The Conscience

Note – I found this in my computer archives. I may have written this, but I’m not certain enough to claim authorship.

The Conscience

               There is a phrase that is heard, or thought, sometimes when a person is trying to decide whether or not to do or say something – “Let your conscience be your guide.” That is all well and good except for one small matter. Really, NOT SO SMALL. We will get into that in a moment.

          Before we get into this discussion about letting our conscience guide us, let’s get the definition – “The moral sense which distinguishes right from wrong.” (Webster’s National Dictionary of the English Language,1966) This is a great definition. I like it a lot. The problem with this for me is, Who’s moral’s? Not to coin a phrase but, “not all morals are created equally.”

          For some, doing good has been taught them since birth – manners, courtesy, politeness, love for their neighbor and all creation, is second nature, like breathing, automatic. They don’t even think about it. It comes naturally. While, with others, cruelty and torture of humans and animals and general nastiness of life is their moral basis. They think that there is nothing wrong with it. Then there are those whose consciences are described as being seared (I Tim. 4:2). They are insensitive to any inroads by those who speak the words of love offered by God.

          The point to be made with the above is that our conscience, that moral sense of right or wrong, is based on our training, either from outside sources or our own will. Ezekiel 18 offers examples of someone who had been good and changed to wicked or a wicked person changed to good and, a person who denied their training in wickedness to be a good person and vice versa. So the training can be absorbed or denied, accepted or rejected.

          The Apostle Paul, tells us in Act 23:1, “And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” Well, up until that day Paul has actually led two extremely opposite lives. Up until Acts 9 he had been one who was a “Hebrew of Hebrews.” He had been persecuting the Christians. He threw them into prison and was approving when they were killed. After chapter 9, he argued for those same Christians and their King, Jesus. Now, he opposed the Jews, wishing to convert them to Christianity. And, he did both “in all good conscience.” He changed the training of his conscience from the law of Moses to the law of Christ.

          The point of all this is that we must make sure where a person’s training is coming from when we say, “Let your conscience be your guide.” Was the philosophy of someone like Hitler or Stalin the mentor for the person you are talking to? Genocide, human experimentation, and/or world domination might be the goal and the persons conscience would have a “whatever it takes” attitude. On the other hand, if Jesus and His word is the trainer then “Love God” and “Love Your Neighbor” would be the guiding principles to take the gospel, the good news of Jesus sacrifice and resurrection and returning again in judgment, to the whole world. Not the killing of whole groups but the salvation of the same. Not human experimentation but transformation of the human spirit to be like Christ. Yes, world domination but not by a person but by Jesus Christ the King.

         So many times in the Bible those of God are warned to avoid human traditions and vain philosophies. These lead to evil things, evil thoughts, evil words, evil actions. We all need to follow the advice that Paul gave to Titus in 2:1, “…teach what accords with sound doctrine,” THEN you can “let your conscience be your guide.”

          Think on these things.

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