Whilst studying my Priscilla Shirer this morning, I came across this explanation of what a conscience is. I have left out some words in the following excerpt. They do not change the meaning of her words; they just shortened it so that I could write the passage in my journal more quickly:
“[E]very person’s conscience is…based on…environment and specific life circumstances…shaped by…tradition and the truth or lies to which it has been exposed.”
She’s telling us our conscience isn’t an appropriate indicator of God’s will in our lives; that they are not always pleasing to the LORD.
I immediately struck on a tendency I have towards violence, in that in some situations I believe it is perfectly acceptable. God will forgive, right? So why is it that I lean towards aggression while others shy away from it, and why is it that I feel people (especially men) who are peaceable, are weak?
Hmm. I come from a rather violent place. Rural, poor areas tend to lean more towards aggression to settle disputes and maintain order. It was a natural part of life for the families around ours. When something wrong was done to another, it was often settled by violence.
Shirer is so right. I do not respect people who’s first inclination is to be a peacemaker (as God tells us to do!) because it is weak to back down. Let’s be honest – it’s also because I think people like that are cowards.
I have grown a bit in this area – theoretically. It’s much easier for me to mindfully follow peace instead of pursuing brutality. But in practice, violent words escape from my mouth in an all-too frequent procession. And there are many who would celebrate that!
The lesson here is that while my conscience may be perfectly clear with handling an annoyance or grievance with aggressive words, my Bible is perfectly clear that God does not want that. I must learn to yield to the Word, not my conscience, when they are at odds.
Doesn’t mean I won’t have those sinful feelings – it just means I mustn’t act on them. Let’s pray for each other that we don’t!