How can I make my conscience tender again after it has been seared?

2 Min Read

I’m grateful for this question because I think it’s a question many Christians have, and if it’s a question they’re not asking, it’s one they should be asking. At some level, every Christian struggles with that temptation at some point in life. Our consciences are easily seared by our sins and the rationalization of our sins, but the answer is simple: you have to pray.

To repair your conscience, you have to pray and continue praying, fervently asking God to make you sensitive to your sin and to convict you of your sin. That is a daily prayer of mine. It’s a weekly prayer of mine with a friend I’ve been praying with every week for many years. We pray that for each other, which he requests regularly, and we pray that we would hate our sins as much as God hates our sins. It’s a constant prayer and a difficult prayer because it’s scary to ask the Lord to search our hearts, to know us, and to see if there is any wicked way in us. That is a scary prayer because often God shows us those sins in ways that aren’t as delicate as we would like. It usually means hurting someone we love when we see the realities of the pain our sin causes.

It doesn’t matter how old or young we are; we have to keep praying this prayer. I’ve seen so many Christians who think they’ve arrived. They have gotten to a certain age and become settled in their ways. They even have their wives and their children conditioned to say, “Well, that’s just the way he is.” But we should live our lives in such a way that we never presume upon the grace of our loved ones, never presume upon the grace of God, and are constantly striving to mortify every sin—not just the big ones, but the little ones too.

As Christians, we should be the most repentant people that unbelievers know, and we should live our lives with daily repentance. As Luther said in his first thesis, when our Lord and Master Jesus Christ called us to repent, He willed that the entire life of the Christian should be one of repentance. We have to be looking for opportunities every hour of every day to repent to the Lord, to our friends, to our children, and to our spouses. Repentance ought not to be an infrequent thing in our lives. Repentance, restoration, forgiveness, and reconciliation ought to be daily and hourly occurrences in our lives.

This is a transcript of Burk Parsons’ answer given during our 2023 National Conference and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email or message us on Facebook or Twitter.