"A Callused Conscience"
April 22, 2014
I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5
A callus is a toughened area of skin which, because of repeated friction, pressure and irritation, has become relatively thick and hard. Although a callus is normally a physical condition, it can also, for the same reasons, be found on an unrepentant sinner's conscience.
By way of explanation, may I point to Jose Manuel Martinez who was recently arrested for the 2013 shooting of a man who supposedly had insulted his daughter?
During Martinez' questioning, the police were shocked to hear the 51-year-old man lay claim to having been a lifelong hitman for a Mexican cartel. Understandably, the police were a bit skeptical when he also said he had been murdering other people since he was 16. They were even more surprised when Martinez immodestly said that when someone came and made a contract with him, it was because they wished to "hire the best."
Martinez' claims checked out. He supplied details about some murders, which only the assailant could know. Eventually, he was charged with nine executions, and officers are investigating 30 more which Martinez says were done by his hand.
Today, Martinez is currently in Alabama awaiting trial for the fellow who allegedly offended his daughter. Surprisingly, that is the one murder that Martinez insists he didn't do.
Martinez' story is a tragic tale, but it provides an excellent illustration of what can happen when an individual persistently ignores his conscience and repeats the same sin. Eventually, that internal voice which had once screamed condemnation and brought shame, becomes callused, unfeeling and altogether silent, which explains why Martinez can snuff out another individual's life without any more regret than you feel when you swat a fly.
Over the years we have met many such individuals. No, they may not be murderers like Martinez, but that hasn't stopped them from putting a callus, a hard spot, on their consciences. No longer do they feel any remorse for gossip, or thievery, or lust or, well, whatever sin has managed to become a normal part of life for them.
This is why the Lord encourages us to look at our lives, listen to our consciences, identify and confess our sins so that He might assure us of His forgiveness. That is the pattern King David lays before us in Psalm 32. From personal experience, David knew what can happen when a sin like adultery is ignored and left unchecked. From first-hand knowledge David says, "I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin."
Yes, God forgives our sin. Because of the Savior whose conscience was always free of sin but was murdered carrying every sin, every believer is forgiven and given an ongoing fresh start.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I show genuine sorrow for my many transgressions. By the Holy Spirit's power may my faith in Jesus produce a faith that is committed to the Christ and not dedicated to cover-ups of my conscience. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries