A pure, clear conscience is a wonderful thing. A guilty conscience is an awful thing. We desire the one and do not want the other. However, there are guilty consciences that are filled with false guilt instead of true guilt. There are also seemingly clear consciences that are clear only because the conscience does not record; it has become seared.
Even when a conscience is working well and is clear, that does not mean it is working perfectly according to God’s standards of right and wrong. The Apostle Paul said it this way: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:4-5).
A person may say that his conscience does not hurt, as if that were proof that he was innocent. It does not hold. The conscience is only an aid, and an imperfect one.
Written November 1984.
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