THE CONDEMNATION OF THE CONSCIENCE
Whenever there is something wrong either with God, with man, or even with ourselves, our conscience condemns us. If, for example, I tell a lie to a brother, immediately there will be a condemnation in my conscience. The condemnation of the conscience must be dealt with right away; otherwise, it becomes an offense. Condemnation is right temporarily; it is normal in a negative sense. However, we should not have condemnation in our conscience all the time. If we do, it becomes an offense, a blame, or a charge in the legal sense. Therefore, whenever we have condemnation, we must deal with it by confessing and by applying the cleansing of the redeeming blood. We must say, “Lord, forgive me.” When we deal with that wrongdoing by applying the blood, the condemnation is dealt with, and it is over. If, however, we do not deal with the condemnation but rather live in it, it will become an offense and a blame within us. This will hinder, frustrate, and even damage our spiritual life.
As long as we are in the old nature walking on this earth, we are not perfect. Therefore, to have some condemnation is normal, in a negative sense. However, we should have no offense. We must have a conscience void and clear of offense. If we do not deal with condemnation right away, our conscience will be spoiled. We will not have a conscience void of offense; rather, we will have a conscience with offense. I say again, this will damage our spiritual life.
THE KEENNESS OF THE CONSCIENCE
Concerning the conscience, there is a difference between sensitivity and keenness. You may say that I am splitting hairs, but some times we have to split hairs. If the nuclear scientists did not split something smaller than a hair, we would not have nuclear power. Keenness is right; with the conscience there should be keenness, not sensitivity. Sensitivity is abnormal, while keenness is normal. I do not want to be a sensitive person, but I would like to be a keen person. To say that a sister is sensitive is not a good description, but for a brother to be keen is a good qualification.
The consciousness of our conscience must be keen, but it may become too much so. When it becomes too much, the conscience is sensitive. To be keen is at a normal level, but to be sensitive is over the level. When we seek the Lord, deal with our conscience, and are faithful to the consciousness of our conscience, our conscience will be keen and tender. This is right; we all need a keen and tender conscience. However, we must be careful not to go too far, or our conscience will become sensitive.
The worldly people and even the Christians who do not seek the Lord and walk in spirit are careless in their feeling. Even if they tell a lie, they do not care; they have no feeling. Many times they are even happy when they lie, because they can do it successfully. After we are saved in a proper way, however, there is the consciousness in our conscience that we cannot tell lies. When we tell a lie, right away there is a sense in our conscience. Then the more we go on with the Lord, the more we have a consciousness in our conscience. Right after we are saved, we know not to tell lies, but we may still have some freedom to speak certain other things. But after we love the Lord, seek Him, and learn to walk in the spirit, the ruling, reigning, and governing in our conscience becomes stricter. Then we not only do not have the freedom to tell lies, but we also do not have the freedom to speak whatever we want to speak. We have to go along with the inner sense not to speak. If we do not go along with the inner sense and speak something against the inner sense, even if what we speak is true and is good, we will be under condemnation.
The more we walk with the Lord and follow Him in the spirit, the keener our conscience will be. This is right and good. At this point, however, there is the possibility that our conscience will become sensitive. It may seem that we have to say something, but we may have the sense to be careful, that to say something is wrong, so we do not say it. When we do not say it, however, we may still have the sense that we need to say it; to not say it is also wrong. Then we do not know what to do. If we speak, there is condemnation, and if we do not speak, there is accusation. This is beyond the proper level. This is sensitivity, and it is abnormal. When a brother or a sister stands in the meeting, we may sense that he or she has learned the lesson of dealing with the conscience but has become too sensitive. A brother may say, “I’m afraid I am going to say something wrong, but I’m afraid if I do not say it, I will also be wrong. I don’t know whether or not I should speak.” This kind of sensitivity bothers us very much.
If a radio is too sensitive, it does not work. Similarly, our spirit is very delicate, like the filament in a lightbulb. If it is only a little wrong, it will not work. The conscience is more delicate than the fellowship and the intuition. It is easy to have a conscience too dull or too sensitive, but it is rather hard to keep our conscience always so keen. If we do keep it keen, it will operate like a good radio.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)