“I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” Acts 24:16
A few weekends ago, my husband and I were serving in the elder prayer room at our church. A young lady came in looking very upset and unsure and asking for prayer. On her request form, she was asking to pray about a miscarriage. All of the elders were busy and I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to talk to her. I, too, had a miscarriage many years before and knew what she was experiencing.
Happy to talk to a woman, this young girl (let’s call her Sarah) began to tell me her heart-wrenching story of loss. She agonized over the death of her child she would never meet here on this earth. She had been far enough along to feel the want. After a few tears, she admitted to her real reason for being there. It wasn’t the miscarriage, even though it did cause pain. The event had brought on something else. She was not being tormented by the loss of her baby, but by the loss of a clear conscience.
Sarah explained losing her baby had made her think back to a time she was trying to forget. She was thinking she lost the baby because of something she had done in her past. She had cheated on her dissertation and doctorate program. She had forged research results years ago. As Sarah unfolded her story, I assured her God was not punishing her, but in times of trial, we can tend to hear God’s voice more clearly.
God gives opportunities in life to share our life lessons. No trial happens to keep the lessons to ourselves.
Each experience is to be shared.
When I first became a Christ follower, God asked me to confess and ask for forgiveness to those he brought to my mind. At first, it was just a couple of names – friends, family, ex-boyfriend’s moms, teachers, etc. At the end, the list of offended was 87 people! So I knew the guilt she was carrying. I had also cheated in college and God had asked me to go to the dean of my university and give back my diploma.
I also knew the freedom that comes from a clear conscience. With that joy, I was able to share my story with her. I wanted her to experience the burden-lifting experience of asking for forgiveness.
Sarah could hardly believe that not only had I faced a miscarriage, but I also confronted my conscience. “What are the chances?” she said. “Of all the people who could have been here . . “ Only God does that!
After we prayed, Sarah went home to discuss all of it with her husband. She called me weeks later to tell me she made a meeting with the dean. She had decided to give back her doctorate diploma. She called to get encouragement from me, to know this was the right thing. She knew God had forgiven her. She had tried to forget about it and “sweep it under the rug”. Many friends and family had encouraged her to “let it go”. However, she knew in her heart that was not the right thing.
All I could do was exhort her to do what she was already being called to do. We went through the pros and cons of living with the guilt and shame. She was scared, but she wanted freedom. She kept her appointment with the dean that very day.
God brings darkness into the light.
God makes all things new.
She told him, “God has convicted me that I cheated and gave a false testimony. I know this is wrong and I want to give back my diploma. Will you please forgive me?” I am smiling as I type this because I love to see someone do the right thing. The hard thing. Only then do we see the rewards – the burden lifted – the graciousness of Jesus. The dean was gracious with her.
Is there someone in your life you need to ask forgiveness to? Don’t sweep it under the rug. Don’t let it nag at you. You can do it! Go on! The heavenly angels are rooting you on!
Do the hard thing!
How have you kept your conscience clear before God and man?