The subject of conscience, and its role in our spiritual life, has always been one that has intrigued me quite a bit.
For several years, I have pondered the subject sporadically and come to important personal convictions.
Today, as I continue my Bible study on the book of Romans, I stumbled upon a text related to the topic of conscience.
I’d like to share it with you, and share some personal ideas and reflections around this topic:
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.
Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Romans 12: 22 – 23
The first thing I would like to do in addressing this bible text is to present it in its original context, in order to prevent it from being misinterpreted.
This text is a message from the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome.
They were living in a situation of internal disagreements and conflicts.
These disagreements were related to Jewish practices and rites, and the eating of meat from the market that had possibly been sacrificed to idols.
Some said that Jewish practices and rites should be observed, others that they should not.
Some said it was better not to eat any meat, for fear that it would be sacrificed to idols, others thought this was not relevant.
The apostle Paul’s position is that they should not judge one another, regardless of their position on these issues.
That the important thing was for everyone to live their convictions in peace, without imposing them on others.
Those who ate meats possibly sacrificed to idols, and their conscience did not accuse them, did well to eat them, but they should not disturb others by imposing their ideas on them.
To those who were told by their conscience that it was wrong to eat any meat, for fear that it had been sacrificed to idols, they were right not to eat them because their conscience prevented them from doing so.
It is in that exact context that these words were written.
Before moving forward, I must say that this post does not seek to relativize, or subjectivize, the experience of faith about topics on which God has been clear.
Now, let’s address the issue.
God has blessed us all with a conscience.
An inner sense of what is right or wrong, good or bad.
What can be approved or is reprehensible.
When a person is subjected to God’s direction, the Holy Spirit speaks to the sensitive conscience to guide the person to live an increasingly better life.
Even so, our conscience is not always infallible.
It is also subject to being conditioned to some degree, especially during early childhood.
Because of these preconditions, in some cases, our conscience might accuse us of things that are not really wrong.
As in the case of those who thought that eating meat from the market, for fear that it had been sacrificed to idols, was wrong.
The apostle calls them weak in faith, since they do not understand that an idol is an inert being, and that they should not live their lives being affected by such trivial things.
Also, a conscience far from God can be silenced, or even approve of things that are wrong.
Throughout the Bible, we see cases like these.
Our own life could well be an example, since many of us have been through this as well.
Still, one important thing the Bible stresses to us is that we should not go against our conscience when it tells us that something is not right.
This is to wrong ourselves because we sin by depriving ourselves of our peace of mind.
Even more, our conscience might be telling us about something indeed wrong that we should avoid.
Conscience plays an important role in our walk with God.
Based on today’s text, my experience, and personal reflections, I think it is necessary to ask God to help us have a healthy conscience.
May He give us a conscience, as far as possible, free of false ideas.
May He give us a conscience that approves of what is really right and disapproves of what is indeed wrong.
As we grow in our faith and advance in our intimate walk with God, as we are transformed into the image of Jesus, He will help us to see and better understand our limitations.
Our conscience will become healthier, more accurate, and stronger.
And what do you think? Is there anything your conscience is telling you? Share in the comments.