The Power of Conscience
Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 1 Timothy 1:19
This verse paints a word picture of a ship and the use of ballast. Ballast is material that is used to provide stability to a vehicle or structure. In a ship, ballast is usually at the bottom. If this material is moved to a different location or removed completely, the ship will become unbalanced and very difficult to maneuver. In this verse, the analogy is that some people’s lives have become shipwrecked as a result of being unbalanced or unmaneuverable because they have violated, moved or removed, their personal ballast – their consciences.
Many people experience a cycle of emotional highs and low; even we as Christians have this experience. One of the reasons (but not the only reason) that people have this experience is what some refer to as a dark conscious.
Sometimes we do things that we know are very wrong. We don’t get caught, or when we get caught, we deny everything. When this occurs, it leaves a darkened conscious. As is often the case, when we don’t get caught or we are able to get away with a misdeed, we think that everything will be ok. The truth is, the memory and the guilt remain. By sheer willpower or focus we can suppress the memory and guilt of the wrong that we have done, but only for a period of time. Down the road, when we have a weak moment, maybe when we become physically, emotionally, or mentally exhausted, that memory or guilt comes back producing an emotional low or a down-in-the-dumps feeling. Again, with willpower or focus, we can suppress the memory or guilt but it will be short-lived until the next weak moment and the cycle repeats itself.
The solution to this cycle is to confess the wrong to God and accept his forgiveness (If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9). Not only must we confess to God, but we must seek forgiveness from any other offended parties and be willing to make restitution as needed. (Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24). We all need to strive to emulate one of Paul’s desires in life (So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. Acts 24:16).