You’ve often heard the saying “let your conscience be your guide” but what is your conscience and is it an accurate guide?
Mankind is believed to have a conscience that he is born with which sets him apart from animals.
Animals have no conscience and follow their instincts.
A lion doesn’t sit down and debate whether he is going to kill a buck nor does he feel guilty about eating someone’s mother or brother.
Similar to instincts, you’ve learnt to survive and operate within the society you live in. Your conscience dictates the way you should conduct yourself according to what you believe is correct but it depends on a few external factors as well.
So what is conscience?
It’s your sense of right or wrong but it’s very dependent upon your way of life, culture, beliefs and society.
How do you recognise your conscience?
It’s that small voice that never stops talking inside your head.
No you’re not crazy. Everybody hears voices. It sounds like you and talks like you.
If you hear something other than your voice then you’ve got a problem.
Sometimes it doesn’t speak when you’re in the wrong but it feels like you have cringed inside or like something hit you inside.
How does it work?
It’s main function is to control your conduct according to what you believe is right or wrong.
It does this through:
- Convicting you when you’ve done or said something wrong.
Notice conviction usually follows a guilty verdict.
- Reproaching you when you are at fault.
This is either in the form of mild criticism or rebuke.
- Confirming you’ve said or done the right thing.
- Giving evidence of what you’ve done – right or wrong.
This is normally done at night giving you sleepless nights as your conscience bugs you.
Can you damage your conscience?
I’ve watched a number of documentaries about life in prison and the people inside.
Did they just become criminals or was it a result of society, circumstances or decisions?
Some parents interviewed did their best to provide for them and keep them on the straight and narrow and had high hopes for them. They knew what was right and wrong and the consequences of their actions.
Many inmates have adopted new ideals to help them survive in prison living violent, deceptive and addicted lives.
Some serial killers admit that the first murder was the hardest but became easier as they stilled their voice of reason. They damaged their consciences.
What is the state of your conscience?
Try this simple test. Do something that you know is wrong and see what happens.
Does your small voice condemn you?
If it does then your conscience is functioning the way it should.
How to keep your conscience clean.
Recall a time in your life when you were at peace with your conscience and compare that to how you feel now.
Compare what you believe about life to your society standards or to the life of someone that inspires you.
Evaluate your standards against those found in spiritual books like the Bible and decide what you’d like to implement.
The good news is that if your conscience is damaged, it can be repaired.
Clear out the value systems that are hurting you and restore the standards that bring you peace.
All it takes is a decision and a commitment to living with a clear conscience.
Conscience is like a sun-dial; if you let truth shine upon it, it will put you right. But you may cover it over so that no truth can fall upon it, or you may let false light gleam upon it and then it will lead you astray.