Doubling Down on a Troubled Conscience (Part II)
In Part I, I discussed a puzzling phenomenon. The brutality CCP members had suffered did not compel them to break away from their ideology. On the contrary, it made them stauncher communists. In that cruelty was a prerequisite for survival, a CCP leader, having been a victim of the brutality himself, inevitably must also act ruthlessly, inflicting suffering on others. As God’s image bearers, this had devastating consequences on their conscience. Yet, being atheists and without means to relieve their troubled conscience, they could only continue traveling down this diabolical path. Thus, instead of leaving the CCP, they buried their heads in the sand, insisting that Communism is the hope of mankind.
By no means is this unique to the CCP. I’ve found the same principle at work in those who have undergone abortions.
Deeper and Deeper Into a Dark Pit
I had a friend in another state whose teenage daughter succumbed to temptation and started a sexual relationship with an evil man. My friend told me that her daughter at one point sincerely considered leaving the relationship and turning back to God. Then she found out she was pregnant, after which she made a series of bad decisions, sinking deeper and deeper into a dark pit.
I could tell, for her, the abortion she underwent marked the point of no return. She may never admit the grave impact the abortion had on her. But through her actions my friend could infer that the guilt imposed by the abortion was too heavy for her daughter to bear. The counsel the daughter received from the women’s clinic, “my body, my choice,” might seem to provide a full justification for her action, it nonetheless could not overpower her inner voice, the conscience God gave to each one of us. Like the CCP leaders, without a channel to compensate the wrong, she not only stayed in the relationship, but had more abortions, in an attempt to fool herself into believing that there was nothing wrong with an abortion. It’s no surprise that a woman, after having an abortion, usually does not just quit but tends to repeat the pattern several more times.
They Deceive Themselves
Her mother told me that she soon accepted the views of the Progressive Marxists because she found acceptance and support in their ideology. However, just like the CCP, Progressive Marxists, without a means to ease their followers’ conscience, can only deceive themselves, insisting that they are the ones on the right side of history, making progress, while the rest are backwards. Nonetheless, they too cannot evade the condemnation from their conscience.
No wonder Progressive Marxists are the most intolerant people who do not allow room for any disagreement because they have never been at peace with their ideology. In an effort to ease their conscience, they demand constant affirmation from others and by no means can ever permit any voice that challenges their position. Just like the CCP, Progressive Marxists are predetermined to be totalitarian in their practice. It’s their way to pacify their troubled conscience. Through all this, Progressive Marxism has not been helpful for my friend’s daughter. It led her into a deeper and darker hole.
The Ultimate Covering for a Troubled Conscience
I have great sympathy towards my friend’s daughter who has had multiple abortions. Perhaps her repeated offenses reflect her futile attempt to overcome the indictment of her conscience. Regrettably, instead of freeing her, the hellish action added more shackles, weighing her down further. Progressive Marxists do not have the answer for her.
But we have the answer! Unlike Progressive Marxists who know no means to cover an offense, we know the ultimate Sacrifice, the substitutionary act on the cross. The Bible maintains that the law is meant to lead us to Christ. God’s moral law stamped on our conscience impels us to compensate for the wrongs committed. The sacrificial system exemplified the necessity of the payment for reclaiming a clean conscience. But in reality, no bull or ram used in a sacrifice can really pay for the wrongs we have committed, especially killing lives. Those animals were symbols pointing to Christ who is the ultimate Sacrifice. He can restore anyone’s conscience who comes to Him.
Set the Offender Free
In reality, however, our focus is often directed to a different position — law is designed for wrath and breaking God’s moral law invokes God’s wrath. The emphasis here is on condemning offense rather than setting the offender free.
But Jesus’ interaction with outcast women revealed a different stance. In the stories like the Samaritan woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery, we see the sharp difference between Jesus’ attitude and that of others. He saw the longing in their hearts spurred by their troubled conscience and met their need. On another occasion, a scandalous woman wept at Jesus’ feet and anointed Him with an expensive perfume. I cannot help but wonder what made her so passionately love Him. Through the Pharisees’ contemptuous attitude towards her, I can surmise that while Pharisees condemned her, Jesus gave her something that she so desperately needed, a clean conscience. She must have known she deserved to be an outcast. Otherwise, what Jesus did for her would not have been so extraordinary.
Like her, today, every woman who had an abortion knows it is wrong. In dealing with them, it is not helpful to add more weight to their already heavy hearts which may only push them to look for “hope” in other places, such as Progressive ideology where there is no hope at all. Progressive Marxism, like Communism, can never bring redemptive hope to those women’s lives. On the contrary, it can only drive them to obstinately cling to their dark course, making their condition go from bad to worse. Doubling down on a troubled conscience is always a losing bet.
The desperate women who have already had an abortion must be able to reclaim a clean conscience. We have the solution for their desperation and we must deliver it to them as Jesus did.
Chenyuan Snider was raised in Communist China and majored in Chinese language and literature in college. After immigrating to the U.S. and having studied at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School, she became a professor and taught at Christian colleges and seminary. After March of this year, she sensed God was leading her to use her unique voice to provide a warning about various kinds of Marxist influences in our society. She lives in northern California with her husband and has two grown children.