The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jim Neal 

Cleaning up matter of conscious


February 14, 2019 | View PDF

“He who covers his sins (wrongdoings) will not prosper,

But whoever confesses and forsakes them

Will have (find) mercy.” --Proverbs 28:13

Wise King Solomon penned that truism many, many years ago -- approximately 3,000 years, long before there was a NFL, Roger Goodell or any professional sports. The book of Proverbs was written for the reason of giving individuals wisdom in virtuously every aspect of life. What does that have to do with the thought of the day? Simply this: Over the last several years, dating back to the steroid era of Major League Baseball and perhaps before that, grown, powerful and wealthy men have attempted to hide illegal activities. When the truth began to unfold they then attempted without success to deny their involvement, and even some would make a weak effort to blame someone else.

Is it only me, or does there seem to be a pattern unfolding -- a common thread through all of these challenging circumstances, from illegal steroid and drug use to spousal and child abuse. The common denominator appears to be the propensity to try and “sweep” wrong doing under the rug through whatever method seems plausible and most believable to the public. The methods range from out and outlying to justifying the wrong with whatever story fits. The amazing thing is that the more it happens the more the common thread is applied and used.

Lest we think this is something new, shall we think again. This tendency to try and finagle our way out of things goes way back to the Garden of Eden and our ancestral father Adam. When he was caught “red handed” in his sin, he took it like a man and “blamed it on his wife.” Throughout all of recorded history, we can find example after example of this dilemma of the human race. And almost without exception the “cover-up” causes more heartache than the mistake.

We seem to forget that one cover-up leads to another, and before long we forget what we said and to whom and the tangled web is soon too large and “sticky” to work our way out of the quandary. There is also an ancient teaching that says, “Beware your sin will find you out.” The thought of the day and this ancient teaching should be “road signs” enough to keep us from trying to cover up a wrongdoing; however, unfortunately, it doesn’t and won’t as long as ingenious man is prowling around saying, “My situation is different.” It may be different, but it still looks and smells the same, doesn’t it?

Look again at the “thought,” and focus on the second part: confession and forsaking leads to mercy. Those who have taken that road have found out that even though there are ramifications for sure, most men and women are eager to forgive and to extend the olive branch leading to a second chance to make good.

After all, are we not so wired with a conscience -- when wrong is done and we know it -- the conscience is supposed to spring into action. What ever happened to that aspect of our makeup? Lots of lying and covering-up will lead to a conscience that becomes insensitive to wrong and can even call wrong right; the Bible refers to that as a “seared conscience,” as one that has been rendered unresponsive by the burning of a hot iron.

Stop a moment and give your conscience a chance to catch up. Is it clear, clean and pure? Are there a couple of episodes that need clearing up? If so, remember to clear them up is to find mercy and grace -- and isn’t that a better “neighborhood to live in? It is said that a guilty conscience is “that part of a young boy that causes him to tell to his mother -- just before his sister does.

Have a great week finding mercy and grace.

Jim Neal is pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.


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