Oct 2, 2020
Four Ways to a Clear Conscience
Not-So-Average GI Joe
Several times a year we strategically invite the “Average Joe” on the Men in the Arena Podcast. They have never written a book. They do not travel the country public speaking. They do not have a huge social media following.
But they are heroes. They are what every man should aspire to when we read about the qualifications of leadership in the Pastoral Epistles that Gene Getz so brilliantly wrote about in his classic, The Measure of a Man. They have stepped out of the anonymous bleachers and into the Arena.
Rick Aldred (31) is one of those men. Rick in 2010, received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. He spent the next eight years on active duty, deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as numerous training exercises in Europe. During his time in Europe, he committed adultery with numerous women against his precious wife Emily (adultery is a violation of the marriage covenant and an act against your spouse).
His conscience condemning him, he made the radical decision to confess everything to his wife, which is rare. Usually, adulterers only confess enough to get by and slowly confess as more lies are exposed. This began a long road of recovery and reconciliation, and, through it all, Rick discovered his passion to help others through his own brokenness. Romans 8:28 in action! He graduates with his M.A. in Counseling in 2021.
Branding is a marketing term describing the searing of your business brand on the minds of customers. For a 501(C)3 like Men in the Arena this is wildly important. As I continue journaling through the Pastoral Epistles verse by verse, my world was rocked by 1 Timothy 4:2, which reads, “Through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.”
I burned my arm while grilling this week. Seared skin is dead skin. Dead skin has no feeling after being obliterated by fire. It is the same with the human conscience. If we indulge in sin often enough and long enough, we will eventually become hardened and unaffected by it (Matthew 13:13-15). We will become comfy with deadly sin!
I was compelled to ask myself, “What sins are being seared on my conscience to the point where they are a normal and numb part of my life? What sins have I surrendered to?”
A man recently shared some heartbreaking news to me: “I no longer have to deal with the guilt and shame of Christianity. I do what I want, when I want, to whoever I want.”
Conscience seared. Next victim, please.
Here are four things you can do now to make sure your conscience remains clear always.
1. Live in Biblical Obedience
I recently give my beautiful niece a new Bible to inspire her rediscovered faith and told her, “The Bible that is messed up belongs to the person who is not.”
Another friend likes to say, “This Bible will keep you from sin, but sin will keep you from the Bible.”
Biblical obedience and a life of Christian holiness are inseparable.
I recommend that you send your loose, soft, and contra-biblical “grace doctrines” that offer a license to sin without consequence back to hell where they came from. Any man that preaches salvation without the act of repentance is preaching outside of biblical boundaries.
“Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
2. Be proactive against yourself?
Make decisions against yourself because you are for yourself. Protect all your electronic devices from pornography even if you think you do not have a problem. Below are the links back to the Men in the Arena Podcast and the organization of specialists in dealing with sexual purity.
Steve Etner, The Purity Coach
Doug Weiss, Heart to heart Counseling Centers
Jasper Hall, PureHope
Nate Larkin, Sampson Society
Sam Black, Covenant Eyes
Bill Perkins, When Good Men are Tempted (book)
3. Confess Your Wrongs ASAP
James 5:16 admonishes us to, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
The longer you hold off on confession, the longer you are holding onto sin. The Bible may not tell us to confess your sins to a priest or pastor, but it commands us to confess to trusted brothers. Confess before your ugly sins become precious secrets.
Boots on the Ground: 4. Make Wrong Choices Right Again
I once worked with a pastor who, whenever I did something wrong as a youth pastor, would simply say, “Fix it.” I fixed more often than I would have liked. Fixing relationships that were broken by sin is one of the most humbling things I have ever done.
The question is not whether or not we will make wrong choices (we will), but “Will we aggressively fix it?” The longer a wrong is left hanging the deeper the damage becomes.
Keep short accounts.