Whether it is functioning properly or not, we all have a conscience. It was given to each one of us at birth by our Creator, whether we recognize that fact or not. What exactly is a conscience and just how does a conscience work?
What is a conscience?
A conscience is an inward sense that helps us to become better people. It is like having a different person with us analyzing and evaluating what we are doing, intend to do or what we have done and judges our actions as to whether they are good or bad. It can eitherconfirm that we have done is the right thing or accuse us for doing the wrong thing. (See Romans 2:14-15)
How does a conscience work?
A conscience can be compared to a spiritual guiding system. God gave every human a conscience or a guiding system to help us do the right thing. Just like any sensitive guiding system, in order for it to work properly, it has to be cared for, maintained, and fully charged.
Think of a guiding system like a GPS (Global Positioning System). For a GPS to work properly, it has to be connected to a satellite and it has to be charged by a power system so that it can operate and be useful.
It is the same with a conscience. It has to be connected to a reliable navigational system, like the Bible. One needs to charge it on a regular basis so that it can transmit the correct data. So, one has to read the Bible regularly and have a proper understanding of what one is reading so that a person can act appropriately.
A conscience can also be compared to an early warning system like a smoke alarm. If it is undamaged and has charged batteries, a smoke alarm will quickly detect smoke and sound an alarm. One can heed the warning or ignore it or shut it off. The smoke alarm only sounds the warning, as to what action we will take is up to us.
Why do we have a conscience?
A conscience is a gift from God to help us evaluate our future actions so that we are prevented from doing bad or wrong things. At least, when working properly, it will disturb our thoughts as we contemplate taking a certain action. Also, it can judge an action we have taken and give us an assessment as to whether the action we took was proper or improper.
A proper action leaves us with a happy and satisfied feeling. An improper action can disturb us so that we realize its impropriety. It can disturb us so much after we have donesomething that it can literally drive us crazy. It can also become more sensitive so that as we face repeating a wrong action, it will disturb us so much so that we don’t repeat the offensive action.
How do we make our conscience work properly?
For the conscience to work properly and be a reliable guide, it has to be taught and trained. We need a guide or an instructor so that we know what is bad and what is good. God has helped us by giving us written instructions, laws, commandments, guidelines and principles in the Holy Bible. The more we read and study and meditate on the instructions, the more reliable the conscience becomes.
Training, so that our conscience becomes a reliable guide, can come from good parents, good friends, good religious teachers, etc. Bad trainers can corrupt our conscience so that it becomes unreliable.
We have the ability to override or ignore the prodding’s of the conscience and do the opposite of what it is implying. If we continue to that, eventually our conscience malfunctions and stops working so that we just do whatever we please and it remains silent, as it is now broken.
The conscience is like an early warning light on our car’s dashboard that lights up to warn us that we are low on oil or brake fluid or like a fire alarm or a smoke alarm that warns of a problem or a possible problem. If we keep ignoring the flashing or disconnect the warning signal, it is of no value to us and we now put ourselves in danger. Doing that will only lead to disaster.
So the conscience is a wonderful gift from our loving Creator to guide us in this world so that we avoid what is bad and perform what is good. Acting in harmony with its prodding will benefit us greatly. Ignoring it will lead to disaster and a judgment of condemnation from the God who gave us the early warning signal.