A Conflict of Conscience
By Brenda Black
Visions of Tweety Bird's Grandmother beating off Sylvester popped into my mind when I scanned a recent headline: “Thief Mugs 90-Year-Old, Gives Back Purse.” In the movie Madagascar, Granny's contemporary cartoon cousin just as fiercely wallops Alex the Lion in the middle of Grand Central Station. Though the two animated nanas slung their purses and wielded their canes, this real-life 90-year-old Kansan wisely called for back-up when a man grabbed her purse and ran.
The woman called a neighbor and told him what happened. They returned near the scene of the crime and spied the robber going through her purse. The neighbor called police, then started honking his horn at the man. The mugger walked over to the car and after a brief conversation, handed over some of the victim's personal items before running. Police said all of the 90-year-old's personal property was recovered and she was not hurt, but the criminal has not been caught.
Wouldn't you love to know what was said through that car window. What compels a man to wrangle a purse from a little old woman? Is it depravity or cowardice. And what drives him to undo the damage? Conscience or bravery. Did he apologize. Did he tell her of his dire needs and plead for mercy. I'd sure like to know.
Our times are desperate for many people. Even the good can go bad when they reach a point of fearful frustration. But there is a moral compass. No matter what new age religiosity or faith of the day teaches, mankind is accountable and created to know the difference between right and wrong. Those standards are not based on personal gain. They are not established in philosophy think tanks. The fundamental absolutes are mandated by God himself. He is truth.
Somewhere in the conscience and heart of this criminal, that compass spun out of control. After vibrating nervously between poles, the magnetic force of good pulled him due north. Hopefully he will not waiver again. Hopefully he will see his mishap as motivation to stay the course with good moral judgment. Hopefully, the reason for his desperation will be met with provision by honest means. And hopefully he will seek Christ Jesus for forgiveness.
We are all susceptible to wavering from what we know is right. In an instance, we can go against our best moral judgment. In a moment of frustration, we too can react improperly. After stewing and brewing over mistreatment, we can retaliate on an innocent bystander, taking from them what we have had stolen from us. We would all be depraved and desperate without God's divine moral compass, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23)
Our hope for honest living comes by submitting to God's rules. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
(1 Corinthians 10:13)
Sure, this robber was caught in the act. In the glare of a car's headlights his sins were revealed. The blaring of a horn announced to the world his dastardly behavior. But he faced the light and walked to the car and laid his sin in the lap of the lady.
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:11-14)
If you want a clear conscience, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)