The beauty of a clear conscience
In every sense, we can say our conscience is much more important than we think. In fact, one of the challenges within our human development is we are seldom taught to consider our conscience at all. I want to intentionally make a big deal about our conscience because I consider it to be one of our highest treasures.
How so? We’ve all seen the cartoons portray the person trying to decide if they should be bad or good along with the angel sitting on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Actually, this scenario represents each of us and the inner turmoil of trying to choose which path to take exposes the war between rebellious temptations and the awareness of doing what is right.
What is rarely clarified in this popular presentation is how the angel represents God’s perfect truth and though everyone can have a basic comprehension of right and wrong, it is difficult to understand God’s voice especially if an individual has not personally accepted Christ into their life as Lord and Savior.
In this light, we comprehend everyone’s conscience is directly associated with their spirit. Some have a value system that is based on emotions and philosophy, while others follow and embrace where God guides. As pain sensors tell our brain that something is wrong in our body, the conscience also works with the Holy Spirit as a security system reminding God’s children when they have sinned and warns them if they are even contemplating about being bad. Obeying God is the beauty of a clear conscience.
I have often mentioned how important it is to cultivate and maintain our thoughts. The mind is not only the area of all our ideas and intentions, but is the battlefield where we are constantly making critical decisions. To not be concerned about incorporating mental discipline and allowing God to help us renew our mind, we are ignoring one of the most crucial responsibilities in this life.
George Bernard Shaw is quoted, “A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me, there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.”
When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, “the one I feed the most.” If the conscience is another word for the heart, we can agree that whichever we choose to use, it involves the deepest part of who we are. I personally believe the mind is the ultimate control center, but the conscience can influence and persuade our decisions.
Let us not forget the individual who has invited Christ into their life also has God’s presence as the most important influence to help manage and control.
Again, the best-case scenario is when a person allows their conscience to be controlled through the Lord. I remember watching an interview years ago and the person was asked to talk about their faith and to give their personal interpretation of sin.
They replied, “Being out of line with my values.” This is hardly a solid answer theologically because right and wrong are not based on human values. It’s true that following our conscience is trustworthy when it obeys God’s desires. However, this answer was referring to the act of someone’s conscience being violated or compromised. Sin has everything to do with us choosing our own will over God’s will.
In a fallen world filled with distractions, we realize a clear conscience is associated with spiritual peace and contentment. Carl Jung is quoted as saying, “Through pride, we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience, a still small voice says to us, something is out of tune.” The world’s motto declares how they cannot obtain satisfaction and within this default disposition, we find that no class of society is immune from this reality.
When wrong ideas are planted, wrong attitudes are easily developed such as the idea the more possessions a person gathers, the more contentment we will have. Nothing could be further from the truth. So how can we be set free from the misery of a deceived and calloused conscience? We can ask God to save us from ourselves. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” Hebrews 9:14.
Dr. Billy Holland lives in Central Kentucky where he is a minister, author and outreach chaplain. Read more at billyhollandministries.com