...if we be honest with ourselves,
we shall be honest with each other.  ~ George MacDonald

Jesus Wept 

Jesus Wept

 

Conscience

She went to the edge of the ridge, and saw Ian sitting with his book on the other side of the burn. She called him to her, and handed him the letter. He took it, read it through, and gave it her back.

"Ian!" she exclaimed, "have you nothing to say to that?"

   "I beg your pardon, mother," he answered: "I must think about it. Why should it trouble you so! It is painfully annoying, but we have come under no obligation to them!"
   "No; but Alister!"
   "You cannot doubt Alister will do what is right!"
   "He will do what he thinks right!"
   "Is not that enough, mother?"
  "No," she answered angrily; "he must do the thing that is right."
   "Whether he knows it or not? Could he do the thing he thought wrong?"
She was silent.
   "Mother dear," resumed Ian, "the only Way to get at what IS right is to do what seems right. Even if we mistake there is no other way!"
   "You would do evil that good may come! Oh, Ian!"
   "No, mother; evil that is not seen to be evil by one willing and trying to do right, is not counted evil to him. It is evil only to the person who either knows it to be evil, or does not care whether it be or not."
   "That is dangerous doctrine!"
   "I will go farther, mother, and say, that for Alister to do what you thought right, if he did not think it right himself—even if you were right and he wrong—would be for him to do wrong, and blind himself to the truth." (Taken from What's Mine's Mine by George MacDonald)
 

If you do what your holy book says, will you ever have to go against your conscience? If you do, you are either misunderstanding that book, or it is not a holy book in the first place.


We cannot arrive at what is right by doing what we think is wrong. It’s impossible. The more you ignore your conscience the more wicked you will become. You will become cold and hard; you will die on the inside. The more you obey your conscience the more alive you will become. The more you obey your conscience the better your conscience will work for you; your understanding of right and wrong will become clearer; and you will become more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. (1) 


The person who ignores their conscience in order to do what they think is right has put their confidence in their own minds; they have put their trust in their own understanding. If you obey a prophet, priest, holy book or so called holy man who requires you to disobey your conscience, you have been deceived. It might sound right but is in fact wrong. Look deeper. Ask the hard questions.


Am I saying that if you obey your conscience you don’t need God? No, what I am saying is this: the more you ignore your conscience, the more you are ignoring the one who gave you your conscience—God. (2)




 
1. This is important, because relationships make life worth living. The more alive the conscience, the greater the possibility for intimacy. The better the relationships, the richer the life. (You may seek power more than anything else, but if you have the courage to be honest--because it takes courage to admit it--you will acknowledge that you desire intimacy more than you desire power.) "Love makes everything lovely" - George MacDonald
2. Can trusting and obeying someone who is far better than you help you to become a better person? Of course. In this way obedience to a great teacher can assist your conscience. (Just as long as you don't disobey your conscience in the process. To do what someone else thought was right if you thought it was wrong, would be wrong for you even if it turned out they were in the right and you were in the wrong. Why? There are two reasons. Having gone against your own conscience you will have weakened your will. And by disobeying your conscience you will have also disobeyed God who gave you your conscience. And for that, God might require an answer. It's no use blaming someone else just because they held a higher position than you. You are responsible for your own actions.) By the way, if you believe God exists consider this question. Would it be possible to do what Jesus taught with God's help? If God is all powerful of course it is possible. Has anyone ever done it perfectly in this life? No. Only Jesus perfectly lived out what he taught. Why has no one else been able to obey him perfectly? Because no one, apart from Jesus, has ever trusted God perfectly. But despite less than perfect obedience to Jesus teachings by his disciples, the world is a far better place because of those who sincerely tried to love their neighbours and be fair to their enemies. Jesus teaching has softened many hearts and changed whole societies. The problem has never been those who obey Him. The problem has always been those who do not do what he said people ought to do, whether they call themselves Christians or not.