• Jon Forrest


The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

How’s Your Conscience?

I came across a story in a news article from Friday, April 15 of 2011. It goes like this…

41 years after the murder of 15-year-old John McCabe of Tewksbury, Massachusetts three suspects were finally tried before a judge. 60-year-old Walter Shelley, of Tewksbury and 57-year-old Michael Ferreira of Salem, New Hampshire were charged with murder, while 59-year-old Allan Edward Brown of Londonderry, New Hampshire was charged with manslaughter.

McCabe’s elderly parents looked on, knowing they had never stopped pushing police to arrest their son’s killers. Bill McCabe, John’s father, said, "No I never gave up. I kept calling. I’m guessing I probably made a thousand calls in the last 41½ years." Evelyn McCabe, John’s mother, said, "I prayed every single night and wore my medals every single day asking God for justice. I think it had to be solved."

In September of 1969, McCabe’s body was found in a vacant lot off Maple Street in Lowell, Mass. He’d been tied with rope linking his wrist ankles and neck. Adhesive tape covered his eyes and mouth. Police believed; He had strangled trying to free himself.

Police said that it was Brown who experienced an attack of conscience after all those years. He finally came forward and confessed to details known only to the killers after Lowell detectives revisited the case.

The wording of the police concerning this killer is very interesting; “He had an attack of conscience.”

Have you ever had an attack of conscience? God has used many people’s consciences to draw them to the point of confession. If nothing else, he can use a person’s conscience to make him miserable.

In the Bible, Judas had an attack of conscience. He tried to return the blood money he had been paid for the betrayal of Jesus, but when that was rejected, he went out and hung himself. Peter, on the other hand, wept bitterly when he heard the rooster crow and he realized his guilt for denying that he knew his Lord. Later, he had a conversation with Jesus restoring their relationship. Judas failed to repent, while Peter returned to his Lord and faced the music.

In 1 Samuel 24, David, being pursued by Saul, had hidden with his soldiers in a cave. Saul was unaware that David and his men were hiding in the cave and went into the cave for some privacy to relieve himself. David came upon Saul and, in spite of the golden opportunity to kill his adversary and become the new King, rejected the opening. However, David could not resist the chance to make a point. He quietly cut the corner off of the King’s robe with his sword and took the fabric with him. Saul had no idea as to what had happened until later.

We might think that David would be proud of his restraint, but he was not. He had an attack of conscience when he realized that he had disrespected God’s anointed; a man he had considered to be his master.

Verses 5-7 read, “Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.’ With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.”

David realized that his pride had gotten the best of him. He could not fully enjoy the prank, knowing that he had dishonored the king. His conscience led him to a change of heart and to keep his men from doing even more to the King.

While a conscience can be troublesome, we must understand that it is a blessing from God. It can cause us to repent when we have done wrong. It can keep us out of God’s doghouse by reminding us of our sin.

A troubled conscience can keep you out of hell or, at least get you back into fellowship with the Lord.

A troubled conscience can interfere with your sleep. It can keep you from enjoying the fun you thought you were having when you sinned. It can cause you to confess and repent when the devil wants you to keep a terrible secret. If your conscience is troubling you, fess up! It’s the only way to find peace with God, with others and with yourself.

This Sunday we will resume our series of messages When God Build’s a King, How a lowly shepherd became a great king with a sermon titled Repentance: True of False based on 1 Samuel 24:1-22. I hope you will join us for this exciting message from God’s Word and for a great time of worship with the FCC family.

Clearing my conscience with you,


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