Do You Live with a Clean Conscience?

“You must be a good dancer,” I commented to a young man who beautifully glided with skating partners.

“I’ve never danced,” he said. He grew up in a church where dancing was prohibited. The only way he could move to music without feeling condemned was to put on skates.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-32 that everyone is born with some sense of right and wrong because we have some knowledge of God. However, the conscience is an imperfect barometer. We can ignore it, sear it, suppress it, and overly sensitize it. If we override it enough times, like feet calloused from going barefoot, it hardens to such a state that it no longer twinges at wrong. On the other hand, weak faith limits our freedom.

Paul cautioned the strong to respect those weak in faith. It would have been wrong for me to encourage the skater to violate his conscience. He needed to live within the limits of the faith convictions he held.

On the other hand, as our faith grows, our consciences can change. If he asked the Lord about dancing and came to believe dancing wasn’t sin and wouldn’t cause him to stumble, he would be able to dance in faith. He might still feel uncomfortable the first time on the dance floor, but the goal is to live by faith  (Rom. 14:22-23).

A Condemning Conscience

A healthy conscience protects us from regret and harm by alerting us when we’re crossing a limit (Pro. 8:36). A stricken conscience tells us we’ve failed to live up to what we know to be right. Yet our feelings can lie to us.

A healthy conscience protects us from regret and harm by alerting us when we’re crossing a limit. #SpiritualHealth #RefreshingFaith Share on X

Feelings of condemnation are not from God. The Holy Spirit corrects us when we sin. Unlike condemnation, correction benefits us.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 NIV).

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Cor. 7:10 NIV).

A Clean Conscience

A clean conscience is a precious gift. A friend once remarked he wanted to get even with someone who’d wronged him. “Don’t do it,” I warned. “God won’t let you get away with it. And then you’ll have to apologize.”

No matter how badly we’ve been wronged, we must keep a good conscience.

Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ” 1 Pet. 3:16 NLT).

One way to keep a clean conscience is to practice love. The one who loves gives their conscience nothing to use against them. If a super sensitive conscious condemns us, God knows our heart and is greater than our conscience.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him” (1 Jn. 3:18-22 NLT)

We all mess up, and God has provided a way to cleanse our hearts. When we confess our sins, He promises to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:8-10). Nobody has to live in regret once they know Jesus (Heb. 9:9, 14, 10:22, 13:18).

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  1. Ann J Musico

    Thank God for confession and repentance…..and FORGIVENESS!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! We can be clean! Thanks, Ann. I appreciate you.

  2. Rebecca Hastings

    I so appreciate the distinction between condemnation and correction. I often blur the line, but God’s voice is always one of love.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Rebecca, our enemy wants us to confuses the two. It took me a while to learn the distinction. As you said so well, our Lord always speaks from love. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  3. Joanne Viola

    “He needed to live within the limits of the faith convictions he held.” So very true. May we remember and always respect the boundaries others have placed in their lives.

    • Debbie Wilson

      God deals with us as individuals. We do well to respect that. Thanks, Joanne!

  4. Paula Short

    Debbie, thank you for this lesson on a clean conscience. I truly appreciated this today. Blessings.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Paula.

  5. Brenda Flowers

    Debbie, thank you for words of encouragement to keep a clean conscience…love.

  6. Brenda Flowers

    Debbie, thank you for words of encouragement to keep a clean conscience. ..,God’s love shining through us.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Brenda. What a gift to be able to be clean before Him.

  7. Theresa Boedeker

    Love the point about we can retrain our conscience through the truth. this is what God’s truth does for us. Such a neat concept.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Theresa, it is wonderful to think about how He can heal a seared or overly sensitive conscience when we cooperate with Him by faith. Thanks.

  8. J.D. Wininger

    Ouch! I wish I could tell you that every night is confess –> repent –> repeat, but there are some nights when I toss and turn because my conscience (I like to think it’s been given over to the Holy Spirit [who remembers Jimminy Cricket]) has failed to alert me to a an unconfessed sin. I think the reality is more that I’ve chosen to ignore His alerts. So, I wrestle with my subconscious until I figure out where I veered off the path. Then, it’s time to ask God to apply his soothing balm of grace and mercy in my life.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D., I think you’ve hit on something. Maybe God made us to need rest so we will get still enough to hear Him. Thanks so much!

  9. Katherine Pasour

    I am grateful that your message emphasizes love. If we all could just love our neighbor as ourselves and as Jesus loves us, our world would be such a better place. Of course, the enemy wants us to believe love is impossible and we aren’t worthy of giving or receiving love, but we know better. We have Jesus!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Well said, Katherine! Thanks so much for those words of wisdom.

  10. Barbara Latta

    It is so important to know it is not God who condemns us. He has set us free from guilt. Great article, Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I’ve been tricked more times than I can count on that one. Thanks, Barbara.

  11. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, your excellent post offers biblical guidance on the choices we make and the way we encourage or discourage other people. Following God’s Word is always right.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jeannie. God bless!

  12. Melissa Henderson

    I am thankful to God for His forgiveness. No matter how many times I mess up, He forgives. His love and mercy are forever.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too! Thank you, Melissa.

  13. Jerralea

    I also appreciated your line: “He needed to live within the limits of the faith convictions he held.” Sometimes each of us have different faith convictions because each of us are different and what may be good for one is not good for another. (These are for things not clearly labeled as sin in the bible.) Therefore, I don’t want to be quick to judge.

    I’m so glad you reminded that Christ did not come to condemn!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jerralea, I agree. Somethings may harm me that don’t affect someone else. God knows His. children. We can trust His leading. Thanks so much!

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