You may be familiar with the story of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet who wants to become a boy.
He lacks a conscience like a real boy; instead, a talking cricket attempts to guide him. Carlo Corenzini, an Italian journalist, originally wrote The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1883. He included the following scene in Chapter 4 which is left out of modern renditions:
“At these last (warnings by the cricket), Pinocchio jumped up in a fury, took a hammer from the bench, and threw it with all his strength at the Talking Cricket. Perhaps he did not think he would strike it. But, sad to relate, my dear children, he did hit the Cricket, straight on its head. With a last weak “cri-cri-cri” the poor Cricket fell from the wall, dead!”
Your conscience may bother you like it did Pinocchio, but don’t try to kill it. God made you with this witness to point you to Him. In fact, you are even accountable to God because of it.
God describes the existence and operation of the conscience in Romans 2:14-15. When people that “… have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”
Have you ever wondered how God can be fair in convicting people of sin when they have never read the Bible? What about the African tribes or indigenous peoples of America in centuries past? They could not have known what God requires, could they?
Some today may think that if they don’t pay any attention to the Bible, they won’t have to worry about it.
The truth is they will be accountable because of the conscience. God will be completely fair in the final judgment. You have a conscience and you willingly violate it. You are a sinner even if you have never read a page of the Bible.
Everyone knows the pain of a guilty conscience. You wish you could turn back the clock and change your actions. What can you do?
You can kill your conscience by ignoring it. You might find that the pangs will diminish over time, and your wrong behavior won’t bother you like it used to. But you are still responsible before God because of your conscience.
Or you can listen to your conscience. It is an important alarm system, but only that. You need outside help to deal with the problem. That help comes from God. His Word shows you how to deal with your sin.
Acknowledge it. Confess it to God. Find forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ alone.
Pastor Stephen Howard is from Morrow Bible Church.