Guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

A Life Curved Outward

26th May 2021

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Are we easily offended? Sometimes it feels like the present culture expects us to be.  Culture tells us that we should be so aware of ‘our rights’ that at any point, if we deem that those rights have been infringed, we must be offended. More often than not, however, it is not our ‘rights’ that have been infringed but our egos. This is actually not a new dilemma within the human race but one that has been given a licence for indulgence; I am the most important person I know, so make way.

Incurvatus in se means curved in on oneself. This is a term Martin Luther used to describe the problem of the sinner; a life lived for self and not for others. When the view that makes us the happiest is of our navel, we know we have a problem. It is the disruption of that view that causes offence. We might ask ourselves if we get offended when someone sits in ‘our’ pew at church on a Sunday morning? When someone gets served before us in a restaurant and we’ve been sitting their longer?  There are lots of silly examples and even more serious ones, but the point is this: how much emotional energy do we spend being offended? This answer will have an impact on our relationship with ‘horizontal forgiveness.’

For those suffering from Incurvatus in se, forgiving becomes a difficult task. If we spend our time being offended then we will assume that we have nothing to be forgiven for and if we do, it will purely be incidental. Navel gazing can leave us believing that we should be regular recipients of apologies and then exerting control over people we deem worthy of ours. Scripture has a remedy for this.

1 Peter 4: 10-11
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

A life curved outward. When Jesus becomes the focus, others do too. We have been empowered in by the Spirit to live a life that replicates Christ and this means serving others. It is the complete opposite of navel gazing. As faithful stewards of the gifts given to each one of us, we administer ‘God’s grace in its various forms.’ What a selfless image of humility; what a privilege. Not only do we serve others by putting them first, we speak and act using the strength of God himself. This is done for the glory and honour of the Lord. A life surrendered is not a life lived taking offence. Instead, we become aware of the other and aware when we are the ones who have cause offence. Our growth in the humility that comes from walking with our Saviour will allow us to take responsibility for our own sin and seek forgiveness from God and from our neighbour.


Pray with us today's prayer request:

The Very Reverend Kanishka Raffel will be consecrated and inaugurated as Archbishop of Sydney on May 28 at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney. 'Almighty God, bless your Servant Kanishka. So fill him with the truth of your doctrine and clothe him with holiness of life, that he may faithfully minister in this office to the glory of your name and the benefit of your Church. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.'

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