THE CONTINUAL EFFECTS OF AN UNCLEAR CONSCIENCE

January 27, 2021

THE CONTINUAL EFFECTS OF AN UNCLEAR CONSCIENCE


Your conscience is that part of you that knows you deeply. The word "conscience" means a "knowing with" or "self-knowledge." This is the part of you where God protects you from wrong choices, but also convicts you when you sin.

When we have sinned against someone, the Bible has a very clear process for resolution. Jesus commanded this in Matthew 5:23-24, and the account of Jacob in the Old Testament illustrates the beauty and rightness of this approach.

JACOB’S PAST

Jacob had deceived and cheated his brother out of his birthright and blessing. Esau was not innocent in this encounter also because he had vowed to kill his brother. Years went by, and now Jacob, married and prosperous, was told by God to return to Israel. But along the way, his worst nightmare came to pass … he encountered his brother, the one he had wronged years before.

Genesis 32
6  The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him."
7  Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two companies;
8  for he said, "If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape."
9  Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,'
10  I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.
11  "Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children.
12  "For You said, 'I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.' "

 

We all sin and we hurt others in the process.  Our sin is not only against God, but against those we have wronged. The path to a clear conscience is to humbly admit your sin and seek forgiveness from the one you've offended. Also, we should make restitution if needed.

Until that is done, you can carry the unbearable weight of guilt, and rightfully so. What if I see that person? What if they take revenge? What if others discover my past sins? What if my unresolved actions bring reproach to God and hinder the gospel? God's legitimate conviction can paralyze you and is like a heavy burden around your neck. It is designed by God to drive you to action.

When there are people in your life that you have sinned against, the best thing to do is to face it by the grace of God.

A HUMBLE, COURAGEOUS RESPONSE

Jacob took the hard but necessary step. He admitted his past sins and sent a gift of restitution to his brother. Esau graciously forgave him, and their relationship was restored. As Jacob’s conscience was cleared, the fear and distress disappeared. Even if Esau had not forgiven him, Jacob had taken the right step. He knew that, as far as it was possible, he had sought to make things right.

It’s always the best approach when you have hurt someone—no matter how far in the past—to seek to be reconciled to them when God brings it to mind. God has much to say about this, for He longs for His children to walk together in righteousness and peace. Charles Spurgeon said that a man can only be used again when his “confession is as notorious as his sin.”

Is there anyone that you have sinned against that you have not sought, to the best of your ability, to seek their forgiveness and make it right? If so, make the call. See them if appropriate. Write them and do it TODAY. Enjoy the liberating result of being right with God and right with man.

Father, is there anyone that I have sinned against that I need to approach? Places where I need to clear my conscience with You and others? If so, bring them to mind and then give me the grace and courage to face the situation humbly, regardless of their response.

 

(If you have questions or want to pursue this further, I've written a small booklet called "Lifting Life's Greatest Load: How to Gain and Maintain a Clear Conscience." It can be found here: https://billelliff.org/products/lifting-lifes-greatest-load)




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Graceful Truth

WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE PEACE AND OTHERS DO NOT
WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE PEACE AND OTHERS DO NOT

May 10, 2021

There are people who are in perpetual turmoil. Life is always tumultuous to them. They are agitated and bothered, always in a hurry, constantly overwhelmed with the events of their week. When you are around them, it’s hard to take a breath. There is little rest and unceasing anxiety over the multiple details of their week.

Continue Reading

GOD BEING GLORIFIED IN OUR REPENTANCE
GOD BEING GLORIFIED IN OUR REPENTANCE

May 03, 2021

Although he was a godly and greatly used man of God, King David sinned grievously. For all time, his failure with Bathsheba has been recorded as a tragic warning.

But David’s confession was just as public. Spurgeon said a man could be used again when his confession is as notorious as his sin.

Continue Reading

THE ESSENTIAL HUMILITY OF LEADERSHIP
THE ESSENTIAL HUMILITY OF LEADERSHIP

April 28, 2021

Many men cannot handle spiritual success. When God blesses them, if they are not careful, they will begin to attribute to themselves what God and others have accomplished in their lives.

It is a great temptation to read your own press clippings.

Continue Reading