Eyes to See

Does everyone have the same moral sensitivity? Raising the question is to answer it. Disagreements over morality exist. What one person may find acceptable is reprehensible to another. The question isn’t whether I do things that I think are wrong. All of us experience that. The question is actually over defining right and wrong. In his book  Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis observed:

When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.*

Isaiah represents a good test case. When confronted with the Holy One of Israel, he cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5, ESV)! When God explains his purpose as a prophet, He turns the tables and actually uses result language:

And he said, “Go, and say to this people: ” ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10, ESV

God really did want His people to repent, and Isaiah’s task was a call to repentance (see Jeremiah 18:7-10). The switching of purpose for result was cautionary for Isaiah. It was going to be no easy task. He was living among a people who were calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Although Isaiah was morally sensitive, many of his listeners were not.

Conscience is the faculty of moral sensitivity, so guard your conscience. A healthy conscience helps us to choose good and avoid evil. A working conscience may even lead us to the Good—God. But wrong choices can silence the conscience’s alarm. Hit this snooze button enough times, and the alarm may no longer work. If you allow your conscience to become insensitive, dull, and hardened, then in the moral realm, you will no longer have eyes to see.

*C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 93

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