The traditional or common teaching on changing others come this 3 steps format:
- Tell him - you must do this and not do that.
- Threaten him - If step 1 fails to work. Follow with this step 2. You better change or else ....
- Punish him. You ask for it ...
We need to have a different model for changing behavior. The basic principle begins we ourselves. We must change the way we treat the other if we want to see changes in others.
Or simply put,
- "Changing Others Starts with Changing Ourselves First". Or
- "We change first to change others"
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.” -- Gandhi
Please click to above link to read the short story.
Jesus only said "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."
And Zacchaeus declared in public (the hearer will make sure Zacchaeus do as he claims) "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."
The change in Zacchaeus most amazing and drastic
- giving away half of his goods (He is a rich man to start with v2)
- admission of guilt and restitution, 400% instead of 120% as required in Num 5:7.
I think the key is acceptance.
Acceptance into the inner group; in this case, Jesus' group. All of us has the need for being accepted into a group that we want to join.
Zacchaeus had heard of Jesus, his teaching and works of miracles. Will such a Rabbi accept him? He was working for Romans (the enemy) as Chief tax-collector v2 and rejected by his people as a sinner v7.
Jesus did not 'tell' or point out any of his sins.
Jesus accepted him before any of Zacchaeus' confession of sins.
He admitted his sins and promised to make 4 times the amount of restitution.
In this case, we find:
Acceptance brings Transformation!Acceptance of the person establishes the starting ground for change. Most often, they know the right and wrong and they will change.
Even if they don't. There is a common ground to engage and create the awareness for change. This will be the next post on "Changing Others".
Acceptance of a person is not condoning his bad behavior. It is the signal that he as person is worthy of love. His bad life-style can change later. The love is unconditional to be true love. Conditional love is not love but a business transaction of earning it by good behavior. Jesus Christ saved us while we were yet sinners. A person is greater than his bad behavior. A realization of being unconditionally loved does not lead to greater freedom to sin more but strangely, it brings conviction and staying away from sins. A purified soul is now more sensitive to the dirt and stink of sins!
Show to our children and staff that we accept them first, in spite of, the failures. Then we can truly help them in the change for the better.
Zacchaeus' change was so immediate and wonderful. We thank God that such changes are common. Yet, there are other people that are touched differently.
Stay tuned for more on "Changing Others".
Need to clarify that "Changing Others" is not about changing others to suit us but to help them to become the very best they could be rather than be trapped in pains or rejections or depression.
A better title suggested by Guan Hock Teo is "Helping Others in their darkest hour"
Next: Creating Awareness For Change - Must do it Rightly...