Discipline–Strict With Ourselves Tolerant With Others

Ryan Holiday wrote a couple of books and then found a lucrative niche writing about the Stoics. One of the leading Stoic writers of the first century was Seneca, whose thoughts so closely mirrored those of Paul that later Christian writers thought he was one of the flock. The Stoics (including Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictitus, and others) were favorite thinkers influencing the founding leaders of the American Revolution.

Holiday, writing in his Daily Stoic newsletter, points out that Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Roman leader Cato both kept to strict personal disciplines. They avoided the ease and comfort afforded to such prominent leaders in ancient Rome. However each held their brothers in great esteem even though they didn’t adhere to such discipline. Gandhi was another person who held to strict disciplines. Discussing his wife, though, he noted, “Kasturba takes tea in spite of the fact that she lives with me. She also takes coffee. I would even lovingly prepare it for her.”

I don’t want to be a critic, but an encourager. But I am an observer and am often disappointed. Vociferous Christians have turned off a majority of Americans through efforts to tell other people how they are wrong, or bad, or sinful. Their efforts to enforce their personal views through law further drive people away from the most important message of Jesus—that of love.

Let us encourage one another to “take care of the speck in our own eye rather than worrying about the log in others.” Developing some strong personal disciplines is not a bad idea, either.

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