Saturday, October 04, 2014
Food for thought from Epictetus
Practice then from the start to say to every harsh impression, "You are an impression, and not at all the thing you appear to be." Then examine it and test it by these rules you have, and firstly, and chiefly, by this: whether the impression has to do with the things that are up to us, or those that are not; and if it has to do with the things that are not up to us, be ready to reply, "It is nothing to me." A quote from Eptictetus.
I don't usually quote Greek philosophers, but in my Bible commentary today it referred briefly to the teachings of Eptictetus. It said no more, so I needed to check out who he was using Wikipedia. It was mentioned that Paul's teachings to the Romans about obeying what the law said really should have been very familiar to them since many of them had heard and followed the teachings of Eptictetus. "Who is this guy?" I wondered...so I looked him up.
Basically, what the quote is saying is that there are external factors that we cannot control in our lives. We cannot control how others act, when and to what society we are born, the government that rules us, etc....but we can control our internal attitudes and thus, how we react to the external. Paul says we have the law of God written on our hearts. We KNOW his laws; how He wants us to act. What He wants us to do. The question is whether or not we will choose to obey Him outwardly (and inwardly too).
I have been struggling with who I am and who others perceive me to be. It has been a struggle for me for awhile lately and cumulated with more thinking due to a recent event. Am I really a good person? Am I someone people react positively towards? Can they see God in me?