One of my granddaughters complained: “Grandpa, you hurt my feelings.” What had I said that hurt her? Actually, I awakened her conscience. I merely tried to help her see that what she had said to me, in the first place, led to her hurt feelings. She learned quickly and soon reminded me of my shortcoming. It was conscience or that inner voice that began to be active. Just how alive is my conscience? It was awakened through training by god-fearing parents and people who were governed by customs and principles that helped me choose between right and wrong. Upbringing is very basic to a well-functioning conscience.
In our religious culture in Poland, swimming on Sundays was sinful. I joined a few friends and I almost drowned. While I was drowning, my conscience reminded me that I had sinned against God’s law. If this had happened while I had lived in a culture that did swim on Sundays, my conscience would have remained silent. In another instance, religion played a vital rule. From knee-high, I was told that I had to give my life to Christ and belong to a church. At the age of twenty-one I was in a devastating fire and nearly died. During my ordeal I cried out, “I am lost, I am lost.” I meant, I was on my way to hell because I had not yielded my life to Christ. In a third instance, I attended a Bible School in Edmonton, Alberta that offered matriculation for College. There I met a new brand of religious fervor. Every day in chapel some one would have a revelation from God. I too rose to my feet and announced that the Lord was speaking to me. Instantly, heat rose into my face and a voice from within said, “Sit down, you liar, no one told you anything.” From then on my conscience was being attacked fiercely with guilt feelings. I consulted religious experts and all they could offer were prayers. Fortunately, a person that had a similar encounter directed me to make amends like apologizing, forgiving, rectifying and amending mistakes and peace came into my conscience. Later in life, I learned from the Gospels that Jesus had the same requirements. Faith without actions is not available.
Now that you have met my conscience, you may wonder what I am driving at. Actually, it is very simple. Your conscience is governed and directed by your beliefs, customs, company and a host of other things. If you are being influenced by the idea that you are getting to heaven on some body else’s merits then you shall not attempt to determine whether it is so. Who wants to do anything if one does not have to? Then, there is the belief that to please God one has to eliminate those that disagree or differ. In either case, conscience has been misinformed and as a result misguided. Simple common sense suggests that something is amiss. How can one faith be soft and another one harsh? It can when our conscience is run by a system that is unfair, inhuman and above all indifferent. A system can kill a conscience and render it useless
The things that manage and direct our conscience affect our behavior, belief, morality and our role in society. For instance, I had to rebuild my conscience and tune it like one does a piano or a violin. The slightest trimmer that is improper demands corrections in my life. I would not know how to live without my conscience. To keep it active and sensitive, I depend on the Bible, in particularly on the Gospels.