“Saving Face by Suffocation of Conscience”
What we see in this story is a picture of how people can sin against their own conscience to the point that they are capable of anything. It is possible to ignore the warnings of your heart, your soul, and your mind until those warnings cease to be heard. It is possible to so deaden the conscience that it no longer stands as a barrier between the individual and any wickedness they choose to commit. That is why some people can do the things they do without remorse or guilt. They have seared their conscience to the point where it feels nothing and no longer warns them about evil.
A lot of people are confused about the conscience and what it does. Many people believe that the conscience was given to us to help us make decisions between right and wrong. That is a false assumption. The conscience will only resist any deviation from the truth, or the right and the wrong, it knows. For instance, if you have been raised to believe the Bible is a moral guidance, your conscience will help you know the difference between what is right and wrong based on your standard for truth. If you start to do something the Bible says is a sin, your conscience will rise up and tell you to stop. If, on the other hand, you have been raised to believe that there are no limits in life and you can do as you please, your conscience will not give you any problems. That is why so many people are in such trouble today. They have adopted a philosophy that says, “If it feels good, do it!” As a result, they do not live by the truth of the ages, but by the today’s standards. Therefore, they do as they please and their conscience never bothers them.
We are always in danger of making choices that undermine our faith and align us not with God’s Kingdom, but rather with the principalities and powers of this world. A little compromise here… a little laziness there… and suddenly we wake up in a place that is far removed from where we should be standing as a faithful, committed follower of Jesus Christ.
The name Herod does not raise positive vibes when we hear it, does it? At the same time, a man who had the diabolical capacity to order the beheading of John the Baptizer was also a man who in his better moments had a sensitive conscience. Even the wicked of people have some good. Gospel tells us that Herod actually liked to listen to John preach and apparently had him taken into custody so as to be able to more fully comprehend who this man was. Perhaps the nicest thing that can be said about King Herod was that he never got over the death of John the Baptizer, but one suspects that it was because he was a superstitious coward and not because he had a conscience.
Our lives are filled with choices. Given, we are capable of dulling our consciences, becoming insensitive to ethical truth. We can also over-sensitize our consciences, entertaining needless guilt. Nevertheless, once we have granted these two extremes, we need to emphasize the important role that a healthy conscience plays in our existence. Some people know the truth and reject it in favor of their own standards of right and wrong. Thus ends the story about the dance with conscience. Herod has ignored the truth and killed his own conscience.
Dr. SAMUEL SAWITSKI,
Sundays at 9:30am
We are meeting in the Fellowship Hall for Sunday Worship during the summer months.
See you there!
Where to Find Us:
Desert Garden United Church of Christ
18818 North 128th Avenue
Sun City West, AZ 85375
Office open Monday-Thursday 8am-1pm
Summer office hours
open Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday 8am-1pm