The conscience that God has given us can either become more sensitive or less sensitive as the result of our response to life experiences. It is not the experiences themselves but our responses to them. Esau and Jacob were brothers. Esau became bitter and spiritually bankrupt because he was cheated out of an inheritance. Jacob, had a similar experience, cheated out of his wages for years, yet became more sensitive and impressionable. It’s more desirable to have a sensitive conscience than an insensitive one but it is up to us in the end; and very important because the way we treat others and our moral and ethical compass is at stake.
A sensitive conscience is good but there is more; the saying, let your conscience be your guide is not the best advice. The conscience is too subjective, too bias; excusing ourselves or accusing others as the conscience dictates. Our conscience should never be the only voice. Our only guide. It is not enough while traveling the unpredictable paths we choose or are led; even in the daylight when life is good we need better guidance; even more in the uncertain shadows of the night when life is not so good.
We need the guidance of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit! We have many interpretations of what the Word of God is saying to us. And we have many translations and revisions. There is nothing contradictory about having various interpretations and translations. The Word of God is meant to be personal. The way we understand it is personal. The Holy Spirit makes the written Word of God personal and relevant; even a sensitive conscience is inferior to the unequivocal and reliable guidance we receive from God’s Word.
Many times the written Word of God is not appreciated or recognized as divinely inspired and divinely delivered; unfortunately the guidance the Word of God offers is discarded. It’s not uncommon, now and historically, for some to want tangible proof that the Bible is the Word of God. It is not about proving that the Word of God is the Word of God! It is not about proving authenticity. It is about experiencing the authenticity. The Word of God is brought to life and relevance as the Spirit works in our hearts. This is very real to those who experience it. The Spirit and the Word will guide us; we will learn more about ourselves, what direction we should take, and we will learn more about God. As stated already, the way treat others and our moral and ethical compass is at stake.
A sensitive conscience can be like sandpaper in our soul; grinding us down through guilt, shame and reproach. The conscience can lead to change, but there is a better way or at least a way to make it better. The Word and Spirit romance the heart; a love above all others; a temporal and eternal flame in the soul guiding us and loving us now and forever.
Joseph C. Hutchison, Rochester Hills, Michigan February 2020
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