In a world with over seven billion people, each individual is unique in some way. This distinction assigns a higher value to each human life, saving each person from becoming just another number. This individuality gives us purpose and allows us to makes choices that define us; as humans, we distinguish ourselves by who we are and not what we are.
When faced with a moral dilemma or an ethical situation, society has been conditioned to do the right thing; no matter the outcome. Generally, human intentions are good. Yet we still have crime, war, and horrific events occurring daily; humans lose their unique individuality, distinction and they do become just another number. The question that arises from this is, “How do we follow our conscience and not follow the crowd?”
Throughout history, many people have sacrificed their interests because their conscience told them that a particular cause or principle was important enough to expose, oppose, battle, or indeed, die for. Conscience seems to be that inner sense of what is right or wrong, that voice of integrity, honor, and decency, present, with varying degrees, in each individual.
A conscience that is both well-formed (shaped by education and experience) and well-informed (aware of facts, evidence, and so on) enables us to know ourselves and our world and act accordingly. Seeing conscience in this way is important because it teaches us ethics is not innate.
Conscience describes two things – what a person believes is right and how a person decides what is right. More than just ‘gut instinct’, our conscience is a ‘moral muscle’. By informing us of our values and principles, it becomes the standard we use to judge whether or not our actions are ethical.
Your conscience is a God-given GPS to help you navigate through life. A healthy conscience is a reliable guide in choosing the right behavior. When you shut it down, your life begins to veer off track, until you lose your way. If you silence your conscience too much, you can end up spiritually hungry and cold. You can be lost and not know it. That’s the worst kind of loss.