Twenty years is a long time.
A lot happens in the course of two decades.
A lot of water flows under the bridge.
A lot is forgotten and never mentioned again.
Some things are never mentioned but they are never forgotten either.
In 20 years you can get married and start a family.
In 20 years you can move on with your life.
In 20 years you can start a career.
In 20 years you can build an empire.
In 20 years you can become wealthy.
In 20 years you can make yourself famous.
In 20 years you can be on top of the world.
Here’s one thing you can’t do in 20 years:
You can’t erase a guilty conscience.
The conscience is an odd thing.
It’s the moral barometer of the heart that senses when we’ve done wrong.
Everyone has one.
It’s not a matter of religion or education or geography or ethnic origin.
If you’re a member of the human family, you were born with a conscience.
It’s part of God’s original design.
You get a conscience by virtue of being born on planet earth.
In most cases conscience is a good gift because your conscience can keep you out of trouble. But it is not infallible. It’s not the same as the Holy Spirit. And it does not have the power to compel your behavior. Conscience is like a street light that flashes green, yellow and red. You can still run the red light if you wish, but you know you’ve done something wrong.
Mark Twain once remarked that “a clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.”
He’s right about that.
But it’s possible to have a seared conscience. If you go long enough and try hard enough, you can quell the voice of your own conscience so that you no longer feel the pang of guilt.
What once seemed wrong doesn’t seem so bad.
What once kept you awake at night doesn’t bother you anymore.
What once made your cheeks blush with shame hardly enters your mind.
You can read the rest of the sermon online.
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