Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Are They Saying About You?

If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.

I read this quote today and had to share it with you. How many times have you heard of someone talking behind your back? It hurts, doesn't it? No one knows for sure why they do it but they do and it really isn't important why they do in the first place. What is important is how we react to it. Epictetus had it right: if they are speaking evil about you and it is true, then correct yourself, change the behaviour so they have nothing to talk about and you have corrected a character flaw. But if what they are saying is a lie, then laugh about it. Don't give it another thought. Don't waste your time dwelling on it, just laugh about it. 

Epictetus was born a slave in 55AD in what is now modern day Turkey. He believed that while we cannot always control our circumstances, we can control how we react to them. We, alone, are responsible for our actions. Epictetus eventually gained his freedom and became a well sought out teacher in Greece. He lived a solitary life but in his old age he adopted a child which had been left to die. He believed that whenever possible we should show kindness to others and that it was our duty to care for other human beings. 

I am sure that as a slave Epictetus had been mistreated and probably falsely accused from time to time but he chose to remain in control of his own reactions to his treatment. He could have become bitter with his lot in life. He could have refused to better himself or to reach out to others in kindness, but he didn't. He chose to treat others the way he would have liked to have been treated. Because he chose the better way, he is remembered centuries after his death. 

I have found that in my life, when people say things that are not true about me, that God always takes care of it. He will expose the lie for what it is. We sing a song that has a line in it 'if I hold my peace and let the Lord fight my battles, victory, victory shall be mine' and how true that is! If what people are saying about you is true, take it as a correction and improve yourself. But if what they are saying is not true, but a hateful lie, hold your peace, God sees you and He will not allow harm to come to you. He will defend you and help you in your time of need. He is your Defender, your Redeemer, your Friend.

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