I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15 NLT
Had I really heard my four-year-old grandson say what I thought I had heard him say? I was busy, Meme was gone, and he was playing. I must have misunderstood him. After all, he’s a fast talker, and I often don’t understand him. I dismissed what I thought I had heard.
Later that day, I thought I heard him say it again. But this time, I was sure. And if I had doubts, his six-year-old brother dismissed them.
“He said D… it,” the older brother piped.
Meme quickly chimed in, “Where did you hear that word?”
The older brother knew we forbade the word. A couple of years prior, he had picked up a few choice words. I had talked with him and told him which ones were “bad” words. Now he served as the bad-word Nazi for his younger brother.
Our younger grandson’s eyes widened when Meme and I questioned him. As far as he knew, he had just added a word to his vocabulary. He had no idea the word was a curse word.
“Where did you hear it?” I asked again when he didn’t answer his Meme.
“On a movie,” he finally answered, not seeming to know where he had actually heard it.
No doubt, he had heard it on a movie or a television show or from an adult who carelessly spoke it in his presence. We didn’t fuss at him. He didn’t know any better. We simply explained it was a word God didn’t want us to say.
From now on, if he says the word, he will hear voices…or a Voice. I’ve also heard voices since I was about his age. I still hear them. I wasn’t crazy when I was young, and I’m not now. Nor have I ever visited a psychiatrist to determine why I hear voices. I know why.
My voices are a part of the same issue Paul dealt with. He heard voices, too. One bad and one good. One from God and one from his enemy, Satan. And Paul did battle, often losing in the process by listening to the wrong voice. I’ve often lost the same battle.
We come into this world with a bent toward badness. God also creates in us a thing called the conscience. It’s the part of us that He—but also Satan—speaks to us through. When I do or say something errant, God tells me I shouldn’t have and that I need to confess my sin to Him. Satan, on the other hand, tells me not to worry about what God says.
Like my grandson, I don’t automatically know what’s right and wrong. Someone has to teach me, as my wife and I and our daughter have taught our grandson—as have his teachers at church and at school. When I program my conscience with God’s requirements, then I can trust the voice in my head when it warns me not to say or do what I’m thinking about saying or doing.
Although our grandson didn’t hear the voice when he first uttered the “bad” word, he will from now on. Someone told him not to say it, and God will use that teaching and speak to him through his conscience.
God uses our consciences for good purposes and uses us to help program others’ consciences. When we listen, our lives are better and so is the world.
Let your conscience be your guide.
Prayer: Father, thank You for speaking through our consciences to keep us on the proper life track.
Tweetable: Can your conscience be your guide?
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