Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

Quieting a Nagging Conscience

  • Chuck Swindoll Insight for Living
  • Published Feb 06, 2006
Quieting a Nagging Conscience

Three thousand years ago, there lived a great man who served a great nation under a great God-Jehovah God of the heavens. The man's name was David. Yet David, the great man of God, committed a series of terrible sins that led to terrible consequences. When he was about fifty, he committed adultery. Then, rather than immediately face it and admit it, he covered it up with premeditated murder.

Looking at the situation during that period, as the days and months passed, one might have thought that the holy God of heaven was asleep, or at least was letting it pass-that sin does actually pay, that there are no wages. But that was not the case. For the better part of a year, David lived a life of hypocrisy and deception. His world became a world of guarded, miserable secrecy.

Listen to David's admission:

    When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
    Through my groaning all day long.

    For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me;
    My vitality was drained away as with the fever-heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3-4)

The man was trapped in a world of misery, which he describes in detail in Psalms 32 and 51. Sleepless nights. Physical illness. A fever. Haunted memories. Loss of weight. Total misery. The worst: feeling so terribly alone. So many miles from God. So full of groaning and agonizing.

God designed a strategy to bring David to his knees. God is awfully good at that. He doesn't settle His accounts at the end of each month or, for that matter, each year. But when He does settle them, well, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man [whatever a woman] sows, this he [she] will also reap,” writes the apostle Paul (Galatians 6:7).

In a marvelous move on God's part He finally brought before David a man of great integrity, a man who told him the truth. I don't think any other confrontation has ever been so brief and so effective. Four three-letter words did the job: “You are the man!” David crumbled in humility. And I think a fresh gush of relief came over his life.

In Psalm 32:1-2 he wrote:

    How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
    Whose sin is covered!

    How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
    And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

Until he repented, David had no joy. (Restore to me the joy of your salvation” Psalm 51:12) He was unstable. He felt inferior and insecure. (“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10.) Sin does that to you. It's part of the wages that sin inevitably demands.

If you're refusing to acknowledge your sin before God and your conscience just won't leave you alone, there is relief. Forgiveness and joy can be yours again. Won't you turn to your loving heavenly father and pray, as David did:

    Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;

    According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
    And cleanse me from my sin. . . .

    Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
    And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. . .

    O Lord, open my lips,
    That my mouth may declare Your praise. (Psalm 51:1-2, 6, 15)

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion & Destiny (Dallas, Tex.: Word Publishing, 1997), 194-199.

About the Author
Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most - teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979. In 2001, Insight for Living launched Paws & Tales, a weekly radio drama for kids designed to teach children biblical theology through adventure, fun, and music.

Ministry Resources
Teach your children about the importance of keeping a clean conscience and building one's life on the rock of God's Word. Paws & Tales presents: A Good Foundation and Other Tales, a collection of over four hours of exciting adventures with solid Bible teaching and free study guides to help your child apply the lessons. Purchase this and other great resources at www.pawsandtales.org.