"And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." ... Isaiah 30:21
I've roped Tom into watching a few episodes of Disappeared with me and--before I did--I told him I'd noticed a recurring theme through many (not all, ok?) episodes:
Namely, before these folks disappeared, many of them crossed a line. They strayed beyond their conscience.
Some had affairs. Some had secret relationships online. Others traveled alone to places where it's dangerous to do so. Some developed a love of money (the root of all evil) or took drugs or unwise risks even after being warned by loved ones. Others wandered away out of anger/rebellion/offense.
And now as we watch newer episodes, even Tom says, "Yep. There it is again. The crossing of that line you mentioned."
And in my opinion? After the searing of our conscience, it's as though we wander into a land where we're--scarily--on our own. Oh, God's still around if we know Him, but it's as though a seared conscience wrecks our ears' ability to hear Common Sense yelling, "No! Don't go there now! Don't do that!"
This person seems to agree, I think:
"The seared conscience is referred to in 1 Timothy 4:2 where Paul talks about those whose consciences—their moral consciousness—have been literally “cauterized” or rendered insensitive in the same way the hide of an animal scarred with a branding iron becomes numb to further pain. For human beings, having one’s conscience seared is a result of continual, unrepentant sinning. Eventually, sin dulls the sense of moral right or wrong, and the unrepentant sinner becomes numb to the warnings of the conscience that God has placed within each of us to guide us (Romans 2:15)."
Trust me--I understand even better lately why God keeps a tight rein on my behavior, my tongue and my thoughts. Why He doesn't let me get away with much. It's annoying at times, ok, but oh... now that I more clearly get 'the why of it all'? The annoyance now appears lots, lots more like gratitude, instead.
"He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." ... Psalm 91:1
Frightening stuff, this ...
"For this is a rebellious people, faithless and lying sons, children who will not hear the law and instruction of the Lord;
Who [virtually] say to the seers [by their conduct], See not! and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us what is right! Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceitful illusions.
Get out of the true way, turn aside out of the path, cease holding up before us the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: Because you despise and spurn this [My] word and trust in cunning and oppression, in crookedness and perverseness, and rely on them,
Therefore this iniquity and guilt will be to you like a broken section of a high wall, bulging out and ready [at some distant day] to fall, whose crash will [then] come suddenly and swiftly, in an instant." ... Isaiah 30:9-13