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The Price Of Spiritual Compromise

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Euphemia, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. One of the attitudes that draws much ire from some in our culture is the unwillingness to compromise. Anyone who refuses to accommodate the interests and views of other people is quickly labeled narrow-minded, divisive, thoughtless, and rigid. The person who is unbending is portrayed as someone who does not care for others. He or she is pictured as one who harbors a blind loyalty to their own preferences, and who hides their indifference and rigidity under the cloak of principle.

    There are certainly occasions when a refusal to compromise is a vice. Some people act as though their purpose in life is to make everyone conform to their prejudices. They view their opinion as inviolable—beyond challenge. Whatever they think is the best ice cream flavor, the best Italian restaurant, the best laundry detergent, or the best NFL team should not be challenged. They understand how to build, repair, or process anything. They treat those who differ with them as intolerable morons.

    This annoying behavior is without excuse. The Bible offers precise guidance to responding to this divisive attitude when it surfaces in among believers. “Warn a divisive person once,” Titus 3:10 instructs. “And then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”

    Unfortunately, our painful encounters with this kind of intransigence or stubbornness can push us to the conclusion that compromise in every situation is automatically superior. That is the position of many critics of orthodox Christianity in our day. It forgets that while compromise in non-essentials can be a very good thing, compromise in essential issues can be disastrous.

    There are some places where our culture rightly refuses to compromise. Think of the outrage when we discover that products that might have Escherichia coli (E. Coli) bacteria are on supermarket shelves. We don’t hear arguments that a .5% contamination rate is acceptable. Americans don’t want the instruments used in a medical procedure to be “mostly” sterile. Likewise, we don’t believe that a 2% error in the way a bank accounts for our deposits is tolerable. We expect the numbers to match every time.

    If the God of the Bible exists and the revelation he has provided is trustworthy, then it follows that the moral absolutes scripture presents should shape our choices. (I’ve discussed the truth of these premises in other blog posts.)

    God underscores the importance of not compromising with his revelation throughout the Bible. In 1 Kings 13, for example, God sends a prophet to King Jeroboam to tell him that because of his disobedience, his kingdom will not endure. As the prophet returns, another prophet, claiming to have a message from God, gives the prophet a contradictory message about what he is to do. He was commanded to return to Judah, and this “new” revelation tells him to stay in Israel. The prophet abandons what God told him and is subsequently killed on the road by a lion.

    The principle illustrated by this incident applies to us, though we don’t deal with oral prophetic revelation. God expects us to follow the moral guidelines for our life that he provided in scripture. These commands are in harmony with his character, our design, and his purposes for us. All contradictory choices will lead us in unhealthy directions.

    The Christ-follower is to be gracious and self-sacrificing whenever possible. We must confess that some of the time we fail because of our pride and self-centeredness produce a refusal to compromise in non-essentials. But at the same time we are to be unapologetically uncompromising when it comes to the moral expectations God has given us. He calls us to trust him. Choosing any attractive alternative to his moral principles serves only to confuse the Bible’s message and damage our relationship with our creator.

    KingJ likes this.
  2. Having steadfast beliefs is admirable to anyone. Arrogance is what people dislike.
  3. That's for sure!

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