Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. Hebrews 13:18
Generally speaking, my conscience is my moral compass. It will let me know when I violate what I know to be right. While it is often reliable, it isn’t 100% accurate. If I was raised in a culture where bigotry was commonplace, I would grow up to discriminate with a clear conscience. That’s scary! And if I was raised around people who loved to inflict guilt, no matter how good I was, I never felt good enough. As an adult, I suffer from an overly sensitive guilt trigger and believe it’s the voice of the Holy Spirit. Peace is never mine to enjoy.
It is possible to have a clear conscience. It is possible to be free of self-condemnation. It is possible to live at peace with God and with myself. The one who wrote Psalm 139 points me to the source of internal rest. “You discern my thoughts from far away. Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely” Psalm 139:2-4 The One who is holy is the only One qualified to shape my conscience. I need Him because, though He created me with a conscience that knows right from wrong, the Fall of mankind has marred its reliability. My Heavenly Father examines my heart, and the flow of my thoughts, and helps me sort them out according to His wisdom and righteousness. I don’t need to be afraid of the One who can see clear through me. Though He is holy, He is also Love.
Have you ever been uncomfortable in someone’s presence because you felt like they were studying you? Their gaze was penetrating and invasive. But Peter did not feel this way when Jesus looked at him. On the shore of the sea of Galilee, he said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” John 21:17 Although he had recently denied Jesus, he knew Jesus could see the remorse in his heart. He was not afraid of Love, even though intimate.
Guilt is a complicated thing and drives many to counseling. But I can count on this. God promises a clear conscience. God’s Spirit is within me to convict me of sin and also assure me of sinlessness. Satan’s guilt is tormenting, vague, and promises no end. God’s conviction is precise, points to a particular offense, and offers closure on the other side of repentance. His Word is my mirror, the only reliable rudder against the voice of the great deceiver of this age.
Peace with You. Rest in Your presence. These are mine as I live a cross centered life. Amen