By Ernest O'Neill

Does Your Conscience Bother You?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

I think that many of us here this morning have way at the back of our heart somewhere, a kind of fear, a fear of the oblivion, which we feel will face us at the end of this life. And we do often, "conjure up enemies" because we are not at peace with ourselves. I think many of us in our day are not at peace with ourselves and have a fear of oblivion. Loved ones, I felt God prompting me very strongly this morning to make it plain why each of us feels like that instead of preaching the sermon that I prepared.

If there is some fear in us or if there's some sense in which we're not at peace with ourselves today, right now, deep down where we live, then I want to point out to you once more, why that is. This dear book (the Bible) is very clear. It says the basic reason why many of us have a knot in our stomachs or tension or a strain inside or apprehension or angst is that we are not settled with our God. We're not settled with our Creator. We haven't settled accounts with Him and we are all in the situation that this book describes.

This Bible says that there isn't one of us here who is good enough to be God's friend. There isn't one of us who is good enough in our own lives to be at home with God. There isn't one of us here that God could actually receive to himself at the end of this life. There isn't one of us who is good enough for that because all of us, every one of us, have sinned and we've fallen far short of His glory. We've fallen short of what he meant us to be. And we're aware of that, deep down you and I are conscious of that.

After we've engaged in all the arguments about situation ethics, after we've justified jumping into bed with this woman or into bed with that man, after we've justified trying the marijuana or the heroin or the cocaine, after we’ve justified our little bits of dishonesty, our little bits of lies, our little bits of stealing, after we have tried to rationalize all those things away, you can't get away from what you are. You have inside you a gyrocompass that is absolutely reliable. It keeps pointing one way and it keeps pointing back to the one that made you and it keeps telling you through your conscience that that's not right and even if you had never read this book, even if you had never had anybody who told you stealing was wrong or dishonesty was wrong or extramarital sex is wrong or dirty thoughts are wrong, there is inside you a conscience that makes you uneasy with what you are and with what you're doing.

Loved ones, that's the heart of that sense of not being at peace with yourself inside. That's what causes that feeling of strain deep down. I mean we're running around wildly talking to all kinds of counselors. Oh, if I could settle my career, if I could settle my profession, or if I could settle this relationship with my girl or this relationship with my guy, or this relationship with my parents or this relationship with my grandmother or with my pet dog or with the sunshine or with my vacation.... It's madness.

That's not the problem! All those things are bluff. We've all had trouble with our pet dogs. We've all had trouble with our parents. We've all been offended. We've all had complexes. But that's not what causes the strain. What causes the strain is we're not right with the Creator who made us. And this thing inside, this conscience, (that is even more real than your heart that keeps you alive), keeps making you aware of that. It makes you feel you're not at home, either in this world or in the new world that will exist after this one and that you have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. There's no way in which he (God) can be at home with you. Your own experience confirms that because you haven't spoken to God for years and you haven't heard him speak to you for years.

Every time you hear God being talked about and other people mentioning how he talks to them, it's kind of like another nail in your own casket. It convinces you, "I know I am not right with God. Of course, I have no relationship with God. I've never heard him talk. I don't know what kind of thing he wants me to do."