Conscience, together with intuition, are functions of the spirit. It is our direct link
to God. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “awareness of right and wrong.” Conscience is that
still small voice in our heart that says “don’t” when we are about to commit an act contrary to what we perceived as God’s will. In other words, what we perceive as sinful or evil in the sight of God.
Conscience may vary from person to person and is dependent on so many factors. Several of these are: one’s beliefs and/or religious background, one’s own experiences in life, his environment (cultural, social, educational, moral, spiritual, ideological, etc.), his philosophies in life, and so many other factors.
Conscience can be healthy or unhealthy. A healthy conscience is one that conforms with one’s perception of God’s will for his life. An unhealthy conscience is one that is totally warped and steeped in denying and disobeying that still small voice in our hearts.
An unhealthy conscience and an overpowering feelings of guilt and shame go hand in hand. The effects of an unhealthy conscience in one’s spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing are catastrophic, and may lead to many illnesses- mental, emotional and physical.
An unhealthy conscience, side by side with that overpowering feelings of guilt and shame, may lead a person to cases of self inflicted punishments, and in extreme cases, self destruction, or suicide.
The sources of the still small voice before we sin, and the overpowering sense of guilt and shame after we sin, are different. The still small voice that warns us before we commit a grievous sin comes from God. The overpowering sense of guilt and shame after we commit a grievous sin does not come from God. It comes from the devil.
The devil’s role in inducing us to sin is dual- as tempter and as an accuser. First, he tempts us to sin, beguiling us with all sorts of mental and sensual enticements. He will whisper in our ears, “Stolen and forbidden fruits are sweet, they are so desirable. Would you not want to taste them?”
After falling into his trap and sinning, he switches roles- from tempter, to accuser. He will place a heavy load of guilt and shame in our hearts and will whisper these accusing words, “You are good for nothing. You disobeyed God. You abandoned Him after all the wonderful things He has done for you. You are useless now to Him. You are beyond redemption.”
As the sinner listens to this accusatory voice, several evil spirits may come in and settle in his heart- the spirit of guilt and shame, the spirit of bitterness, the spirit of pride, the spirit of rebellion, the spirit of self justification, the spirit of madness, the spirit of strife and mayhem, the spirit of sickness (mental, emotional and physical), the spirit of anger and wrath, etc.
Is there no solution to this wretched state of man’s unhealthy conscience? Fortunately, there is. Like the prodigal son in the Bible, we have to return to God, confess our sins and return to His divine graces and providence. 1John 1: 9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Isaiah 1: 18 says,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Jesus Christ is the starting point in our journey back to the Father’s fold, and to a clear and unbridled conscience, where we can enjoy indescribable joy in our hearts and the indwelling peace of God in our minds.
Posted by Mel Avila Alarilla