relational, treats others with love and respect. “Eats the grid.” Characteristics:
A. Internalized beliefs
B. Tolerant of Ambiguity – “Life isn’t black and white!”
C. Healthy Self-Image – “Lives in their own skin.”

D. Secure with his/her Faith
1. Mature in Christ
2. Nurturing of others

(Based upon the research of psychologist Gordon Alport in his book, The Nature of Prejudice.)

Christian Character
“The Character of the Lamb

What IS character? What makes a person's character, "Christian?" God's Word teaches that character is formed by the indwelling person of Jesus WITHIN a person's life. That indwelling Presence gives the Believer a new conscience, and transforms how a Christian Believer will think, speak and act. Here are some examples of HOW Christ changes our character:

1) Keeping your word when you make a promise. That means being on time and WHERE you tell people you will be. That means, also, not OVER-PROMISING people what you will or will not do in an over-anxious attempt to get their approval.

2) Speaking TO PEOPLE, rather than ABOUT THEM. If a true believer will practice Luke 17:3, he/she will not gossip, backbite or in any way share information ABOUT people that slanders them or causes them pain.

3) Respecting the rights, boundaries and feelings of others. Recognizing
that others have rights, and as the Bible teaches, “preferring your brother above yourself." (Romans 12:10)

4) Knowing that for every CAUSE there is an EFFECT. There is an immutable law of sowing and reaping that all believers (and non-believers) must recognize. (See Gal. 6:7) You either sow good seed or you sow weeds. Your actions are determined by your character. And your actions over a period of time in relationship with others will define character.

5) Speaking the truth even if it causes you pain. The Bible calls it, "speaking the truth in love." (See Eph. 4-25) We do not intentionally cause
people pain, but they may feel pain if darkness is in their hearts.

6) Standing up for the truth even when you have to stand alone. Jesus did it; so must we who bear His Name and walk with Him.

7) Being accountable for your own sin, and not blaming others. Adam tried to blame BOTH God and his wife, Eve, for his sin; it didn't work. Blaming God and/or others for your sins won’t work in your current situation, either.

8) Being willing to work by the sweat of your own brow. It is easy to have
others do things for us, that we ourselves are capable of doing. (Codependency) Biblical teaching says that if we don't work, we don't eat. (2 Thess. 3:10)

9) Knowing how to say NO, and meaning it. Jesus modeled for us how to say no, and mean it. James taught us in James 5:12, "Let your yea’s be yea and your nay’s, nay."

10) Giving up trying to control, manipulate and coheres others into submission to your will. There is only one person you have effective control over in your life: that's the one who stares back at you when you look into the mirror. And only you and Jesus can control self with its pride, greed and self-centeredness.
11) Loving people too much to slander them.
12) Consistency in your relationship with Christ, others in the Body of Christ, and with people who are outside the Body of Christ. Enduring to the end wins for us the victor's crown. See Rev. chapters 2 and 3.
13) Treating all people as though they were Jesus. In Matthew 24 Jesus tells us that when we do good deeds for others it is as though we are doing them unto Him.
14) Facing the issues of life rather than ignoring, avoiding or denying them. Jesus always took His appointed tasks with His face set "like a flint." He, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. See Hebrews 12.

15) Making debts that we intend to pay. Can you imagine Jesus declaring bankruptcy? The ten Commandments (Ex. 20:15) instruct us carefully about taking that which is not ours, and coveting that which is not ours. Paul declares boldly, "Let him that stole, steal no more...". Eph. 4:28.
16) Expecting others to "take care of us," and assume responsibility for our actions (and consequences) and emotions. Paul tells us to "bear our own burden." Gal. 6:5. There is no paradox here in Gal. 6:2, just a problem that English isn't specific enough to carefully translate. The Gal. 6:5 word for "burden," means the "life-load that all women/men are intended to bear in order to grow and develop in character. If someone relieves you of that MINIMUM responsibility, you will forever remain an adult-child, and your Christian character will never grow.
17) Saying what you mean and meaning what you say. The CURSE of the Christian traditional-church communication is INDIRECTNESS. The Lord Jesus was bold enough to hold the sinner(s) accountable for their own words and their own actions. He was assertive. You always get a "straight-shot" with Jesus.
18) Praying for others instead of listening to and for the evil report about a brother and/or sister in Christ. Listening to the evil report always leads to spiritual defilement and death. Remember always to speak the truth in love for defilement happens with the MOUTH. See Matt. 15:11)
19) Making up your OWN MIND about what are right paths for you, and not always calling others to "tell you what to do, or how to think or react to a person or a situation." It IS TRUE that "in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Prov. 11:14)." But Solomon assumes that you are consulting "Godly, anointed counselors," and not the unequipped neighbor over the back fence, or the congregational “party-line” gossip.

20) The ability to receive a rebuke, and not naively shrug it off or treat the rebuke with scorn. A FOOL cannot receive a rebuke. The Lord instructs the righteous and the righteous respond to His rebuke. We rebuke and/or admonish the ones in whom we love. We ignore the faults of them in whom we feel indifferently toward. (Authority Issues)
21) Loving people too much to want to control them. Each individual in life operates as a free moral agent. Christian character is developed when a person is in a situation of life where they can ultimately make their own decisions and choices, and learn from their failures. This is necessary for all growth in Christian character and relationships.

Healing the Broken-Hearted

Courtesy of Sheepfold Ministries, Sharon, PA 16146
Rev. Philip B. Roland /Pastor Bruce Richael

Christian Character
Can you pass the test?

1. Is another person’s spouse “safe” with you?
2. Can you be trusted with another father’s daughter?
3. Are little children “safe” in your arms?
4. Do you “sexualize” opposite sex relationships?
5. Can you say “no” to all pornography, including inter-net porn?
6. Assuming you were a Sunday School Teacher, would your children be able to look at any of your daily or weekend activities and say to their parents, “Look! there’s my Sunday School Teacher?”
7. Can you honestly say that you have kept yourself “unspotted from the world?”
8. Has anyone lately accused you of being Christian?
9. Before you condemn others of sexual sin, have you examined your own lustful heart?
10. Has your own struggle against good and evil in your own heart ever caused you to “hunger and thirst for righteousness?”
11. Before you insist on your fellow-believer removing the splinter from their eye, have you taken a look at the two-by-four protruding from your own eye?





Marks of Maturity
Gal 6:17 / 2 Cor. 11:24-27

“There are “marks/Indicators” of maturity in Christ. These marks happen from adversity, deprivation and personal loss. True believers will not get bitter, only better. Pastor Phil

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mat 5:48

Stigmata = Stig-ma-ta = Marks, Scars or Brands of ownership left
by the Divine Rod of Discipline. . .Eg. Jacob’s Thigh

There are Five basic Marks of Maturity:
I. The Mark of Humility -
A. World views Humility as Foolishness
B. D. L. Moody - Psalm 14:1

II. The Mark of Forgiveness -
A. Joseph and His Brothers - Genesis Chapters 37-50
B. Theme of the entire Bible - Genesis 50:20

III. The Mark of Truth -
A. No liars can inherit the Kingdom of God - Rev. 21:8
B. Ananias and Saphira - Acts 5:4
C. Jesus said, “I am the way, I am the truth. . . “ John 14:6

IV. The Mark of Love -
A. 1 Cor. 13 - A More Excellent Way
B. You give love, you cannot take it

V. The Mark of Serving Others -
A. Matt. 10:20-28 - The one who is greatest in God’s Kingdom
is the servant of all. . .
B. Matt. 10:24 - The servant is not above his Master
C. 2 Chronicles 16:9
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed (KJV “Perfect”) to Him.”

Marks of Maturity TEXTS
Matt. 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Gal 6:17 Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
2 Cor 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
2 Cor 11:24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
2 Cor 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
2 Cor 11:26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
2 Cor 11:27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
2 Cor 11:28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
1 Cor 12:31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
Psa 14:1 For the director of music. Of David. The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”
Gen 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Rev 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Mat 20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
Mat 20:21 "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."
Mat 20:22 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered.
Mat 20:23 Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."
Mat 20:24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.
Mat 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
Mat 20:26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
Mat 20:27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--
Mat 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mat 10:24 "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
2 Chr 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed (KJV “Perfect”) to Him. You’ve done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."


Sheepfold Ministries, June 6, 1999
Pastor Phil Roland