Have you ever noticed how easy it is to justify certain behavior?
“I know the term paper is due Wednesday, but I work better under pressure so I’m not going to start working on it until Tuesday.”
“Technically, I could use those office supplies while working at home, so it’s not really stealing.”
“We weren’t really gossiping, we were just fully explaining the situation so we could pray more specifically about it.”
Many times, the further our actions are from what’s proper and appropriate, the more outlandish our justification becomes. We begin to employ our own personal spinmeisters. Eventually, it becomes clear that if we were to testify in a court of law, we would be guilty of perjury.
But notice how Paul is able to say in verse 12, “Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God.”
In a trial, each side calls witnesses to present their case in the best light. If a witness’s testimony doesn’t help the case, he or she will not be called to the stand. Paul says he is confident that he can call his conscience to testify to his actions. He even tells us the secret to his confidence: his actions have been performed, not according to worldly wisdom, but according to God’s grace.
I don’t know about you, but many times, I would rather not call my conscience to the stand. It seems that my personal spinmeister is working overtime as I act according to the wisdom of the world and not at all according to God’s grace. And yet, it is that very grace of God that I need, not to dismiss my actions but to help me act in ways that I would be willing to have my conscience testify to them. And of course, once I’m open to that grace, I won’t need my spinmeister anymore.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go fire someone….