…my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. Romans 9:1-2
The fact of conscience in our hearts is a proof of God’s existence. Conscience is the inner awareness of a higher will and order of things, to which we must one day give account. We can ignore its voice, but everyone has heard it. We may harden ourselves against it, but we cannot completely extinguish it. Some people have thoroughly rejected God’s voice speaking in their conscience, but they pay a terrible price in the strain on their mind and body. This voice is not subject to our will and control, but stands over us, correcting and directing us. Jean Paul Sartre tells how, as a child, he burnt a rug while playing with matches. He shut himself in the bathroom, where he tried to clean the rug. Suddenly he felt God’s eyes on Him, through the faculty of his conscience. He rejected that divine touch, but only succeeded in suppressing it by a flood of cursing and blasphemy. Sartre tells wistfully how he never felt that touch again; and we can detect, throughout his writings, a regret and longing for the refreshment of his ability to be touched by God. Conscience is the most precious possession any person has. It is to our spirit what the lungs are to our body. It is that faculty by which God both communicates corrective touches to us, and also is able to lead us to demonstrate His love to others. God seeks sensitive vessels through which His love can touch people’s lives. God’s love makes us notice those who are far from Him, and the result is grief. Grief over others is a sign of the positive work of God’s love in our conscience. Through obedience, we find our conscience to be, not a negative watchman, but a channel for ministering that precious touch of love that every person longs for.
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