- "Friends, I've lived with a clear conscience before God all my life, up to this very moment." Acts 23:1. MB
- "I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people." Acts 24:16. NLT
- "The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith." 1 Timothy 1:5. NLT
- "Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." 1 Timothy 1:19. NLT
A deep awareness of right and wrong, as well as a desire to do what is right (and an inability to always do it!), is a unique aspect of all human beings, regardless of a person's culture, race or background. Most people prefer justice over injustice, love over hate, peace over war, and forgiveness over violence. We may not always work for it; but we know it's right. It's just the way things are. For people of faith like myself, this is one of those indicators of God's fingerprints in our world. The presence of a 'law' reflects the existence of a 'lawgiver'. He has written that law on our hearts.
Our conscience is that part of us that indicates to our mind and heart whether we are doing what is right or wrong, urging us to do the right.
I heard the story of an American Indian who was asked to describe a 'conscience' to a young person. He described it like this:
"Your conscience is like a wooden triangle on the inside of you. When you do something wrong it turns, causing pain and urging you to stop. If you heed it's warning, it stops turning. If you don't, it keeps turning. However, if you ignore it long enough, over a period of time, the edges of the wooden triangle will wear off. At that time, when you do something wrong, it will still turn, but you will no longer feel anything."
What a profound answer!
To me, living with a clear conscience means:
- No unsettled accounts – with God or people.
- Everything repented of … and forgiven.
- Finishing each day with nothing left undone.
- Beginning each day with a clear slate.
It means there is nothing that I am aware of between me and God or any other person that I have not done my very best to make right. Oh, the joy of a clear conscience. It leads to peace and an inner sense of well-being, enabling us to live fully present each moment … without guilt or regret about the past or fear and worry about the future.
The apostle John, Jesus' closest disciple, put it this way:
This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there's not a trace of darkness in him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth – we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin. If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins – make a clean breast of them – he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out–and–out contradict God – make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest–Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good – not only ours, but the whole world's. 1 John 1:5 – 2.2. MB
May we know and experience the power of a clear conscience each day.