Before you say, “I don’t believe.” Chapter 12

Does your conscience trouble you?

In Shakespeare, Hamlet says, “Conscience makes cowards of us all.”

The Talmud has the words, ‘One pang of conscience is worth more than many lashes.’  Conscience is that little voice within us that dares to act like a judge to condemn us.  It can be silenced, for as Samuel Butler (1613-1680) noted ‘Conscience is thoroughly well bred and soon leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it’ and it can be distorted by continually feeding it with wrong information.  But it can be a troubling irritant, like hair in the mouth. It puts its finger on the nerve rebuking our wrong priorities, words and actions.  Conscience is universal, and though it is nurtured by our responses, it is innate and natural.  The Bible describes it as being from God: ‘The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart.’ (Proverbs 20:27  There is, then, an inward awareness of right and wrong, and in a similar way to the Ten Commandments, it makes clear that we fall short and do wrong.  Conscience is not the absolute, infallible guide to right and wrong, but it is a blessing if because it is either screaming or even whispering at us, we are prevented from doing wrong.

And if your conscience is troubling you, if you are conscious of sin, knowing that you are not the person God created you to be, there is a way of forgiveness.  It is not through trying to improve ourselves or hoping that our good will outweigh our bad – it won’t, and it doesn’t work like that!!  Jesus, on the cross on which He died, carried on Himself all our sin and guilt.  He paid the penalty for our wrong doing.  Our sins can be blotted out, cast into the deepest ocean, washed away, cast behind God’s back, separated from us as far as the west is from the east, if we simply call on the Name of the Lord Jesus to be saved.   The Bible says, ‘… how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.’ (Hebrews 9:14)  It speaks too of our hearts ‘sprinkled from an evil conscience’. (Hebrews 10:22)  This is what God wants to do for you.

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