Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience


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This is exactly what Peter had to do— rather quickly!

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God gave Peter a vision of certain kinds of animals that the Old Testament forbade Jews to eat. Thousands had converted under his preaching, and he had even suffered for the gospel. But because Christ himself was commanding him, he had to calibrate his conscience so that he would have the faith confidence to accept food and people that he was previously not able to accept. Calibrate your conscience by educating it with truth.

As best you can, try to discern why you hold certain convictions.

Conscience Flashcards Preview

Is it based on truth, especially the truth God has revealed in Scripture? A regular diet of Scripture will strengthen a weak conscience or restrain an overactive one.

Is God Speaking to Me? Is It My Conscious? How Can I Tell?

Conversely, error, human wisdom, and wrong moral influences filling the mind will corrupt or cripple the conscience. In other words, the conscience functions like a skylight, not a light bulb. It lets light into the soul; it does not produce its own. Its effectiveness is determined by the amount of pure light we expose it to, and by how clean we keep it.

Cover it or put it in total darkness and it ceases to function.

Calibrate your conscience with due process. This is a wisdom issue. Sometimes it will take a lot of time to work through a particular matter.

Conscience | Precept Austin

The example of Peter in Acts 10 is unusual because God directly commanded him to do something that his conscience previously prohibited him from doing. As a mature Christian, Peter was able to calibrate his conscience on the fly. But sometimes it can take us years to calibrate our conscience on a particular issue.

This education is not something you do in a vacuum or all alone. Godly church leaders will help you discern the difference between issues of right and wrong and issues of preference or scruple. Notes: [1] Roland H. Crowley MA, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has been doing missionary and linguistic work among the indigenous minorities of northeast Cambodia since You Can Change Tim Chester.

You're calling the person back to a better self. You don't tell the person specifically what to do; it is up to the individual to act in his or her conscience. You're just helping that person become aware of a problem. As Christians we can't give up on one another even if our attachments cause us suffering. I guess the purpose is to be the best person that you can possibly be and the best person to live with, too. I believe virtue is good for you and makes you happy and sin is bad for you and makes you a mess.

We're made for happiness, which means we're made for virtue. When we don't act the way we should, we sense that something is wrong; and things start going very badly for us. Most normal people begin to feel guilt and shame. If we didn't, we'd have a world full of psychopaths; we wouldn't be able to learn or have a sense of self.


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The emotions of guilt and shame come with moral standards and are the consequence of immoral actions. So, who wants that? Most people would rather be happy, which comes with being good. I also believe the welfare of society depends on how morally good its individuals are. Individual morality influences a group, and a group's morality influences an individual. If the moral fiber of individuals begins to break down, then the moral fiber of society begins to fray; and thus, the integrity of other individuals in society begins to disintegrate. That is why developing the best conscience possible is so important.

The more conscious you are, or the better conscience you have, the more aware you will be of the suffering and injustice around you.

Your Faith, Your Life

You can only effect change when you realize that there is a problem. Your conscience and consciousness constantly have to be raised. You then must work to inform others of a situation, and it is through the energy of a small group that society changes and progresses. Groups can have a great positive force because when you get people together you have the moral resources of many instead of one.

You also have everybody's instincts for moral correction working for you. All kinds of interesting movements were spread through the efforts of small groups, including Christianity. Of course, groups, no matter how good their ultimate intentions or goals, can also exert severe pressure to conform. If you don't conform, you can really be made to suffer.

If you're a Catholic, you have an obligation to follow your conscience and the voice of God within. Now, you must inform your conscience by listening and seeking counsel and so forth; you don't just automatically know everything. You have the church as your guide, as a teacher. But ultimately you have to follow your conscience. According to Aquinas, it is better to be excommunicated than to go against your conscience. There does reach a point when you can't always be studying and reading to inform your conscience.

In order to act, every now and then, you must reach little plateaus and say, "Well, this is all I can do right now. I can do no other. The better person you are, the better your conscience will be. Thus, the more you can trust it.

What is conscience?

But you will always have your suspicions about certain sticky decisions you have to make that aren't crystal clear cases of right and wrong. You know you've fooled yourself before, so you'll want to be very careful and try to consider all angles and really examine your conscience before you act. But regardless of whether you trust your conscience deeply or not, you still must follow it. Throughout your life there will be times when you will be uneasy about a decision you've made that you will later come to see was right. There will be other times when you will be absolutely convinced of the truth behind an action only to discover later that you made a big mistake.

Such assessments of your actions keep you humble; you know that you're always open to growth and improvement. To become a mature person and an adult in your faith, you must learn to make decisions and take responsibility for your actions. You cannot abdicate the control you have over yourself. Not even to those you consider wiser than yourself. No one can make moral decisions for you. When you get to the final conversation with Jesus and he asks why you acted in a particular way when you knew it was wrong, it's not going to help you to say, "Well the church said it was okay. Yes, when they are acts of reflective conscience.

If the group leader tells you to kill gypsies, you kill gypsies; if the leader tells you to bomb some city, you bomb the city. That is moral suicide. You are abdicating responsibility for your actions, and that is terribly wrong. In the same way, your faith is something you own; you are responsible for it. You cannot just blindly follow the teachings of the church.

Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience
Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience
Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience
Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience
Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience

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