The Waving Flag of Conscience

Might I have been in the wrong?

Might I have been in the wrong?

Everyone is born with a conscience. Some people call this universal endowment the Light of Christ. Our conscience sends clear signals helping to distinguish between right and wrong thinking, doing, speaking, or feeling. Of course, if we abuse or ignore the signal, it weakens. When I begin building a case to justify or excuse myself, it is a red flag waving in the air to get my attention—that I have violated my conscience. Only people who are doing something that goes against their own sense of right and wrong have to spend time and energy spinning out a self-justifying story. The very fact that we need to struggle for approval proves that we do not approve of ourselves.” Reading this distilled truth from Terry Warner’s book, Bonds That Make Us Free, caused me to reflect upon the time I got rear-ended at a stoplight. Can you imagine my distress when I was the one who got the ticket? The officer chose to accept the driver’s story that I had pulled in front of him too quickly and he couldn’t stop. For weeks I fumed and built a mighty case justifying myself as the innocent victim. After much self-excusing and case building, I took Warner’s counsel to ask this question sincerely: “Might I have been in the wrong?” Answering the question made me open to a new possibility. Though hard to admit, maybe I did change lanes too quickly. My conscience helped me accept the possibility that I might have been in the wrong. Though I may never know for sure, at least I no longer felt resentment. I am grateful for the Light of Christ that enlightens me with truth, even when I am wrong.

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