His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
-- Matthew 25:21
Are you a compromiser?
Compromise can be a desirable thing. After all, how many personal relationships and business deals have been saved when both parties were willing to back down a bit and meet each other half way? And for those who remember their high school history classes, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 broke the stalemate in Congress about how the growing United States would accept new states into the Union.
Of course, compromise becomes less palatable when it demands the sacrifice of legitimate principles. Just consider the Mugwumps. If we return once more to American History 201, the Mugwumps were late 19th Century political activists who refused to support their own party’s candidate for president. Some turned their backs on long-held party loyalties and did their own thing. Others tried to have it both ways and came to be labeled as unprincipled and wishy-washy – some supporting Republicans and the other Democrats. One humorist of the 1880s commented that they had their “mugs” on one side of the fence and their “wumps” on the other.
Double-dealing and hypocrisy are arguably the norms when it comes to politics. But what about in matters of faith? When it comes to God’s church, so called “compromise” can be deadly. For instance, the archbishop of Canterbury – the leader of the Anglican Church in Great Britain – recently suggested a “two-track model” for churchgoers: one for traditional, conservative believers and another for more open-minded Anglicans. This double formula, he said, would allow for “two styles for being Anglican” while opening the door for ordaining openly gay clergy and allowing same-sex marriages.
According to this line of compromised logic, everybody wins. But since it openly defies God’s Word, those who fall for the deception become the losers.
Since the end of World War II, many in the church have looked the other way as society has fallen for the media’s if it feels good, do it message. Watch almost any popular television show or movie these days and you’ll see destructive behaviors and lifestyles that God expressly condemns. Adultery and other illicit relationships, for example, are no longer considered scandalous. And if Christ-followers refuse to compromise their biblical principles and dare to speak out, they are likely to be scolded as being intolerant, bigoted or narrow-minded. And let’s not forget “old-fashioned” or “behind the times.”
Of course, God’s Word reveals no change regarding illicit relationships and the destruction they render. But just as our ancestors did centuries ago, many today are too willing to turn their heads and accept the “anything goes” activities of others… including those of some in the church.
As Christ-followers, compromising God’s truth for the world’s priorities is never an option. It’s only when we focus on Jesus and respond accordingly that we can begin experiencing His incredible promise for our lives.