Curved In Upon Yourself


“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” (Proverbs 9:17–18, ESV)



Firstborn son of a warrior-king, heir to the throne, to glory, to a king’s wisdom was Amnon, son of David, but he throws it all away in unbridled lust.

“Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.”...“Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her. He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.”” (2 Samuel 13:1-2; 10–17, ESV)

What was this “love” with which Amnon loved his sister? We are told in Corinthians that love is patient and kind. John tells us that we know love by looking at Christ who laid His life down for us, that we may do likewise. So what is this “love” of Amnon’s? The truth is, Amnon loved his sister like a traveller loves seeing a rest stop. She is all he can think about until the relief has come, then she means nothing. The only love here was love of self.

It was Augustine who coined the phrase “homo incurvatus in se”, man curved in upon himself. This is what sin does, it idolizes the self, sacrificing, manipulating, killing, fighting, charming, ultimately willing to do anything necessary to the barriers that keep it from personal fulfillment (James 4).

This inward curve applied to the sins of lust, pornography, and other sexual immorality, could be called the sexual deviancy of autosexuality (add that to the rainbow flag). That is, sexuality that is expressed to the self. Amnon’s disposition wasn’t that of giving to Tamar love and generosity, his lust was for his own desires–she was merely the tool for making love to himself.