(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
When God made you, He gave you a built-in "firewall" to protect you from making destructive decisions. Without this firewall, man is prone to destroy his life and the lives of others by choices that go against God's will. This firewall is known as the human conscience.
Your conscience is a gift from your Creator. He gave it to you because He loves you and He wants to help you do the right things. He wants you to feel guilty about your sin, and to feel good about His love and forgiveness. When there is no guilt over sin, there is no awareness of the danger you are facing and the harm you are causing.
You can thank God whenever you sense your built-in firewall working for you. Whenever you refuse to do what is wrong, you can be reminded of how God made you. Whenever you resist hurting someone else by your words or actions, you can thank God He made you to sense that preferable path. Whenever you choose not to lie or cheat or steal, you can thank God for giving you a conscience.
Your conscience acts in a way as your "prosecuting attorney." Whenever you go against what is good, your conscience will accuse you and seek to convict you of your "crime." It is a blessing to sense that corrective conviction. We all need that in our lives. Young people need it and so do adults. Without it, we are operating a highly advanced "computer" of sorts without any firewall and without any protection against destructive behavior.
When you first go against your conscience in some area of your life, you feel it. It is a nagging feeling that what you did was wrong. At that point, you will either submit to your conscience and do the right thing, or you will resist your conscience and prepare once again to go against it. That is a critical mistake. By going against our conscience, we risk losing our bearings and reaping a whirlwind of consequences due to wrong choices.
A person who continually goes against his conscience is in danger of "searing" his conscience. This dulls the work of your conscience and its ability to help you make good decisions. A seared conscience is a very dangerous thing. It provides its owner with a false sense of comfort over wrong behavior, and an unhealthy outlook which will continue to cause major problems.
The Bible explains how a person's conscience can actually go from being your prosecuting attorney to your defense attorney. That progression is lethal. Paul writes, "The requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them." (Romans 2:15) This describes the process whereby man's conscience stops accusing him, and actually begins defending his bad behavior. That my friend is a seared conscience.
To be seared means to make callous or unfeeling. This is exactly what happens to the human conscience when it gets repeatedly and deliberately violated. It stops working, at least in a helpful manner. It begins to justify the bad behavior and even comes up with excuses. After all, it has now become your defense attorney.
Our conscience was given to us to help us know when we are going astray. When the conscience has been seared, man is capable of doing almost anything. And haven't we seen plenty of examples of that throughout history? When man becomes his own god, he has rejected the purpose for which he was created. Everything gets out of whack in that case.
Is your conscience in good shape, or has it been seared? Do you feel guilty when you say something or do something which is mean-spirited and uncaring? Jesus was mistreated by people who had seared consciences. He endured it in order to fulfill the purpose for which He came to earth.
All of us at times have gone against our conscience. And even worse, we have sinned against God's law. We need a Savior. We need forgiveness. That's where Jesus comes in. He paid the price we deserve to pay. He died for our sins on the cross, and then rose again from the grave.
If you feel guilty today over your sin against God, you can turn to Jesus and receive a free pardon. Just bring Him your sin. Give Him your life. Ask Him to work in your heart and to guide you by His Word and by the Holy Spirit, and also by your conscience. There is no better way to live than with Jesus by your side.
Christ did not come here to condemn us, but to save us. (see John 3:16,17) He did not come as our accuser, but as our Redeemer. If your conscience is accusing you of wrongdoing today, thank God that you sense your guilt. Then trust in Christ to wash away your sin and bring you into His family. You won't know what you are missing until you accept Christ as your Savior and begin to follow Him as your Lord. After all, it is what you were created to do.