How to Have a Clear Conscience

Correct wrongdoing by doing the right thing

How to deal with guilt and pain when you’ve done something wrong or hurt someone? This is one of the biggest of life challenges we all face. This card outlines the obvious steps every heart knows will work: When someone wrongs you, you don’t want them to make excuses, beat themselves up, or blame you! You want them to feel it, understand it, and fix it. They want the same from you too.

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Right response to wrongdoing

Made mistakes? We all have. This card explains the right, healthy, effective way to respond to the pain you feel when you’ve done wrong.

DO THIS

FEEL. Feelings of regret and guilt—conscience pangs—naturally result from wrongdoing. That’s your heart, your inner compass talking—listen to it. Your moral sensitivity is excellent, reliable, and praiseworthy. It shows you care and you have a good, sensitive heart.

UNDERSTAND. We all make mistakes, but if you under- stand what you did wrong, you can correct it. Good old simple understanding empowers you to make things right: “THAT was wrong; THIS is what’s wrong with it.”

DON’T DO THIS

NO EXCUSES. Sure, sometimes things get in the way of the rightness you intended. But a habit of making excuses is no good. We all want and need to be trust-worthy, even to ourselves. That takes self-honesty, responsibility—and NO excuses!

NO BLAME. Why displace responsibility on others, or on circumstances, to “prove” yourself innocent of sins for which you are, in reality, responsible—and you know it.

NO SHAME. Beating yourself up is far less than useless. It only weakens you and depresses others. Take that energy and invest it in doing right.

CORRECT AN OFF COURSE? . . . OF COURSE!

Surely, doing right is the only way to end the pain that naturally results from doing wrong. This is self-understood. When we do wrong and keep doing it, we just feel more and more guilty. No surprise there!

Don’t let an “off course” become an “of course”

Without shame or blame, go ahead and right your wrongs.

If you did something that caused another person suffering or loss, and you regret it—give back to them. Surely your heart would want to do that. It’s your faithful guide—listen to it.

DO UNTO OTHERS, pt 1
We all hope that a per- son who does wrong would care enough to regret it.

We hope, too, that they will want to understand truly what they did wrong—so they can do differently in the future.

DO UNTO OTHERS, pt 2
Who wants to see a person giving excuses? And who wants to see them dive into shame or blame?

We’d all prefer they’d skip that junk. Just feel the error, understand it, and correct it.

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