1 John 3:20 contains an rather intriguing phrase, “for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” The phrase is found in the midst of a section, verses 19-24, that describes how a person can have confidence about their relationship with Jesus Christ. John seems to be saying that when we love God by loving other people, we can have a clear conscience, and come confidently into God’s presence to present our prayer requests to him. Most commentators seem to think John is using the phrase, “whenever our heart condemns us” to describe how God works through our conscience.
One writer suggested that there are three types of people in the world.
- Those whose conscience is silent. When Pinocchio stopped listening to Jiminy Cricket, Jiminy stopped talking. And Pinocchio turned into a real ass.
- Those whose conscience is too finely tuned and overly sensitive. These folks often labor under the burden of false guilt. A sideways glance leaves them in tears and headed for the confessional booth.
- Those who listen to their conscience, confess their sins, and then rest in the fact that God knows their heart. They strive for holiness, but don’t expect perfection. They trust that God is a just judge.
In thinking about these issues this week, I began to wonder, “How many people have given Jiminy Cricket the boot out of their lives? How many stopped listening to God’s voice through their consciences? How many people live defeated lives because they are harboring secret sins? How many people are spiritually weak and prayerless because they won’t admit and/or confess their sins?”
I don’t know the answer, but I think Jiminy needs to get back to work.