How is your conscience trained?

403 how is your conscience trainedA child wants a "Guetzli", but it turns away from the cookie jar again. It remembers what happened last time when, without asking, it took a "guetzli". A teenager comes home five minutes before the scheduled time because he does not want to be called in for late homecoming. Taxpayers make sure that they fully state their income because they do not want to pay penalties when their tax returns are verified. The fear of punishment prevents many from wrongdoing.

Some are not worried, but consider their actions insignificant or believe that they would not get caught. We've all heard people say their actions do no harm to anyone; why then get upset?

Still others do the right thing, simply because it's the right thing to do. What is the cause of some having a well-developed conscience while others seem not to be very worried about the consequences of what they are doing or not doing? Where does integrity come from?

In Romans 2,14-17, Paul speaks of Jews and non-Jews and their relationship to the law. The Jews were guided by the law of Moses, but some non-Jews who did not have the law did by nature what the law required. "In their actions they were themselves a law".

They behaved according to their conscience. Frank E. Gaebelein calls Conscience a "God-given monitor" in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, which is significant because without a conscience or monitor, we would instinctively act like animals, and instinct is also created by God but he does not provide us with knowledge of right or wrong.

When I acted improperly as a child, my parents made sure that I understood what I was doing and that I also felt guilty about it. Guilt helped me sharpen my conscience. To this day, when I am doing something wrong or even thinking of a wrong deed or having a wrong thought, I feel remorse and try to listen, then correct the problem.

It seems that some parents today do not use guilt as a "teacher". "She is not politically correct. Guilt is not healthy. It harms the self-esteem of the child ". Granted, the wrong kind of guilt can be harmful. But right-wing correction, the doctrine of right and wrong, and healthy remorse, need children to become grown-up adults. Every culture in the world has some sort of right and wrong and imposes penalties for violating the laws of their country. It is sad, heartbreaking, to see how many people are losing consciousness of integrity and conscience.

The only one who helps us to achieve integrity is the Holy Spirit. Integrity comes from God. The guidance for a sensitive conscience grows when we listen to the Holy Spirit and let him guide us. Our children need to be taught the difference between right and wrong, and to be taught how to listen to their God-given conscience. We all have to learn to listen. God has given us this built-in monitor to help us live an honest, integrity-free life and get on with each other.

How is your conscience trained? - Ground to a fine point or dulled by lack of use? Let us pray that the Holy Ghost will sharpen our awareness of right and wrong, so that we can lead an integral life.

by Tammy Tkach


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