We hear much today about compromise. The word carriers a negative connotation because of the fact that two parties with different opinions, ideas or agenda are necessitating making changes to such in order to reach a settlement. Neither want to give ground but realize that they must for true compromise.
1. A settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal moderate demands
2. An endangering, especially of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one’s integrity
There have been many famous compromises and many that are not so famous or popular. The Great Compromise or the Connecticut Compromise, The Three Fifths Compromise and The Missouri Compromise are some of the more famous. These had to do with the early development of our country and some questionable legislation.
In the political arena there are seemingly endless wranglings over issues and positions and sometimes a compromise reached will benefit many; but sometimes there is no recognizable benefit for anyone, save the politicians that formulated it.
We are currently watching a scenario of this sort worming its process through uncompromising positions concerning our government shutdown and the proposed health care bill. There are ridiculous things happening and being said while the general public (who will pay through the nose for the outcome) waits skeptically for a solution to be found.
At this juncture it seems to be more of a standoff to see whose head is the hardest instead of an effort to compromise. As both parties stand their ground, America’s tax paying public is weighed in the balances of desiring a settlement but desiring one that will benefit America and not drain and weaken her economy and freedoms she holds dear. The political processes get more complicated and frustrating day by day.
But definition number two is the one that really is at the heart of our culture. Whether in America or around the world; the compromising of reputations is an epidemic that grows because it can be very lucrative. But it will reveal itself to be very dangerous also and once the line is crossed, the damage has been done, trust is lost and it is realized that reputations are more difficult to rebuild than to establish.
Coaches have lost their jobs and CEO’s have destroyed corporations because of unwise compromise of their morals and principles. Lawyers and judges have been discredited and disbarred for their selfish, unscrupulous decisions. Educators have compromised their convictions just to keep a job. Politicians seem to forget their promises to their constituents after they are elected and fade into the tapestry of the system.
To me the saddest example of compromise would come in the life of a Christian. We have all witnessed the travesty of well-known men, TV evangelists with extremely large ministries who have allowed their moral commitment to slip away and their dynasty come crashing down.
That would be the extreme example that the whole world sees and that causes a definite black eye on the Church and dims the purpose that we are supposed to be about.
However, the damage deep inside to one’s heart, the real person when a conviction has been breached is more damaging than all the negative the press could publish. Unfavorable press will eventually go away and people have a tendency to forget. But the gnawing of the knowledge of secret compromise is devastating.
I am not just talking of an overt act that the Bible would term a “sin.” But I am speaking more now of contributing to or encouraging or supporting actions of others when down deep you know they are involved in wrongdoing or questionable activities. Your involvement and silence says, “That’s OK.”
This may seem very subjective, but each of us knows our own conscience and when it is violated it stings for a long time. Maybe no one else knows. Maybe others are involved and you are the only one who is aware of what is happening and the only one who is offended by what is transpiring.
And maybe I’m not making any sense to you, but I believe if we all consider the places we go and the situations we are in daily we can realize the dangers that lurk. Our reputation as a Christian is on the line daily and more people are watching our lives than we want to realize. Sadly, some never stop to think of the repercussions of slipping into a compromise of conviction.
The blessings of God come in obedience to the Word of God. It never says seek your own happiness, but it does say, “Be holy, for I am holy.” That’s a tall order and one that should be taken very seriously these days. Yes, you probably will not be very popular when you make some decisions but you will have respect from them no matter what they express.
The children’s song lyrics come to mind, “O be careful little eyes what you see…be careful little hands what you do…be careful little feet where you go.” Simple but very profound. Sleeping with a clear conscience is very good sleep.