Excessive Self-Importance


If you ask, anyone today, who Ulrich Zwingli was, they probably could not tell you. Ulrich Zwingli (January 1, 1484 – October 11, 1531) was born in Wildhaus, Switzerland. Although not as well-known as some other Reformers of his day, like Calvin and Luther, he nonetheless began a large Reformation movement that resulted in the demise of Catholicism in Switzerland.Zwingli spent a troubled morning walking the mountain trails of his beloved Switzerland. From a distance he observed two goats making their way toward each other on a path barely stitched to the side of a cliff. It was obvious that these nimble creatures could not pass one another.
As the goats approached each other, each feinted a power move at the other in what looked like the beginning of a battle. In a surprise twist, however, one goat suddenly collapsed onto the narrow ledge so the other goat could walk over its back. Then each moved on. Zwingli was impressed. Here was strength defined by submission. It allowed two opponents to survive a crisis so both could get on with more important things.

Too often we allow our emotions to derail relationships because we are blinded by excessive self-importance. Sometimes, like goats poised for battle on a mountain trail, we come close to butting heads. Sometimes we spit and snarl and lash out. Sometimes we sit together and lovingly hash things out. The strength of our emotions, especially when we are at odds with each other, inflates our tendency for self-preservation and diminishes our sense of the other’s importance in our lives. We need to keep relationships personal and issues impersonal as we build faithfulness with one another.
Disagreements are inevitable in any relationship. But the ways in which we work through them can bind us more tightly together in love.

It is as important that I learn to be honest with myself as it is to be truthful with my partner.

Philemon 8–9

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.

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