I do wrong stuff all the time. I do my best to be aware, to confess to God, make things right when possible, and trust him for forgiveness. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I turn things sideways and try to clear my own conscience.

“Thanks for the grace, but I’ll handle my conscience.”

In the wake of my guilt, I’ll pursue the right thing for the wrong reason: instead of surrendered, faithful obedience, I’m trying to make up for what I’ve done wrong. I suppose this amounts to not forgiving myself, or trying to earn God’s forgiveness. When I beat myself up, I can (self) glory in my (self) martyrdom. When I earn God’s forgiveness, I have pulled myself up from the bootstraps. No doubt the heart is a dark and convoluted place. It is difficult to unravel without the light of God’s Word. Today, Hebrews 9:14 was especially encouraging. For in this we see that it is Christ who cleans our conscience. This is done so that we might be free to serve God.

Maybe we ought to be goldfish with our guilt, and have memory that only lasts only 3 seconds. Paul seems to support this, as he forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead. What if the moment was about faithful service and not cleaning up the past?

Dear Lord, what do you have for me now? You clean my conscience, I will serve you.