Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! I believe that after God created us, He fixed a device on the inside of us that helps us to determine what is right or wrong. Although, this device seemed not be working when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, because they lived in a state called innocence.
But after they disobeyed God, they moved into the dispensation of conscience. From that moment, this internal regulator called conscience began to function. This regulator helps mankind to determine what is right or wrong. It helps us to live peacefully with our neighbors and acquaintances.
If this regulator (your conscience) keeps directing you, and you refuse to listen, you will damage it. At that point, you will start behaving like an animal without even paying attention. You can sleep with ten men in a day and it won’t even bother you. You can kill, sell human body parts, join cult or get demonic power to perform miracles, and engage in human trafficking without feeling guilty, because your conscience is dead! The most dangerous person on earth is that man or woman whose conscience is either dead or malfunctioning.
Let’s learn an important lesson from the story David J. Schwartz shared. “Several years ago, while checking student examination papers, I came across one that especially disturbed me. The student who wrote the examination had demonstrated in class discussions and previous tests that he was far better qualified than his paper indicated.
He was in fact, the fellow who I thought would finish at the top of the class. Instead his paper put him at the button. As was my custom in such cases, I had my secretary call the student and ask him to come by my office on an urgent matter.
Paul W. appeared shortly. He looked as though he had been through a terrible experience. After he was comfortably seated, I said to him, “What happened, Paul? This was not the quality paper I expected you to write.”
Paul struggled with himself, looked at the direction of his feet and replied, “Sir, after I saw that you had spotted me cheating, I just went to pieces. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever cheated at the university. I desperately wanted an A, so I worked up a little pony to use.”
He was terribly upset. But now that he was talking, he wouldn’t stop. “I suppose you’ll have to recommend me for dismissal. The university rule says any student found cheating in any manner is subject to permanent dismissal.” Here Paul started bringing up the shame this incident would bring to his family, how it would wreck his life, and all sorts of repercussions.
Finally I said, “Hold it, now. Slow down. Let me explain something. I didn’t even see you cheat. Until you walked in and told me, I hadn’t the faintest idea that was the trouble. I am sorry, Paul, that you did.” Then I continued, “Paul, tell me, just what do you want to gain from your university experience?”
He was a little calmer now, and after a short pause he said, “Well, Doctor, I think my overall aim is to learn how to live, but I guess I’m failing pretty badly.” “We learn in different ways,” I said. “I think you can learn a real success lesson from this experience. When you used your pony in there, your conscience bothered you terribly. This gave you a guilt complex that in turn broke your confidence. As you expressed it, you went to pieces.
Most of the time, Paul, this matter of right and wrong is approached from a moral or religious standpoint. Now, understand, I’m not here to preach to you, or give you a sermon about right and wrong. But let’s look at the practical side. When you do anything that goes contrary to your conscience, you feel guilty, and this guilty feeling jams your thought process. You can’t think straight because your mind is asking, “Will I get caught? Will I get caught?”
“Paul,” I continued, “you wanted an A so badly you did something you knew was wrong. There are many times in life when you’ll want to make an A so badly you’ll be tempted to do something that is contrary to your conscience. For example, someday you may want to make a sale so badly you’ll think of deliberately misleading the customer to buy. And you may succeed.
But here is what will happen. Your guilty feeling will grab hold of you and the next time you see your customer, you’ll be self-conscious, ill at ease. You will be wondering, ‘Has he discovered that I put something over?’ Your presentation will be ineffective because you can’t concentrate. Chances are you’ll never make the second, third, fourth, and the many repeat sales. In the long run, making that sale using tactics that hurt your conscience will cost you a lot of income.”
I went on and pointed to Paul how an occasional business or professional man loses his grip because of an intense fear that his wife will learn about a secret love affair he is having with another woman. “Will she find out? Will she find out?” eats the man’s confidence away until he can’t do a good job at work or in the home.
I reminded Paul that many criminals are captured not because any clues point to them but because they act guilty and self-conscious. Their guilt feeling puts them on the suspect list. Don’t try to make an A if it means violating your confidence.
Paul, I’m pleased to say, got the point. He learned the practical value of doing what’s right. I then proposed he sit down and retake the examination. In answer to his question, “But what about my dismissal?” I said, “I know what the regulations say about cheating. But, you know, if we dismissed all students who have cheated in any way, half the professors would have to leave. And if we dismissed all the students who thought about cheating, the university would have to shut down.
So I am forgetting this whole incident if you’ll do me a favour.” “Gladly,” he said. I walked to my bookshelf, took down my personal copy of Fifty Years with the Golden Rule, and said, “Paul, read this book and return it. See how in J. C. Penny’s own words, just doing what’s right made him one of America’s richest men.”
Dear friend, doing what’s right keeps your conscience satisfied. And this builds self-confidence. When we do what is known to be wrong, two negative things happen. First, we feel guilty and this guilt eats away confidence. Second, other people sooner or later find out and lose confidence in us. Do what is right and keep your confidence.
There is within each of us a desire to be right, think right, and act right. When we go against that desire, we put a cancer in our conscience. This cancer grows and grows by eating away at our confidence. We literally damage our conscience. From that moment, you start behaving like an animal.
Avoid doing anything that will cause you to ask yourself, “Will I get caught? Will they find out? Will I get away with this?” No wonder the wise man said; “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1. A clear conscience gives you boldness, and that boldness will lead to unprecedented success! Wisdom is profitable to direct!
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