“Compromise” is a dirty word. It’s not the kind of dirty word like cusswords or slurs; it’s dirty in the sense that it makes us feel dirty. The sense that compromise leaves is one of dissatisfaction, of things not getting worked out as well as we would have hoped. We gave up something we cared about and got less in return than we would have liked. In short, compromise feels like losing (especially to those of use who are competitive). Even if compromise is necessary, it feels, at best, like a necessary evil.
But what if we were to take the word “compromise” and replace it with “sacrifice”? Isn’t that really the best sense of the word – to lay down, voluntarily, something that matters to us even if the return isn’t great. Sacrifice is a noble thing and shows care for others. It is thinking of a good greater than my own. Compromise feels gross because we walk away feeling shorted, like we didn’t get all we wanted out of the deal whereas sacrifice is a good, if difficult, action to bring about a better end. And that is fulfilling.
Of course not all compromises are bad. And, yes, some things we hold dear cannot be sacrificed. We must never give up or waffle on the essentials of faith and the commitment to Christ. But could we be willing to sacrifice in how we communicate them? Could we forgo aggression or argumentation for civil discourse or personal conversations? And we must be willing to sacrifice when it comes to the peripherals and preferences whether it’s church musical style or political affiliation.
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