My conscience is broken. But then, so is yours. They are broken because our world is broken. When you grow up in a chicken coop you believe that a pecking order is natural. When you grow up in a world where Canadians are wealthy and Haitians are poor you believe that such a distribution of wealth is natural. Certainly, these situations are “natural” and a “natural” conscience sees them as normal and functions accordingly. We cannot trust our natural conscience, it has been influenced by our selfish desires. Paul, the Apostle, said, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”1 Even his conscience was untrustworthy. Our consciences must be supernaturalized.
Those who live according to their selfish desire have their minds set on what their selfish desire wants; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit wants. The mind governed by selfish desire is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by selfish desire is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s will, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of selfish desire cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of selfish desire but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. (Romans 8:5-9a, personal translation incorporating concepts from both the New International Version and the New Living Translation)
If we listen to the Spirit of God rather than our own selfish desire, a revolution occurs. The distribution of wealth that seemed so natural before now becomes a situation that grieves us and one which we desire to change. If indeed the Spirit of God lives in us, we must learn to listen to the Spirit and let it govern our lives. We must let the Spirit revolutionize our conscience. This is the way to life and peace.
1 1 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)