131 If we are religious, our conscience is formed by the truth in the faith we get from the Bible, or from principles that come from the Bible, depending on our acceptance of them in our heart. When we know what is true from our faith, understand it i n our own way, and then want it to happen and act on it, we build up a conscience. "Acceptance in our heart" means acceptance in our motivation, since our motivation is what we call our "heart." This is why, when we have conscience, the things we say and do come from our heart. We do not have a divided mind; we do whatever we understand and believe to be true and good.
132 People who are more enlightened than others about the truth that comes from faith, and who have a clearer sense of reality, can have a more highly developed conscience than people who are less enlightened and have a clouded sense of reality.
133 Our real spiritual life is contained in a true conscience, since that is where our faith comes together with kindness. So doing things according to our conscience is doing them from our spiritual life. But doing things that are against our conscie nce is doing things against our own life. This is why we are calm, peaceful, and joyful inside when we do things according to our conscience, but we get upset and depressed when we do things that are against it. This depression is called "pangs of conscie nce."
134 We have a conscience about what is good, and a conscience about what is fair. Our conscience about what is good is our inner self's conscience, and our conscience about what is fair is our outer self's conscience.
Conscience about what is good is doing things according to the rules of faith from an inner love. Conscience about what is fair is doing things according to civil and ethical law from an outer love. When we have a conscience about what is good, we al so have a conscience about what is fair. But when we only have a conscience about what is fair, we are able to accept a conscience about what is good--and we do accept it when we are taught about it.
135 When we are kind to other people, we have a conscience about what is true, since it is formed by a belief in the truth. But when we love the Lord, we have a conscience about what is good, since it is shaped by a love for the truth. This second kin d of conscience is a higher kind--it is intuition about the truth, from goodness.
If we have a conscience about what is true, we are in the Lord's spiritual realm. But if we have the higher kind of conscience that is called intuition, we are in the Lord's heavenly realm.
136 Here are two examples to show what conscience is:
Suppose you had something that belonged to someone who did not know you had it. In this situation, you could make some money without having to worry about the law or about losing your reputation and people's respect. If you gave the thing back to its owner anyway because it did not belong to you, then you would be acting out of conscience. You would be doing what is good and fair because it is good and fair.
Or suppose you were able to get a particular job, but you knew there was someone else who also wanted the job, and who would be more useful to your country in that job than you would be. If you let the other person have the job for the good of your c ountry, then you would also be acting out of conscience. It is the same in any other situation.
137 From these examples we can see what it is like not to have a conscience: it is just the opposite of what it is like to have a conscience.
For example, if you would make things that are unfair and wrong appear to be fair and right in order to make money, and if you would also make what actually is fair and right appear to be unfair and wrong, you do not have a conscience. You do not eve n know what conscience is. If someone explained to you what it is, you would not believe it, or even want to know.
This is what we are like when everything we do is for the sake of ourselves and material things.
138 If we do not accept conscience in the world, we cannot accept it in the other life either, which means we cannot be saved. We are missing the place inside of us that heaven flows into and works through--meaning the place the Lord works through to lead us toward himself. Conscience is the place in our minds where we receive what flows into us from heaven.
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