Is it possible to have a clear conscience after every interaction that you have with unbelievers? What about the ones who demonstrated their sinful side to you today? What about the ones who did you harm today? What about the ones who were short-tempered, incompetent, and unfriendly today? Is it even possible to end every interaction with another person, and affirm that you still have a clear conscience?
In a letter of Peter to the persecuted Christians, the Holy Spirit gives us this advice on maintaining a clear conscience even in our interactions with unbelievers.
but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame.1 Peter 3:15-16
As the verses end, the benefit of having a good conscience among unbelievers is that when they try to destroy you, your behaviour will stand up as a Christian testimony to your integrity rather than be of equal sinfulness to the behaviour of the world.
But it is the first part of these verses that provide us with a tip in maintaining a good conscience among unbelievers. To put it terms of a challenge, it would go like this:
After your next altercation with an unbeliever, share briefly with him/her what it means to be a Christian.
It is hard to speak of God’s mercy to yourself after showing no mercy to a fellow sinner. It is almost impossible to speak of the hope of eternal life when your behaviour was worthy of condemnation. It is a grand demonstration of hypocrisy to speak of the love of your God when there is no love for your neighbour.
But it is much easier to speak of your Christ Who forgave you when you did not take offence at the offensive behaviour from another. It is with great confidence that you can speak of the hope of eternal life when you are being obedient. It is with clarity that you can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ when you have shown mercy, grace, and love to the one who practised the opposite.
To end this day with a clear conscience before unbelievers, live today with the desire to be able to share the Gospel with the person at the end of your time with them.