Sunday, January 14, 2007

Godly Goals Don't Violate Our Conscience

We are all quite familiar with the old adage, "I've got a guilty conscience." But have you ever truly examined why this is so? It is because it is built into our minds through God. When we do something that we know, in our heart of hearts, is wrong...then that cold, chilling feeling of sorrow and regret is often realized.

What is curious to me, is to see such a thing happen to a person who even self-labels themselves as "atheist," "agnostic," and/or a "skeptic."

A few days back, I was watching "Wife Swap." If you are not familiar with the premise of the show, it is about two families (usually extremely opposite in worldviews) who exchange the wife of one family with another family. Although the families and wives who are chosen to so the swap are screened by the producers beforehand, they are complete strangers when they finally meet. In the first few days, the wives must live the lifestyle of the family they are living with...regardless of whether they like it or not.

This is not something that I would ever do, nor advocate. There are many reasons that I feel this way about it. One reason is, that the results are often visibly harmful for all involved; but especially for the children. The second reason is, in the few episodes that I have seen, the Christian women (as well as their families at home) are often portrayed in a negative way. I'm sure that this is done on purpose because we all know how godless Hollyweird and TV-dom (TVDUMB!) are!

Anyway, back to the episode I recently watched. One family was white, self-identified as atheists (of course). The parents' had their bodies plastered with tattoos. The wife donned about 20 earrings in her ears, one in her nose, and had a shaved head. This mom spent most of her time on the computer, often ignoring her children. The two boys (my guess, around ages 9 and 12?) were free to do anything they wanted. The house had a lot of sexual-type things around, and they were obviously loose with the moral aspect of living. The episode was filmed at the end of October. The athiest family loved celebrating Halloween and, in fact, wanted to force the visiting Christian woman to dress up as satan!

The other family was a devout, black, Christian family. The parents were quite strict (perhaps too much) with their young daughters (and younger son) in some ways, but they were very religious and had a Godly, tight-knit relationship with each other.

I'm not going to focus on all that had occurred in the episode. Suffice it to say that each family did learn some things that could be considered beneficial from each other, but there were some very mean things done towards the Christians (no surprise there).

One thing that happened is that after the wives got to make their own rules and take over in the new households, the atheistic dad was very disrespectful. In fact, he took the Bibles that the visiting "mom" gave out, and systematically threw them on the ground and into the trash.

Later, though, it appears that his conscience kicked in and he felt guilty for the way he treated the black Christian mom. Long story made short, the atheist dad and his boys went to a church social and they all, surprisingly, had a great time there. They felt welcomed and enjoyed great food, games, and fellowship. The boys even participated in creating a Christian rock song.

Out of all of the conflicts and situations that occurred during this episode, I found that the heart reversal of the atheist man most interesting. If we are truthful, we all should probably admit to having a guilty conscience for something (or many things!) that we have done. My question is, where does this come from?

So, what made this self-identified atheist feel guilty about his actions? I think that the following devotional from Charles Stanley's "In Touch" website might give us some hints:

Goals and Conscience

READ Matthew 6:22-23

We've spent some time this week on the issue of goal-setting and how to accomplish what God has called us to do. We've also examined how to determine whether or not a goal is from the Lord. Dr. Stanley's final word on the topic is simply this: a godly goal will never force you to violate your conscience.

This may seem like an obvious statement, but think about it for a minute. Most likely, there's been a time or two when you honestly believed you were working toward the right goal. But in order to get there, you had to act in a way that caused a sting in your conscience. Whenever that happens, you can be sure God is not in that goal.

As we spend time in prayer and Bible study, the Holy Spirit weaves Himself in and through our conscience. It becomes a type of filter through which we process our behavior and decisions. So, whenever we do something that causes "static" in our conscience, that's God's way of telling us that we are stepping out of bounds—that we have left His path.

Our heavenly Father will never place a goal at the end of a godless trail. The only thing you will find there is heartache, disappointment, and regret. If reaching an objective requires you to violate your conscience, then watch out! You are headed where God has not called you, and you can trust that the goal is your own—not His. Your conscience is a God-given warning system. Learn to appreciate, and obey, the alerts it sends you.


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Jaded said...

Those shows disgust me. Since they're designed for shock value, they choose such extremes to portray as typical families. I'm sure you saw the video that was plastered all over the internet and TV with the one woman saying she was a "God Warrior." I happened to watch that episode, and I thought she was nuts, to be honest. But had she stuck to her guns and NOT taken the 50 thousand dollars like she said on camera, I'd have had respect for her religious convictions. She said the show was evil and wasn't going to take money as a result. Good for her! Only, she changed her mind when the cameras weren't around and took it. So, how much of that was an act? All of it, I'd say. I just think that anyone who'd put their children through that needs to rethink that decision.

We all have something we regret, as you mentioned. I don't think it means we're horrible people or even bad Christians. It only proves that we're human. We make mistakes. If we did so without feeling guilty about it, then we'd have a problem. We learn from those mistakes and try not to make the same ones again. It's all we can do, because we're going to faulter, it's a given. I think most Christians try to set goals according to what we thing God's plan for us might be. Sometimes we get it wrong and are sorry that we did. I don't think that most of us set out to do something wrong, but it happens. That doesn't mean that we can run out and sin like crazy 'cause we know God will forgive us. I don't think it works that way, even if we're truly sorry. If you know it's wrong from the beginning and choose to do it anyway, you SHOULD feel guilty and you SHOULD be sorry for your actions. That doesn't make it alright, it's only a start at that point.

Christinewjc said...

Yes. "Shock value" and "things that disgust us" seem to sell...and draw in viewers. What a shame. Are there any shows left that have any type of redeeming value to them anymore?

I watch so few shows now! I really like Monk, however. Watched some of the "marathon" of viewer favorites yesterday with my daughter. She was sick so we hung out on the couches and cuddled our puggle dog together!

Later, we welcomed home my dejected husband and son after they returned from (and endured) that crushing S.D.Chargers loss!! We all really thought they would be in the Super Bowl this year! We're SO SAD!

Back to this comment!

I missed the one about the "God Warrior." Good probably would have made me really angry!

But this is what Hollyweird likes to portray...those types of Christians whom they can mock and ridicule...

It's too bad that she took the money when she said she wouldn't.

Of course, the show would not put on a Christian who leads an exemplary type of life. Of course they wouldn't show a Christian who actually shared the gospel with the other family. Can't allow any proselytizing on network TV!! Sheesh....

I agree with what you said about Christians feeling guilty. But my point and question had more to do with the guilt felt by self-professed atheists like the man in the Wife Swap episode. Where did that guilt come from? Obviously, he doesn't believe there is a God and doesn't acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord. So, why would he feel guilty about bashing the Christian woman for her beliefs?

I think that we have a built-in God-given part of the conscience that alerts us to what's right and wrong. Even when people refuse to acknowledge the truth of the Bible, the Person of Jesus Christ, and and the justice that we all would deserve if not for Christ's sacrifice on our behalf.

limpy99 said...

I generally have a guilty conscience when I spend an hour watching shows like "Wife Swap".