October 22, 2010

Subdue the I

In God’s Little Devotional Book, published by Honor Books, Inc., there’s a story about two pairs of deer horns hanging on a wall in the 12th-century Bebenhausen Monastery in Germany. The horns are interlocked.

The horns suggest that two bucks were fighting over mating or territorial rights, and their antlers became so intertwined they could not be separated, and they died for their efforts.

The story reminded me of our politicians whose positions on so many issues are so entrenched that reconciliation and cooperation of any kind are not an option. Conceit, pride, vanity and arrogance lead the proponents on each side of almost any controversy to believe their way is the only way.

Nancy and I have been taking Tai Chi classes for about six months, and recently, our senior instructor wrote “Subdue the I” on the bulletin board. It occurs to me that our representatives in government at every level would serve the country better if they were taught this Tai Chi precept.

As I thought more about the meaning of that simple phrase, I also realized that when I lost patience or found fault with someone, in other words, when I failed to “subdue the I,” it created conflicts in my own life. In most cases, when I have lost my temper, it was because the “I” in me was amplified rather than subdued.

To “subdue the I” is to learn humility, and in the fourteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus ends his parable on the subject with these words for our politicians and all of us to remember:

“All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”