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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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A bestselling identity crisis – have you read Spare?

Scandalous, divisive, and bursting with juicy titbits, it’s no surprise that Prince Harry’s new biography, Spare, is the fastest-selling non-fiction book since records began in the UK.  

Terrifying truths or laughable lies? Expert embroidery or suppressed secrets? Intimate portrait or money-making manoeuvre?   

For me, the book is remarkably like the noughties packed lunch staple, Cheesestrings. As you peel back the layers, the novelty quickly wears off and you start to question what additives and enhancements have created such an artificial product. And then there’s the motivation behind the memoir: Harry bemoans the paps who’ve hounded his family for decades, and yet has fed himself to the lions by publishing tabloidy tattle.  

But, whatever you make of the content and motivation behind this bestseller, the issue that lies at the heart of the memoir is identity. The question Harry’s really addressing is ‘who am I?’. I’m The Youngest, The Smallest, The Shadow, The Support, Plan B, Darling Jackaroo, Spike, Scrawny, Baz, Haz, Second Lieutenant of Wales of the Blues and Royals, H, and, most significantly, The Spare. 

Throughout the book, Harry (or, more accurately, his ghost writer J R Moehringer) repeatedly returns to the fact that he is second best, surplus to requirement, and less important than his older brother, William – all because he’ll never wear the crown. 

None of us like to feel like a spare part. We all want to be valued and accepted for who we are. That’s why it’s amazing news that there are no spares in God’s kingdom. Our inheritance is not based upon how hard we try or being the oldest child, but in the victory of Jesus at the cross (Titus 3:4–7). God promises that those who have put their trust in Jesus will inherit the world, because he is the heir of the world, and we are in him. When Jesus returns, we’ll experience never-ending joy and complete satisfaction. We’ll lack no good thing.  

And it’s not an exclusive invite: Jesus calls everyone to join him at this eternal feast. And so, as we encounter existential angst about identity, purpose, and value amongst our friends, colleagues, and family, we can be heralds of hope. 

We can pour our time and energy into loving others – all because we’re confident in our identity as heirs. When your colleague is crying over a poor performance review or your sister’s going through a tough break up, show them the love of Jesus. Take time to listen to their feelings over a coffee or a pint, and then send a quick follow-up message to see how they’re doing. 

Through your actions and words, point to comfort that comes from knowing that, even when others question your worth, your identity as an heir of God’s kingdom is certain and sure. 

Sophie Sanders

Marketing and Communications Executive, LICC

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