IS IT SAFE OR UNSAFE TO FOLLOW YOUR CONSCIENCE? by Garland M. Robinson

Certainly everyone not only should, but must follow their conscience. As a matter of fact, we cannot help but follow our conscience. To violate your conscience makes one not only wrong, but miserable as well. God designed it that way. Romans 14:23 says, “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

God has made our conscience to serve as a barometer to warn us of wrong doing. However, we need to keep in mind that to follow our conscience does not mean we will always be right. It simply means we feel comfortable with what we are doing.         Our conscience could lead us wrong (and many times does) because it has not been properly taught. Saul of Tarsus was a zealous persecutor of Jesus because he followed his conscience. “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). In Acts 26:9 he said, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Paul was not an immoral man. He was not a godless man. He did what he did because he truly thought he was serving God. Multitudes of people today are zealously following what they believe to be religiously right but are like Paul; they are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. These same people need to follow Paul’s example that when he learned he was wrong, he repented and obeyed the gospel by being baptized to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16). He became a zealous worker for the Lord instead of against Him. When he learned better, he did better!         We must, therefore, educate our conscience so it will be in accordance with God’s Will. The place to turn to educate our conscience is the Bible. We must learn God’s Will þ what he wants and what he does not want þ what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in His sight. Feelings or emotions have no place in dictating whether we are right with God or not. Simply because we feel good about ourselves and have a clear conscience does not make us right before God. To be sincerely wrong is still wrong.         Our conscience is not always a safe guide! Educate your conscience by studying the scriptures and make sure you are doing what God says, not just what “seems right” to you (Proverbs 14:12).

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