The Working of the Conscience
by Boyewa T'Oritshe-Nunu
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"The Conscience is the mirror through which the heart sees her beauty and her beast".
The Bible aptly described man and his heart in the Book of Genesis, chapter 6, verse 5: "...the wickedness of mankind was great in the earth, and every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually".
The strongest influence over a man is his heart; men are inspired to do good or evil from their hearts.
However, the strongest influence over the heart is the 'Conscience'; the heart is empowered by the conscience to resist evil and do good.
The conscience is susceptible to the whims and caprice of the heart.
If the heart chooses to feed and strive on evil, the conscience become grieved, but if she chooses good the conscience is at peace. That said, the conscience is immune to the wiles of the heart in that it cannot be cajoled, seduced nor influenced by the issues of the heart to lower her demands or standards. The only thing that completely silences the conscience is not heeding its voice, and continuously engaging in evil practices over a sustained period. It is like not heeding the body’s desire for food/water over a long period; the body will cry out for nourishment until after a time the body will go week and eventually wither, before it dies.
The conscience is the accuser and judge of the intents of the heart. It monitors and evaluates the activities of the heart all through life; identifying right from wrong, truth from lies, and good from evil.
The conscience is the ears and eyes, the soul and spirit of the heart. It counsels the heart on that which is proper, just, and acceptable; its chief desire is for well being.
Without conscience the heart is in perpetual darkness. Conscience can be said to be the light of the heart; it informs the heart on what is evil and that which is good, the choice is left to the heart to chose that which will give it peace.
God has planted the conscience within the hearts of men in order to check the excesses of the unruly heart. Just as it is impossible for God to force His divine will upon a man, so also it is not possible for the conscience to impose her will upon the heart.
The unpredictable and erratic nature of the heart is well understood by the conscience because her dwelling is in the heart of the heart. Because of the vantage the conscience occupies within the heart, she is better placed to track and decipher the intents of the heart.
In contrast to the conscience, the heart is fickle and unstable, while conscience is ever conscious, and consistent in conviction.
External forces easily influence the heart -either positively or negatively- pulling, tugging, and brewing up conflicting emotions within. The accumulation of external and inner conflicts inevitably informs the heart's decisions, and most predictably her judgment on profound matters that have to do with choices between good and evil. The onus to choose and act -good or evil- in any given circumstances remains the prerogative of the heart.
The conscience plays an influential role in forming, and shaping the heart's decisions. It's the conscience that sorts and filters the accumulated emotions, and then strongly and consistently impresses upon the heart the positives -the best and wisest options or decisions.
The heart will always have the last say as to what is best for it; the conscience can only go as far as advocating, or nagging, accusing and judging, before, during, and long after the heart has decided its course.
What ever domineering thoughts rule the heart will always determine the course of action the heart will take.
If it is positive, the conscience will be enthroned and empowered to commend, if it is negative, the conscience will be empowered to judge. Negative external forces that consistently habit the heart frustrate the noble intentions of the conscience. In a negative scenario the conscience is at odds with the heart.
The conscience will remain troubled and grieved so long as evil inhibits the heart. When the heart consistently rejects the overtures and counsel of the conscience over a long period, and consistently feeds on negatives, very slowly and surely the conscience will be weakened and pushed further out by negative elements accommodated by the heart. The heart, now completely taken captive by negatives is unable to heed the entreaties of the conscience though it hears.
The conscience being usurped from her esteemed position as a counselor, accuser and judge of the intents of the heart, lapses into a spiritual unconscious state. It's a kind of death from which her resurrection to life is only possible if the heart by divine prompting, or inspiration relinquishes the domineering negatives by reason of divine light.
As earlier said, the conscience is the judge of the heart in a spiritual context. If it finds no fault within the heart, the heart will live in liberty and peace. However if she finds the heart wanting in integrity, she accuses, judges and sentences the heart to the prison of guilt to languish in the bondage of sorrow. Until the heart retraces her steps and does the bidding of the conscience, she shall see no respite.
In such scenario the only hope of freedom for the heart is the amnesty offered by repentance.
The conscience is merely an advocate for good thoughts and actions, a campaigner of sorts on what is pure, noble and true; she could nag on end, but she is not an enforcer.
There is an adage that says "conscience is an open wound"; what do you do to an open wound? You mind it, tend it, nurse it delicately, pamper it, protect it, and give it the best treatment. That way you will have no trouble, it will respond to your loving nature, and will heal, and you will be at peace. But those who willingly grieve the conscience by their actions and words will always tend towards evil, and ultimately grieve the conscience.
The conscience ought to be so treated, and honored, not grieved. We should endeavor not to pour salt on the injury. Negatives lodged in the heart, are injurious to our conscience.
“The conscience is nestled in the depths of the heart
Whenever evil flies into the heart the conscience flutters and thither angrily in her nest
If evil persists the conscience cannot bear
She takes flight and evil takes nest
Hence it is said, "A man without conscience is like a bird without nest" -B.I. T’Oritshe-Nunu
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