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As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. Romans 1:28

The world suffers from an almost universal insanity which will one day lead to the greatest atrocities this planet has ever experienced. Although people appear to be born with an inclination toward evil, this type of insanity that I am talking about comes on later in life, and usually involves a conscious and often painful process in the thinking of those who succumb to it.

When you face an uncomfortable truth, you can accept and embrace it or you can reject and suppress it. Each time you avoid dealing with the truth, you destroy part of your conscience. Most people continue to wear a mask of morality and respectability after doing this, so that only God knows how totally depraved their minds have become.

Though the initial decision to reject truth was made consciously, after it has been made a few times, a scar forms on the conscience, often leaving it so numb that it could be said that such people are genuinely deceived with regard to their own sincerity. Like the self-righteous Pharisees, they are the most blind of all, because they are not even aware that they are blind. (John 9:39-41, and Revelation 3:17-18)

As a child I remember my mother pleading with me to keep my heart "soft" before God. I often found myself, as a leader, in situations where I had to be "hard" in my dealings with someone, but I did my best to stay honest, open, and soft in my dealings with God.

You don't have to be perfect to have a clear conscience. God can forgive anything... except an unwillingness to face up to your own sinfulness. When this happens, you are forcing God's Spirit out of your mind. (Matthew 12:31)

In a situation where you feel forced to hide the truth from someone else, at least be honest with yourself and with God about your dishonesty. The greatest harm of religion may be that it teaches people to be dishonest about their dishonesty, thus deceiving themselves into a self-perpetuating delusion. It would be nice to be able to be totally honest with everyone; but when you cannot, don't let it stop you from being honest with yourself and with God. By doing that, you preserve the wholeness of your conscience.

If you have been lying to God or to yourself and are still sane enough to realise it, there is still hope. Admit that this is what you have been doing. Start by accepting God's forgiveness. Then pray for strength to accept the truths you have been trying to escape.

You will never totally live up to your ideals, but forgiveness means you don't need to trim your ideals to suit your behaviour. Instead, you can strive toward perfection without feeling condemned when you fall short. God knows you at your worst and still loves you. So keep trying!

(See also The Id and Honesty, The True Conscience, and Conviction vs Condemnation.)

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