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Our consciences are seared and defiled by sin

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I am generally a good person. I have not committed any great sin. I haven’t committed any crime. Why does my conscience disturb me? — C.A.

Dear C.A.: Each of us has a conscience which sits as a judge over our every thought, word, and deed. It speaks with a silent voice, accusing or excusing, condemning or acquitting. It can be sensitive, crude, undeveloped or distorted, depending upon the way we have used or abused it.

The human conscience is defined as “an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” The Bible declares that the conscience is defiled by sin. “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 2:15, NLT).

What voice are we listening to? In the beginning of time we see this clearly demonstrated when Adam and Eve, who had been listening to the voice of God, decided to listen to the voice of Satan. All of us have experienced the backlash of guilt after a transgression. We know the haunting of the heart, the self-reproach of the mind which conscience can bring, the internal suffering that can come from being separated from God’s voice. Our consciences are seared and defiled by sin.

The conscience of a person is often beyond the reach of the psychiatrist as well. Man is helpless to detach himself from the gnawing guilt of a heart weighed down with sin. But where man has failed, God has succeeded. The blood of Christ has power to cleanse the conscience from all evil thoughts and deeds, turning the heart to Him by the power of His salvation. This is the hope of mankind, and the promise of God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)