“The profligate are troubled when profligacy is spoken of; thieves and robbers are troubled when thievery and robbery are spoken of; flatterers and liars are troubled when deceit and lies are spoken of; they are troubled and even show some outward signs. This is the accusation of conscience working in them.”
Our bogus paragons of virtue will huff and puff and threaten to sue for billions when confronted with their own profligacy. They are at their best pointing fingers and apportioning blame. Like all other Pharisees they see nothing in their corruption, theft of public funds and worst of all manipulation of statecraft to their benefit.
They will instead tie heavy loads, scandalize and even drive innocent people to their early graves. To them the Bible says:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity.
You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
Those who claim to be paragons of virtue must also be free from the sin of bearing false witness. This includes being honest and truthful in judicial proceedings as well as in the manner we speak of other people.
Speaking the truth of others shows love, the virtue espoused by the Gospel. Only truth produces trust, unity and communality.
Those who proclaim virtue but live by sin are vile hypocrites, they are men and women without a moral compass and therefore without a conscience. Hypocrites are worse than thieves, liars and cheaters, because they defeat the supreme law of God imprinted on each and every person- the conscience.
We defeat the conscience when we fail to appreciate the harm and suffering that our actions cause on other people.
By claiming to have high standards or morals then acting in a patently malevolent manner, we are degrading the truth, undermining integrity and thereby defeating the immutable laws of truth. We assault the premise on which right and wrong are founded.
It has also been said that:
The Law of God forbids us to lay hold of the goods of others without the consent of the proprietor; conscience cries out the same. The Law of God forbids lying, flattery, and deceit; conscience forbids it too. The Law of God commands us not to desire anything that belongs to another; conscience commands it too. Thus the Law of God and conscience mutually agree and are appointed for the same end.
Technicalities at law cannot save us from the wrath of the conscience and guilt.