As I was reading some scripture today I had several things come to mind. I read in 1st Timothy and 2nd Timothy. As I read about having a clear conscience, being weighed down by the guilt of sin, and keeping a clear mind I started thinking about how our wrong actions do have a negative effect on us rather we realize it or not. When we sin, disobey God, or don’t do what we know we should do, we affect our conscience. And no matter how much God forgives us, we will suffer with negative feelings towards ourselves until our conscience is cleared. Our conscience is what gives us that nagging feeling that something is wrong. It is what keeps us from being able to shake that bad feeling that we have for something that we did or something that happened. Even if it is a situation that we are not to blame for any wrong doing at all, if there is a tiny part of us that is holding some type of responsibility for it, our conscience won’t be clear and we will have that nagging feeling. The smallest things can affect our conscience which then brings guilt. And without a clear conscience we can’t have the life or be the person that Jesus died for us to be and have.
Have you ever done something or had something done to you and you think that you have gone threw the forgiveness part but still have that not so good feeling lingering deep in the back of your heart or mind? Well that is your conscience telling you that you have not completely forgiven and let go of the situation. It is letting you know that you still hold some responsibility, regret, guilt, or shame within yourself. It is letting you that you are not completely free. It is telling you that there is still something that may need to be done in order for you to be at peace. Our peace comes from a clear conscience. I think of it as it is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit guides us.
Sometimes it can be several really small things that you dismiss as nothing, at first, but then you start to notice that you have this nagging feeling inside that just won’t go away. It can be that you did not make a phone call that you knew you were suppose to make one day or you kinda got short with someone at work. Then a few days later you yelled at the kids for something and you were late for an appt. Then you felt that the Lord was telling you to do something but you were really tired so you didn’t do it. Now you wake up with this little nagging slightly bad or negative feeling inside but you can’t think of anything that has happened to make you feel that way. Well because you did things that you knew you should not do you feel bad about them, which makes you feel bad about yourself. But they were little things that happen sometimes so you do not think about them as being the culprit of the feelings. Your conscience is telling you that you have some regret, guilt, or shame going on within you. You may need to apologize for your actions, or what ever your heart is telling you to do, so that your conscience can be free and those feelings can subside.
The conscience is all about feelings toward ourselves. Having a guilty conscience is from doing something that we know was wrong to do. It is from not doing something that we know that we should do. Sometimes it is from a sense of false responsibility. We can have a guilty conscience because of a situation that we feel that there was something else that we could have done to help, but in reality there was nothing that we could have done.
So what do we do to make sure that we keep a clear conscience and peace in our hearts? How do we make sure that we stay free from guilt of our conscience? From my experience I have found that the only way to keep my conscience clear is to do the things that I know I should do and to do things to the best of my ability. And when I have my times of struggling with my performance and I do cloud or violate my conscience I have to make sure that I completely forgive myself for my weaknesses and imperfections so that I do not end up with a guilty conscience that further effects my performance and self worth.
Don’t let your conscience keep you from being the person that you were meant to be. Don’t let the enemy use it to work against you. Don’t become full of guilt due to violation of your conscience. If you know what you should or need to do something then do it. If you know that you should not do something then don’t do it. Live life and make decisions to the best of your ability and your conscience will stay clear. Stay full of peace and joy by having a clear mind.