“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“Whenever Our Hearts Condemn Us”
(Please read 1 John 3:18-22)
One of the convicted Oklahoma City bombers made some very troubling comments in the months before his execution. At a time when survivors of the victims could have been helped by a few of the right words from his mouth, he chose wrong, cruel words. Without a shred of sympathy for the bereaved, he called them whiners. He callously referred to his child victims as “collateral damage.” He tried to justify his crime by pretending it was like a military operation, and seemed to think himself a hero instead of the coward he was.
It was obvious that at least one important thing was missing from his makeup – a conscience. A real conscience would have nagged at him so much that he would have had to experience and express remorse for his terrible deed.
The conscience is a hard thing to define or describe, but we’ll all agree that it is personal. Your conscience exists to weigh what you do in the light of what you know to do. So think of it as the compulsion, and some degree of ability, to judge one’s self. That self-judgment can hurt when we’re wrong. But with the knowledge of wrong comes repentance and the ability, as expressed in our text, to “set our hearts at rest.”
To have working consciences we have to know right from wrong. Parents are the starting point, and primarily responsible, for inculcating that knowledge in their children, a process that takes time and patience but is infinitely worthwhile. May God bless every parent in this noble endeavor. We don’t need any more citizens with missing consciences.