There’s Been a Load of Compromisin’

Growing up, in my mind, the idea of compromise had a negative connotation.  To be seen as a compromiser meant that you weren’t true to yourself or your beliefs.  It carried the idea of instability.  I wanted to be “rock-solid” because it meant that I was dependable.  No one wants to be seen as flim-flam, and there is much to admire in people that are resolute.  I once heard a preacher say he cut the word “compromise” out of his dictionary.  Now, that’s a good line in a sermon right there and makes for a great crowd response, but I couldn’t go quite that far.  At the same time, the point was taken and much regarded.  There may be many reasons there can be a dim view of compromise.

Adjustments are harder to make if you are a believer in fixed truth.  By that, I mean absolutes.  Christians, by the nature of their faith, believe there are non-negotiables in the eyes of God.  Even a cursory reading of the Bible makes this abundantly clear.  A person doesn’t even have to be a biblical literalist to understand that the Almighty and His followers stand for something.  While there can be some disagreements on certain issues, for one not to believe in absolutes disqualifies them from the brotherhood of belief.  This being true, people are still not God, and the idea that none of our personal stances are fallible makes no sense.  No one is right on everything and not all the time.

If no compromise were ever needed, it would mean that one was born infallible, and the understanding of truth never grew in their lives.  Both these concepts are patently untrue as the same Bible that teaches us to stand firm also teaches that all people are faulty- sinners by birth and by choice.  We will never reach the point where personal change is unneeded.  A wise person will constantly review personal inclinations measuring them by Scripture and taking counsel.  It has been my experience that flexibility equals workability.  I am a believer in absolutes and have grave concerns about those with no hallowed ground, but we have to admit the truth, giving ourselves and others room to grow.

People don’t want to be seen as inconsistent.  While the attempt at constancy is admirable, it may be ultimately unachievable.  Our world is less than intended, and best efforts by the sons and daughters of earth are tinged with sin.  Consequently, the most reliable are unreliable though such may not see such.  Truthfully, mental gymnastics come into play with each explanation why though accusations of poor quality are often overstated.  Life is uneven and difficult for the most skilled sailors to navigate.  Many people find themselves facing foes and fightings of which they never dreamed.  Some will feel as though they are failures when the truth is simply that life happened to them.

Of concern is the fact that some hold nothing sacred.  For them, nearly everything is up for grabs, and they are emboldened in their belief that nothing is inviolate or immutable by the plain fact that some things do change necessarily over time.  Some of these will frame their viewpoints in spirituality though not square with the God of the Bible.  Resulting is a humanistic theology elevating modernity with little patience for old paths.  It is not my point to honor antiquities for being such, but we might pitch valuables in housecleaning if we are not discriminating.  Many compasses do not point true north, and significant compromises made for utility will incur a deficit under reconciliation.

All truth is God’s truth.  This foundational precept of the Reformation instructs that reality is not of our own devising.  Though it may be found or achieved in different ways, the point of origin never changes.  Many of us have found that what seems so right may not pan out.  For that matter, actual right may not pan out.  This is an important point and bitter pill.  We must understand that outgo and outcomes are not necessarily the determining factors of correctness, political or not.  There is both enlightened rigidity and wise compromise.  Our concern should be to align ourselves with the Arbitrator of truth.  If our goal is to have the light shining on ourselves, we will give more than we gain.

Sterl

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