As every happily married couple will testify, there must needs be a lot of give and take in marriage: a lot of compromise. Many workplace problems are solved with a happy compromise. Many political decisions and even International situations are solved by a happy compromise.
But are there occasions when compromise is wrong? Is compromise sometimes one sided?
Let me illustrate with a little make-believe story:
A hunter was out stalking bear. He came across a large bear, raised his rifle and took careful aim. He couldn’t miss and with his equipment, he was sure of victory.
As he was about to pull the trigger the bear saw him, and spoke in a soft, soothing voice “Just a minute. Isn’t it better to talk than to shoot? What do you want? Surely we can negotiate. Let’s sit for a while and talk.”
The hunter lowered his rifle and replied, “Well, all I want is a fur coat to keep me warm” The bear responded, “That is a reasonable and negotiable request. I only want a feed. Let us sit down and work out a compromise.” So they sat down to negotiate and after a time the bear walked away alone.
The compromise had been successful.
The bear had a full stomach and the hunter was wearing a fur coat.
The fact is that compromise isn’t always of equal benefit to each party. So, can compromise be wrong? Are there times when we shouldn’t compromise?
Today we hear much of “moderation in all things” – that is, a little bit of anything won’t hurt: just don’t let it go too far. That philosophy has lead many on the path of drunkenness, drugs, sexual promiscuity, wife-beating, child abuse, violence, vandalism – you name it. Many will try to convince us that while purity might be desirable it can be taken too far; or while truth is desired “white” lies are necessary; or that error shouldn’t be denounced because people have rights to live as they please.
We also hear a lot about being “tolerant”. Of course we need to be tolerant, but will tolerating bad behaviour in a child lead to his becoming a good citizen or a future vandal or criminal? Will tolerating “soft” drugs lead to drug abuse, drug pushing and death, or will it lead to a wholesome lifestyle? Will tolerating bullying in school lead the bully to become a good father or a wife beater and child abuser?
We hear a lot about “rights”. I believe in individual rights. I believe each person has a right to live (and die) by their own perception of life. That doesn’t necessarily make their perception right, but they have that right. I don’t believe I have a right to impose my standards on other people – but neither do they have the right to impose their standards on me. I also believe that no one has the right to harm others or cause distress to others in order to exercise their rights.
We all like to please others and we often gain cookie points by pleasing our partner, friend, boss, co-workers, etc. Very often we can please others with integrity, but there will often be times of dilemma when we cannot please all concerned, or even one individual with integrity. People have varying standards which may contradict.
Are there occasions when compromise is wrong? Is compromise sometimes one sided? What standard will you use for your decision?
My conclusion for myself: If compromise causes harm to anyone, then for ME compromise is wrong. If compromising my ideals, morals and ethics is involved, then for ME compromise is wrong.
So what standard do I use? I use the Word of God which I believe to be nothing less than the actual Word of God breathed into human writers. Other people may have different standards, but FOR ME there can be NO COMPROMISE with HIS standards.