Archive for March, 2010
Posted on March 16, 2010 - by admin
I was brought up hearing those words from well-meaning teachers, friends, and others. It sounded good at the time. As I grew older I learned that relying solely on a personal conscience as the measurement for “right & wrong” is absurd. It’s bias toward us and harsh toward those unlike us. In Old Testament words, “We become right in our own eyes”. I remember a scene in the movie, “Rainmaker” with Matt Damon playing the part of a lawyer and questioning Jon Voight, playing the part of another lawyer. Damon says, “I bet you don’t even remember do you“? to which Voight replied, “Remember what“? Damon paused and said carefully, “Remember the first time you stepped over that line, way back then“. He was speaking of his conscience. That’s the problem with conscience. You can cross the line so much, so often, that you become numb to any alarm of wrongdoing. There’s an Indian parable about conscience that goes like this. “In the heart of a man is an arrowhead laying in a spot created for it. It has three sharp corners. When we do wrong it starts to turn and cuts the heart. However, if we do wrong long enough the continual cutting reshapes the arrowhead design and now it turns freely without causing any pain”. The Bible teaches that there are different types of consciences in people. (1) Good conscience-sensitive (2) Pure conscience-innocent, uncontaminated. (3) Evil conscience-plotting and scheming to harm (4) Seared conscience-”crossed the line so much doesn’t feel a thing”. And there are many others described in scripture. The point is, your conscience is only a reflector of your character, not a creator of it. It doesn’t develop character, it just displays it. This is why some people can lie without shame, gossip without guilt, lust without restraint, manipulate without wincing, high step smiling over the line of ethics, & even do things that leave others in shock. So what can we do or teach our children in this area? (1) Understand that your conscience is only as good as what goes in it. Children enter this world with a blank slate and we parents get to write on it. Our guidelines will remain intact for life unless we fail to live them ourselves, and our example causes them to revolt.(Read that back again carefully). (2) Be intentional with what you put in their conscience. Some parents “overkill” and create children with paranoia issues & guilt-ridden for laughing. Other parents model or teach nothing and then blame their children for unruly behavior. (3) Teach and live the PRINCIPLES of the Bible. This is the “light” the psalmist refers to that gives guidance to the soul. Let Gods Word Be Your Guide, not your conscience. (4) Strive for a pure & balanced conscience. Do what Gods Word says with the right motive. Not to be more “spiritual” in the eyes of others or to get an upgrade in halo’s, but from with a pure heart. And concerning balance, I mean, give grace to others. If your conscience is guided by authentic love for God it will reflect it in giving grace to others. A properly developed conscience is like a spiritual nerve, it alarms us when something is wrong. Oh, another type of conscience the Bible describes is a “Clear Conscience”. This means we’ve made wrongs right so we don’t experience shipwreck down the road. Hope this helps. It’s all my conscience will let me write at this time on this matter.