By Felix A. Montelara
Author & Host of The Potential Millionaire
Luke 7:36-50 / New International Version (NIV)
In the last episode of Potential Millionaire, I talked to you about changing your paradigm which means changing the way you see the world. A paradigm is world view, and sometimes we need to modify what we see in life, so that we can change our bad behaviors into good ones. There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks- but I think you can, if you are willing to see the world in a different way. Change is difficult, especially when a person has developed a behavior that has become habitual. Can people change? Yes, but it can be a difficult process, and it means constantly working to behave differently. A paradigm shift may be as drastic as radically altering how we live and act, such as cutting up credit cards so you can’t spend money you don’t have-or it can be as minor as seeing things differently. For example, do you need to view money as your servant, instead of being a slave to the almighty dollar? Either way, a paradigm shift goes right along with New Year’s Resolutions- for how can your resolution to do things differently ever succeed, unless you are willing to change how you see the world, unless you are willing to prioritize differently, and unless you are willing to change what is important to you?
There are many interesting passages in the Bible about paradigm shifts, or in other words, about people making drastic changes to their lives. After all, many Bible stories are about sinners who find redemption, and resolve to continue their lives in a new direction. In addition, there are many Bible stories about debt- because Jesus often compared debt, or owing a person money, to sin, which is making a bad choice when you know it is wrong. In Luke 7:36-50, we are told the story of when Jesus has his feet washed by a sinful woman. Jesus had been invited to the home of Simon, who was a Pharisee, and encountered what was probably a prostitute. The woman wept and wet Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed his feet with perfume. The Pharisee was astounded, and doubted Jesus, thinking that “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus seemed to read his mind, and told the Pharisee a parable about two people who had their debts (one large and one small) forgiven for free by the lender, because neither debtor had the money to repay the debts. Jesus asked the Pharisee, “Now which of them will love him more?” The Pharisee told Jesus, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” Jesus agreed, but then made an important point about the sinful woman. Jesus told the Pharisee that he was a person who had sinned little, but he also loved only a little, because the Pharisee did not wash Jesus’ feet, or perfume his body. Jesus then said that the woman, although very sinful, had washed and perfumed him, showing much love to Jesus. Jesus said, Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Jesus then said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” We are then left to assume that the woman’s life has forever changed- because Jesus not only forgave her sins, but he did so in front of a crowd of important people. She now had the opportunity for a paradigm shift- her whole world had changed. She had the opportunity to leave behind her old, sinful life of prostitution and begin a new life. Would it be easy? No, I don’t think so. But it is important to remember that Jesus gave her the opportunity to change- and she had to make it happen.
We are likewise given opportunities to change the way we see the world, but it is up to us implement these changes, to stay the course, to commit to the changes. We all make mistakes, but these mistakes can be forgiven. But like the woman in the Bible, we must return love to God when we are given forgiveness- we must act on our opportunities and show that we have changed.
In this New Year, do you need to forgive yourself for some past money mistakes? Do you need to see things differently? Do you need to take advantage of opportunities and prove that you have seen the errors of your ways? It is possible for everyone to learn about money, to make it work for them, to become wealthy, to become debt free. In order to do these things, we need to change how we view money, spending, and debt. We need to seize the opportunities that God puts before us- if you are learning how to manage your money and live debt free- will repay God with love and be dedicated enough to do it?