Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Compromise

Compromise. Is it ever right to compromise?

Main Entry: 1com·pro·mise
Pronunciation: 'käm-pr&-"mIz
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, mutual promise to abide by an arbiter's decision, from Anglo-French compromisse, from Latin compromissum, from neuter of compromissus, past participle of compromittere to promise mutually, from com- + promittere to promise -- more at PROMISE

1a: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions 1b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two
different things
2: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial

1a happens all the time in marriage. Mutal concession. In my opinion, this is usually a good thing.

What about definition 2a. Is it ever right to compromise like this?

Let me ask you this question first, then we'll look at the Bible story behind it.

Suppose someone comes to you, seeking God. You pray with them and something very powerful happens. They find God. They now know the God that you love so much. As they leave, they make a small request of your approval. They will be humbling themselves before the icon of a false religion in order to show submission to those in authority over them. But in their heart they will only be thinking of their love toward God.

If you give them your approval are you leading them astray? If you don't give them your approval are you placing too much of a weight on someone so young in the faith?

Here's what Elisha did...

2 Kings 5:17 "If you will not," said Naaman, "please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD. 18 But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this." 19 "Go in peace," Elisha said.
Go in peace? What? If someone asked you for permission to go and bow down to a false god, would you tell them Shalom?

What this says to me is that sometimes things aren't as cut-and-dried as they seem. I believe that Naaman's heart was now given to God. He would not offer and offering to any other God but Jehovah from now on. But out of respect for the king who needed Naaman's strength, he would enter the temple and bow. Naaman asked for permission and Elisha, I believe, Elisha gave it to him.

"Concession to the derogatory" or "mutual concession" - sometimes it's a fine line. With the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as our Guide may we find the discernment to know when to say "Go in Peace" and when to say "You man of God, flee these things".

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