Free Will and Conscience
Jesus told his followers:
You’ve heard the phrase, “Care for your friends, but hate your enemies.” But my teaching is different. Care for your enemies. Pray for those people who hurt you. Do this and you will be sons of your Father who lives in heaven."
Based on Matthew 5:43-45
We have the power to make choices. We can make small choices in everyday life, like what food to eat, what clothes to wear, what to do with free time. There are also large choices we can make, choices that affect our lives for years to come, like the way we treat friends and enemies. The power to make choices is called “free will.”
We use free will when we choose between good and evil. If we choose to do good things, we will grow closer to God and closer to others. We will strengthen our character, since we will be able to turn away from selfishness. We will put the good of others along side our good. In this way, our enemies can become our friends, simply because we treat them well.
No matter how we choose, we must take responsibility for our actions. While there might be factors that limit responsibility for a certain choice, the choices we make have consequences. And we must take responsibility for those consequences.
Every person on the face of the earth has a God-given right to choose and must have that right respected. The right to choose is part of their dignity as a human being.
How can you choose when good and evil are present? Use your conscience. Conscience judges the morality of an action, how it is performed, and its consequences. Because it is so important in life, every person is obliged to obey his or her conscience.
Using conscience requires you to stop and think before acting. It also requires you to form a conscience. In other words, learn about moral issues, discuss choices with trustworthy people, practice virtue, and ask God for help. If you chooses what God wants, you will always choose according to your conscience.
There are some rules that apply in every moral choice. First, never do evil so that good can result. Secondly, treat others the way you want to be treated. Last, always think of others when you choose; respect their beliefs. In this way, you can receive God’s blessing.
Be kind to everyone, just as God your Father is kind to you. Don’t judge others, so God might not judge you. Don’t condemn others, so God might not condemn you. Forgive others, so God might forgive you. Give to others freely, and God will do the same for you. What he gives to you will overflow. The way you give is the way you will receive.
Based on Luke 6:36-38