By Charles Newington, National Director
I have a friend who is wonderful in so many ways but famous for losing his keys. I have such a deep appreciation for this flawed person because in all the time I’ve known him (and helped him look for keys…) he has not lost his conscience.
He is upright. He lives and speaks firmly, fairly and redemptively. He is devoted to Jesus.
Conscience is an almost forgotten dimension of human experience. Many people seem to do what is right in their own eyes and to live by their own truth. Public conversation rarely centres on what is right, but more typically on what feels right. Modern life for many of us is about navigating through a social complex of values and lifestyles without rocking anybody’s boat too much.
It’s time to dust off the conscience and pray that the Light of the Holy Spirit and Word of God will change hearts, because there are more and more situations arising in which we will need a good moral compass. And we can’t light our soul with our own wisdom. We need the light and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the power of the gospel by His Scripture, and the counsel of people respected for their faith and experience.
What happens when someone in our lives decides to abort a child that is obviously viable? What happens when an old, infirm or deeply depressed friend seems vulnerable to the option of euthanasia (or unassisted suicide)? What happens when one’s employer expects involvement with an event that unsettles you inwardly? What about the movies and other media that we watch? What happens when a friend is struggling with their sexuality or gender identification? The list goes on of things once in the background but now in the foreground of social engagement that challenge us to the core – and in that core we find the conscience – that moral compass given to us by God.
This is not to burden you with moral responsibilities. It is to encourage you to see the people among whom we all live, through the eyes of Christ.
And He gave us our moral compass not just for ourselves, and not to judge, but for those around us who need His gracious light and strength at a moral crossroad. So when we speak of the conscience we are not just talking about an uncultivated, wild sense of right and wrong. We speak of the conscience transformed by the Holy Spirit, by prayer, informed, strengthened and tamed by the Word of God, and the company of upright people.
And how many people need someone with a functional moral compass in this trackless cultural wilderness in which people have abandoned the ancient paths.