Summary: What is our conscience, how is it shaped and what function does it perform in our lives?
1. Ask for definition of conscience.
2. Read story of Odysseus (Book of Virtues, p.79)
a. explain how it is easy and tempting to justify things that go against a person’s conscience
b. That’s what Odysseus’s men did
c. That’s what we can do if we are not careful
3. Sing, “Be Careful Little Eyes”
1. What is Conscience???
a. It is not what decides right and wrong
b. It is a moral judgment discerning right and wrong
c. It can be trained … molded, but its action is INVOLUNTARY … our response to its determinations is VOLUNTARY.
2. So, our conscience IS our guide in making moral judgments.
3. It DOES NOT, however, guide our actions … self-control does that
4. But in order for self-control to have any value, we must have a properly trained conscience.
5. What shapes conscience?
a. Deliberate Education (intentional training)
b. Environmental Influence (unintentional training)
i. People (Friends, Relatives, Others)
ii. Activities (Music, TV, Movies, etc.)
c. Desires (training by justification)
6. Examples of acting contrary to a well-trained conscience:
a. David … sin with Bathsheba. He knew what he did was wrong but did it anyway. II Samuel 11&12.
b. Jonah … Ran away from God’s command … knew it was wrong but followed his own desires. Jonah 1:1-12.
c. Peter … denial of Jesus. He knew that he had acted contrary to his own conscience. Matthew 26:69-75.
d. These men, like so many others, had a well-trained conscience, but acted contrary to it
7. Examples of acting in compliance with a poorly-trained conscience
a. Saul … acted against Jesus with a clear conscience (Acts 23:1, I Cor. 4:4) … He thought he was doing God’s will, but in fact, was 100% wrong! When confronted with his error, he became one of the greatest Christians ever known
b. Jews who crucified Jesus … again, thought they were doing God’s will by putting to death a blasphemer (Luke 23:34).
8. So, what is the lesson in these teachings?
a. Our thoughts and deeds determine where we will spend eternity.
b. Our thoughts and deeds are ultimately determined by our conscience.
c. Our conscience discerns, but does not determine, right and wrong.
d. Our conscience is shaped by Intentional Training, Unintentional Training and Desires.
e. We must constantly engage in Intentional Training, monitor our unintentional training and not succumb to selling-out our conscience on the basis of our desires.
f. The awareness of these facts can make us better Christians and happier people on this earth