by Charles R. Swindoll
Conscience is our moral intuition. It's that part of us that passes judgment on our own state. And it takes away our confidence when something is sour or bad. It takes away our security when it is soiled.
"Let your conscience be your guide." You've heard that. You've said it. Wait a minute. Sometimes that's reliable. But a great deal depends on the condition of your conscience. What if your conscience is seared?
Conscience is like a compass. If a compass is faulty, you'll quickly get off course. A conscience gets its signals from the heart, which can be dulled, hardened, calloused. Furthermore, a conscience can be overly sensitive or can even drive one mad.
Someone who has been reared by legalistic parents who used guilt and shame to manipulate their children often has a conscience that is overly sensitive. Some have consciences so twisted and confused, they need extensive help before they can think correctly. Some need Christian therapists to help them understand their unhealthy consciences. A conscience that is legalistic is not a good guide. A libertine conscience is not a good guide either, nor is a calloused conscience.
In order for one's conscience to be a good guide, one the Spirit can direct, it needs to be healthy, sensitive, and capable of getting God's message.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.