God created us with a conscience. The conscience connects one’s soul in the Eternal dimension to one’s body in the physical cosmos we know as the universe. Martin Luther pleaded “conscience” when he left the Catholic Church. Having a conscience is part of what it means to be a sentient creation, the very Image of God.
Every conscience has some guidelines that cannot change, yet some rules that must be trained. Some people have a physical, chemical, or mental condition that causes their consciences not to work. Some researchers have argued that people with such tendencies can be trained by helping them to connect choices, actions, and consequences. Ultimately, people who grow up seemingly without a conscience have had that link of action and consequence interrupted.
Children must learn that good and bad choices have good and bad consequences. Parents must allow those natural and fair consequences to have their day. If a youth makes plans that parents often interrupt or makes good decisions rarely rewarded, that youth may start deceiving or manipulating friends at school, alienating classmates, and no one might ever figure out why. By disconnecting the justice between action and consequence, the parents have, in effect, numbed the youth’s conscience. Chaotic homes create killers.
A conscience can be damaged or trained. Germany exterminated two million Jews, all in good conscience; Holocaust deniers claim the number was “only” a few thousand, likewise in good conscience. Many people in developing countries lie to their governments all the time, even Christians, since government laws contradict themselves as do government inspectors; they can’t survive and not lie. Some Asians feel overwhelming guilt for stabbing chopsticks into a bowl of rice—stabbed food is for the dead, after all.
Sunday morning culture has its own conscience modifications, which is one reason “church-goers” often struggle with the “real world”—their consciences can be unusual and not necessarily “Biblical”.
Every conscience must be taken captive to the Bible. No conscience is infallible. Train and retrain your conscience, tend to it diligently, never ignore it. Conscientious feelings governed by higher morals will safeguard your path and could prevent your becoming the CEO who accidentally ends up drowning in massive scandal.
Acts 23:1, Romans 8:33-34, Colossians 2:16-19, 1 Timothy 3:8-9; 4:1-4, Hebrews 10:22, 1 John 3:19-4:6