Zacchaeus was well aware what was right and wrong. All he needed was love and acceptance to give him the reason to change. Insecure people reject others first just in case they got rejected later. Jesus extended the invitation to him and he immediately put the wrong right.
Often, there are cases that the person is not aware of his problem. He does not know why others are rejecting him. He has been brought up to do things that ways, ways that irritate others. He is trapped in a lie that binds him.
Let's take the most common form of a wrong belief - money is everything. Money represents security, enjoyment, power, influence and acceptance. Hence, many people try all means to get it and to hoard it for themselves. Some sacrifice their health and some even violate the laws and lost their freedom. We have the famous story written by Charles Dickens on "The Christmas Carol". The main character Scrooge stands for 'the miser'. It is commonly recognized that the story tells us about love and generosity and it transformed the Christmas celebration then.
But to me, the book also teaches us about how to change a person.
(1)Start with Acceptance to Gain Trust.
It begins with acceptance first as we covered in the previous post. The ghost that first came to visit Scrooge was his old partner, some one that has his trust. Any other person/ghost would not be able to gain the trust of Scrooge and for him to belief that it would be for his good.
(2) Create Awareness in 3 Steps
- Recall the Past - the goodness and joy and the what could have been if only.
- Reveal the Present - show the bigger world of others. How they could have joy in midst of needs.
- Forecast the Future - show the consequences of the future if there be no change.
(It is a common mistakes of parents - we force our children to do them our ways without telling them why. As a child grows older, we should not make the decision for the child but just to walk-through with child and show him the future consequences of his various choices and let him decide for himself)
It is not too late. There is hope for a change. Scrooge was so happy to discover that he has a 2nd chance. He is not dead yet. He immediately proceed to change his life. Giving hope is a big key for change. We cannot go back to change the past but we can change the future by making change now. We will talk about giving hope in the next post.
The most challenging story in the Bible about creating awareness is story of Nathan and David. It is trying to tell the King that he has been wrong and he needed to change without loosing one's life.
King David committed grave sins of having adultery with Bathsheba and the murdering of her loyal husband. Who dare to confront the King and point out his sins? Even so, will the King repent or will he argue that he had the right to do as he pleased. Nathan instead told the King a story of rich man taking away and killing the lamb of a poor farmer to feed his friend. Nathan asked David what should be done to the rich man? Then he pointed out that David was the rich-man. This led David to discover for himself his horrible deeds (2Sa 12:1-7). Nathan employed Strategy#26 指桑骂槐 Point at Mulberry but scold the Sophora Tree of the 36 Strategies ( See 36 Strategies and the Bible).
It calls for wisdom to tell stories like the Christmas Carol and Nathan's lamb that speaks to the mind and heart of the person and trigger a revelation of his misdeed and generate a change of heart.
A good principle is showing the truth in love. Eph 4:15
John 8:32 ...you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
See Freedom, Truth, Power - Getting the Priority Right
May God gives you the wisdom that you need. If not done well, instead of a conversion, we may end up with a broken friendship and hardened heart instead.
Next Post: Giving Hope - The Trigger for Change
Related: Changing Behavior (1) Mine