I was in third grade, a very self-conscious kid, too conscientious for my own good. I remember the day clearly. I didn’t have my homework done. I remind you that this was in third grade. I walked to the front of the class and stood at the desk of Miss Carroll, my teacher. I cried when I told her I didn’t do my homework. That wasn’t the worst of it. Miss Carroll then presented me to the class and said that she wished all her students were as conscientious as me. I could have fallen through the floor if I could.
As a person and particularly a pastor I have too much cared what others think or even what I think my behavior and responsibility should be in this world. Certainly I have thought myself in line with God’s will but I have been probably more in line with my homegrown super ego.
I have recently come into conflict with others over some of my theological ideas.
My conscience used to want to explore different theologies but I have wanted to be line with the will of people more than God. This applies to my ideas about social activism and liberal politics too. These things are on my heart and must be explored and given voice in my life.
And so I am encouraging you who read this to explore life beyond your conscience. After all our conscience can be informed by the wrong ideas. The people of Germany in the 1930s certainly had their consciences formed by wrong propaganda.
See I believe myself to be a child of God in all the best ways and so I am going to listen to the little boy inside of me, the little boy who every day is open to the Father’s direction and will.
And even when I am wrong I will be happily wrong because I belong to God and God won’t stop loving me no matter what. God’s love is the top priority of my consciousness.
So go ahead, take a chance. Stretch a little and even rebel at what those little voices are telling you. There’s only one voice that matters. That’s the voice of Jesus. See Hebrews 1:2.
Yeah, I still cry on occasion but I’m not going to shed any more tears for those little voices in my head that make me more sensitive and conscientious than I need to be.
Jesus said in John 8, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
That’s all I need, I hope and pray. To be free.