Having a clear conscience means there is no obstruction in our fellowship with God or anyone else. It means we are careful to avoid sinning against God or others with our words, actions, or attitudes.
It also means that when we do sin, we quickly repent, admit our failure to all offended parties, ask their forgiveness, and make whatever restitution is necessary.
To have a clear conscience toward others means we have taken whatever steps are necessary to deal with every sin we may have committed against every other person. It means we can look everyone we know in the eyes without shame and know that we are right with them, insofar as it depends on us.
The Old Testament prophet Samuel was a hero in Israel. He had been a faithful spiritual counselor for many years. His life was stable, and his leadership had always been reliable, even during times of national chaos.
In 1 Samuel 12 we find that the entire nation has gathered to listen to Samuel. He is now an old man, and his reputation is well known among all the people. He asks the people an astonishing question and receives an equally remarkable response.
Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day.
“Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.”
They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand” (1 Samuel 12:1–4 ESV).
Often considered the last of the judges and the first of the prophets, Samuel was called by God when just a child (1 Samuel 3). He provided leadership and stability in Israel for many years and lived long enough to anoint both Saul and David as kings. He died around 1000 BC.
Samuel’s life beautifully illustrates what it means to have a clear conscience. He could stand before these people who knew him and had observed his life, ask them what wrong he had done to any of them, and have not one accuser. Not one!
Think about how Samuel might have worded his speech if he had been speaking to a modern-day audience, perhaps in the context of a family gathering, a workplace, or a church.
If you were to stand before every person you know and ask the questions Samuel asked of those who knew him best, would you get the same response?
❍ Yes, the response would be the same. To the best of my knowledge, my conscience is fully clear and I would have no accusers.
❍ No, I would receive a different response. Some could justifiably accuse me of wronging them and of never having sought to make it right.
Like Samuel, we should be able to stand before everyone we know and have no one accuse us of doing wrong to them and failing to make it right.
Any child of God who is serious about seeking the Lord and experiencing personal revival must be committed to maintain a clear conscience toward others. This is where the rubber meets the road—this is the context in which genuine repentance, humility, and holiness are demonstrated practically.
This is one of the most powerful and practical principles of personal revival. It can also be one of the most difficult. If you desire to obey God by obtaining and maintaining a clear conscience, take a moment to pray this prayer of commitment to the Lord from your heart:
Lord, I want to have a conscience that is clear toward every person I know. Please reveal to me any issues I need to resolve with others and, by Your grace, I will do whatever You show me I need to do to make these matters right.
Excerpt from Seeking Him, © 2004 by Life Action Ministries, written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom with Life Action Ministries, published by Moody Publishers in Chicago, IL. Used by permission.