A clear conscience. It’s a terrible thing to lose. Once we start ignoring that inner voice when it dictates a direction other than what we want, everything we think about moral truth begins to get fuzzy. Oh, it rarely seems that way at first. Rationalization for about any behavior we want to justify is readily provided by the enemy of our souls. But conscience-rejecting always results in unmitigated disaster. Remember the outcome of Eve’s response to Did God really say? (Genesis 3:1)?
The more we entertain thoughts that violate our conscience, the greater the risk of believing the lie and actually losing our capacity to distinguish right from wrong. Before we know it, as Paul warns, our faith becomes completely shipwrecked.
How does this happen?
Those baptized into Christianity are those who have pledged a clear conscience before God (1 Peter 3:21)…. They make a promise they will let the Holy Spirit remove the dirt they accumulate while doing life. It’s not a once-and-done thing. Clear consciences are nurtured by the daily bread of repentance as soon as conviction comes.
Today’s Christians face an increasingly hostile environment. We need to be alert. And ready. Just because we’re not facing the option of denying our faith or losing our life (as our brothers and sisters in the Middle East), we are no less accountable. None of us know what lies ahead, what kind of stand we may be called to take. But one thing is certain. If we don’t maintain a clear conscience when confronted with relatively small challenges, we won’t be prepared for the big ones.
So let’s do everything we can to keep our pledge of a clear conscience before God. When tempted to compromise the right and justify the wrong—even in small increments—let’s drink the “pure milk of the word” and strengthen our faith. If the good that God calls us to do results in suffering, let’s not use lame excuses to make ourselves feel ok about backing off. And when we do fail, let’s not turn away from the voice that whispers, “Repent.”
Nothing is worth shipwrecking our faith.