He saw me sitting in the car and it seemed by the way he kept looking over at me like something was on his mind. Sure enough, when I exited the vehicle he walked up and introduced himself to me. He said he was one of the new instructors in the Supervisor Course I was attending. Then he said he hoped he wouldn’t offend me, but that he felt it was a breach of protocol to require general officers to take the test at the end of the course. He said he had talked to the course managers about his concerns but that he was acting alone. Then he handed me two manila folders—one for myself and one for Dave, the other general attending the course. He told me to sign the document and turn it in on Friday.
I walked into the building and went to my desk and shared with Dave what had just happened and then in his presence opened up the folder. In front of us was a test with all the answers circled. Dave looked and me and said, “No way!” Glad to see he was of the same mindset, I waited until that instructor came back to teach and handed him the folders, declining to use them. He looked at me and said, “You’re a good man.”
Acts 24:16—I always do my best to have a clear conscience toward God and men.
Why did that instructor think it was a violation of protocol for two generals to take the same test as 49 other attendees? Did he think it was beneath us because of our rank and experience? Or was he testing us? I really don’t know. But I do know this. There was no way I could rationalize cheating and leave that course with a clear conscience. I wonder if this is where so many leaders go astray—they determine they are somehow above the law or merit special favors.
God gave us each a conscience for a reason. His intent was that we would have an internal check to warn us not to err. Now most testing is not so blatant as having someone hand out an exam with all the answers already circled! More often we are tested in subtle ways: to quibble with facts; to manipulate circumstances or compromise to gain unfair advantage; or to take positions that are popular or politically correct at the expense of keeping God’s truth.
How’s your conscience? Is it taking a beating because you find it hard to do what is right? Is it silenced because you would rather not be bothered by its inconvenient beeping? Or are you living well, knowing that before the Lord and people you are doing what is right? The world does not see the value of Jesus in shady followers. If we are to be His effective ambassadors, we must in His strength do our best to maintain a clear conscience!
'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.—Thomas Paine
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)