Are you the proper person to speak into someone else's situation? This is a question that we should ask ourselves when we feel compelled to correct, advise or speak into someone else's life. As Christians, there are times when the Holy Spirit will prompt us to correct, advise or speak into another person's situation; and from our obedience, we will get the satisfaction of seeing God at work. However, there are other times, where we can make comments based on presumption and suffer the consequences from it: deep feelings of shame and regret after we realize that we have just spoken a word out of season. When we speak a word out of season, we can hurt others deeply, and give off the impression that we are prideful, judgmental or overbearing. I have made this mistake so many times and suffered the consequences from it. But I have also been at the receiving end, and have been deeply wounded by others presumptions to speak into my life. Some comments have been so hurtful and judgmental that they have actually pushed me away from God rather than closer to him. God gave us the tool of correction for healing not for harming, we need to be careful how we use that tool. Let our mouth bless and not curse.
We should always follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit when we feel led to speak to someone. But we should also be very careful in the process of discerning if we are the correct person to speak up, and also if it is the proper time to speak into someone else's life. The best thing we can do to discern what the proper approach is to a situation, is to ask God for instruction and understanding in prayer. After we ask God for direction, He might answer us in several ways, He might tell us:
-To speak up right then and there. -To wait and pray, until he opens the right door for us to speak. (If we are asked to wait, we can ask God to open a door for conversation, to prepare us, and the other person for the conversation, and most importantly we need to ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit when we are called to speak. - God can also tell us in our time of prayer that we are not the proper person to speak into that persons life or circumstance. If this is your case you have been called to intercede, do so until you see change.
Pray and follow the Spirit's leading. If you ask him for help, he will be faithful to move you and prompt you in the right direction. If after you pray and wait on God, you are still having difficulties discerning what the Lord is saying, here are some practical questions that could aid you in this process: Ask Yourself These Questions Before Approaching Someone: -Have they asked for your opinion or your advice in that matter? -Do you know what it feels like to be in that persons' shoes? -Have you listened to them thoroughly without interrupting them, and presuming that you know exactly what they need to hear? -Does this person know that you understand them or feel their pain? (This is especially important before correcting someone or trying to give someone else advice) -Does this person know that you care about them? -Have you invested time in this person's life?
Questions to Help You Discern Proper Timing: -Will you break a bruised reed if you say what you want to say? Beware of breaking a bruised reed even if you know the right answer to something. A person might need comfort and or prayer instead of a sermon they are not ready to receive. Show understanding and comfort before you speak truth into a persons life. Take the example of Jesus Christ in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation (chapter 1-3). -Have you taken the time to pray and discern maturity level and readiness on their part to be able to receive? Remember, how gentle God is to in the process of confronting us with the truth.
-In the case of correction; is it absolutely necessary for you to correct this person at this time?
*Remember that you don't have to answer yes, to all or some of these questions to speak into someone else's life. There is no exact recipe To follow. These are just questions to aid you in very blurry cases. Let your primary leading come from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, His word and His prompting.