I had the music turned up much louder than necessary on my radio, the traffic was light, and I was enjoying my kid-free cruise. The fact that I was out of the house after dark was nearly unheard of, and I was soaking up every minute of it.
(Photo credit: A.L.)
(Reluctantly) I turned down the music and pulled into my driveway at an angle to back into my space as usual. I shifted to reverse and noticed how warm and cozy the house looked from the outside with the lights on and children playing, and- CRACK!
The drain pipe.
Pause: Now if you ask me,
a professional, the drain pipe from our driveway is in the worst possible position mainly because it’s in the exact path I frequent to back into my spot. Sure, my husband would say it’s placed as closely to the house and landscaping as possible and I cut it way too close but, well, who asked him anyway? So because I know this pipe exists from nicking it a few times before, and because my husband has cautioned me so many times to watch out for it, I knew exactly what the crunching sound was as I grimaced and hit the brakes.
Back to the story.
I paused and looked inside; waited for him to come out to see what the noise was. A minute or two went by and the back door never flew open. Sure he must have heard, I finally examined the damage and went in to explain myself. He asked how my trip was and went about his evening.
He didn’t know.
Should I tell him? My affinity for one vehicle fender benders had always been an inspiration for his humor (and everyone else’s). ‘Maybe I would just leave this one out,’ I thought.
Ultimately I busied myself in the kitchen for all of about three minutes before awkwardly blurting out “I RAN OVER THE DRAIN PIPE!” in mid conversation. His expression was calm. His reaction was mild. My sweet husband. He is never surprised by any of my antics or backing mishaps.
– • – • – • – • –
Do you ever have those cartoon-esque moments when you can almost listen in on your conscience trying to tell you what to do? Maybe a little angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other? For some of us the voice is clear, and for others its volume has diminished over time. Our conscience is one of God’s powerful tools in guiding our decisions and directing our steps. Paul spoke wisely to Timothy, a young leader, when he gave this advice:
“Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”
1 Timothy 1:19 NLT
Following the instructions of your conscience, or that inner tug that makes something feel morally right or wrong, will help you “fight well in the Lord’s battles” (1 Timothy 1:18). But disregarding what you know to be right and choosing otherwise will leave your faith shipwrecked. Destroyed. The actions we are meant to take for Christ, crippled. Or, more effectively as the Life Application Study Bible (NLT) states, “each time you deliberately ignore your conscience, you are hardening your heart. Over a period of time your capacity to tell right from wrong will diminish.”
That explanation struck a cord with me and made me realize why so many of us may have a warped sense of right and wrong, whether it’s in reference to what TV shows we think are acceptable, the kinds of relationships we allow, or how we treat others. Though connecting with your conscience seems so small, perhaps it’s why both great things and terrible things are accomplished by people in this world today. Their actions are results of a lifelong relationship with an inner compass.
So how do we keep our conscience clear?
“For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.”
“They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”
Romans 2:13, 15 NLT
- Listen to that gut feeling God is giving you
- Demonstrate what is right
Thankfully “our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22 NLT) To have that grace and forgiveness is an incredible gift, rather than an excuse to continue on in sin. It’s a hope and a fresh start to live a life in Christ, guided by Him through that sweet, kind inner voice that steers us in the right direction.
Have there been times you’ve felt your conscience at work? Looking back, how do you see God’s influence in that moment?