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When I was in third grade, my best friend “borrowed some buckeyes” from the science cabinet in the back of our classroom. Because we were best friends, he shared them with me. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t look at the teacher. I couldn’t face my parents because they had taught me not to steal. I ended up confessing that I had some of the buckeyes because someone had given them to me. It was a pretty lame story, but the teacher didn’t press it. I didn’t care; my conscience was clear.
As parents one of our goals is that our children will make right decisions when we are not present. The key to this is the training of the conscience. Conscience is the sense of right and wrong that governs a person’s thoughts and actions. Our consciences are developed within a context of culture, and the family is the most powerful and significant force in any culture.
It is important that we teach the truth to our children. Without a correct sense of right and wrong, our children are subject to the ever changing and corrupt values that are portrayed in society. When God created the nation of Israel after their deliverance from Egypt, He gave them the Ten Commandments to begin to build into them a new conscience and culture. Those Ten Commandments are a good place for anyone to start building a conscience.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:5 and 3:9), Paul declares that a conscience can be good and clean.
There are other scriptures that mark a downward spiral of the conscience.
- 1 Corinthians 8:7 mentions that the conscience is weak and can become defiled.
- Hebrews 10:22 describes a conscience that is guilty and therefore evil.
- 1 Timothy 4:2 warns that a conscience can become seared, obviously through continual and unconfessed wrongdoing.
- Isaiah 5:20 describes the condition of people who call right wrong and wrong right, who call light dark and dark light. Apparently, they have corrupted their consciences until they no longer are sensitive.
On the other hand, we have a great opportunity to raise children who have a strong sense of right and wrong, who stand for right, who side with Jesus Christ. Let's guard our own consciences for the sake of those little ones who are watching us.
Share a comment with us about an incident that shaped your conscience.
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