What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. (Rom. 1:19)

“YES, I KNEW IT WAS WRONG.” Our judicial system is based, in part, upon evoking that profession from a defendant. Yet some excuse their actions by protesting, “I was unable to stop myself from doing it.” Others are bolder. Dylann Roof, who shot dead nine people during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, stated, “I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry.”

Even if Roof did convince himself that he had done nothing wrong, he crossed a known boundary. All people everywhere have some sense of ethical boundaries. Those boundaries may look different in different contexts, but respect for human life seems to be a common value.

It is also true that we can suppress that knowledge of the truth and continue on with our own willful disobedience. We may claim that “the Devil made me do it,” but we cannot say that God did not make it clear to us so that our willful disobedience brings guilt.

God’s wrath is justly directed at the wicked because God has allowed them to see their own sinful character for what it is. For the Jews, the Law accomplished that purpose. But for the Gentiles—everyone else—God revealed His divine will through creation itself. No one is without excuse.

Listen to your conscience today.

Richard Eckley is professor of theology at Houghton College and serves on the Women in Ministry Task Force for The Wesleyan Church.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.