clearing the Conscience.

Sometimes in life, the Good Lord puts it on our hearts and on our conscience to say something to someone, even if that something to be said is difficult. However, just because it is on your heart/conscience to say something, doesn't mean you can bulldoze over someone under the guise of "God told me to". Doing so may only hinder your relationship with that person and lead to the exact opposite result that God was hoping for. Whenever these times of needing to clear your conscience come about, I recommend four simple steps:
  1. Consider your relationship with the person in question. If you are merely acquaintances or are put together by some other means (i.e. co-workers, in-laws, neighbors, etc.) but lack a solid relationship, you may seriously want to consider how - or even if - you clear your conscience with this person. If you and the other person don't have a solid foundation of friendship or relationship to fall back on, clearing your conscience - no matter how well intentioned - may irrevocably harm your relationship with them. If, however, you do have a solid relationship with the person you feel compelled to talk to/share with/confront, then consider that person's feelings. Since you know them so well, you can try to anticipate how they would best receive whatever it is you feel it is necessary to tell them.
  2. Think before you speak.You might think that this sounds obvious, but it is unfortunately not as obvious as everyone might wish. Think before you speak. How will this alter this person's outlook? What is the best way to phrase what I want to say so that the message is clear and received well?
  3. Pray before you speak.Pray through whatever it is you have to say. If God has placed it on your heart to say something to someone, you better believe He also knows the best way to say whatever it is to this person. Ask Him for His words, His wisdom, and His grace. Lord, how do You want me to speak? What words do I need to share this truth with Your son or daughter?
  4. Speak charitably. If, after serious prayer and reflection, God - not your own voice or your own thoughts - is prompting you to speak to this person, do so charitably. If you feel the need to talk to them about their spending habits, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. "You cannot spend your money that way. It is not allowed." OR "I would highly suggest saving your money here because, X, Y, Z." One will come off much better than the other, I assure you.
All of these steps are important. If your relationship with a person isn't solid, but you still feel compelled to tell them something or confront them about something, consider finding a mutual friend to discuss with. Perhaps that mutual friend will be able to give you guidance or go to that person for you. The fact of the matter is that sometimes in life God does put something on our hearts to share with someone else. However, we must be careful of the way we share what is on our hearts. Steam-rolling someone, speaking to them without charity and without praying about is not likely to end well. Think, pray, and speak charitably in all you do!
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