By Rev David de Bruyn
Once upon a time there was a hunter who aimed his gun at a large bear and got ready to fire, but just then the bear spoke in a soft diplomatic voice: Why resort to violence? Let's negotiate. I am sure we can find some common ground. What is it that you want? The hunter began to lower his rifle and said: I would like a fur coat.
The bear replied: Perfect. All I want is a full stomach. I am sure we can reach a compromise. So, they sat down to talk it over. A little while later the bear walked away alone. The compromise had been successful because the bear had a full stomach and the hunter now had a fur coat. Compromise is often like that. One concession leads to another and each concession makes the next one seem easier and more tolerable. Compromise is a gentle process of accommodating the world, accommodating sin and accommodating the enemy.
Is it because of fear that Christians often compromise? A fear that if you do not compromise you'll lose out, you'll miss out on experiences, miss out on pleasures, be left out on the shelf. You may fear that you will be ashamed and rejected if you live a life of no compromise. Jesus says: Hold fast to your faith in Me. Don't compromise, because you will not lose, you'll actually win it all. You'll achieve victory over what matters. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Hebrews 3:14 says: For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. Hebrews 10:23 says: Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful. The real danger is very often not in the outright assaults on your faith, but in the subtle calls to join the world which will eventually bring you to Christ's condemnation.
The church was always meant to be in the world. You need to trade with people, provide services, earn money. Daniel and Nehemiah both served in pagan governments, but they didn't compromise. Jesus ate in the homes of notorious sinners but He didn't compromise. Compromise doesn't occur when you interact with the world, but when you deny or sacrifice what you know to be true and pleasing to God for the sake of some other thing, gaining pleasure, gaining power, gaining fame, fortune and popularity.
Turn away from this. Call this behaviour sinful. Depart from it. Go the opposite way. Pull off this old and put on the new. Fill your heart and mind with what is true and good and beautiful. If you've been developing or cultivating a relationship or a friendship with an unbeliever that requires you to laugh at evil, take Christ's name in vain or act as if Christ is nothing to you, then turn around, make it clear to that person that Christ comes first. If such a person is still interested in being your friend, then so be it. Every Christian who has left behind something in the world finds a far greater consolation in being sanctified, being made holier and more like Christ.
Sometimes Christians compromise because they fear being rejected. They fear that if they do not compromise they will not be invited to events, they won't be welcome in the same circles, they'll be excluded. Don't compromise. Overcome, because you will have permanent access, a permanent welcome to the events that really matter: the society of heaven. You won't be ashamed and rejected from the one group that ultimately matters: heaven itself. God has showed us characters that compromised and characters who didn't. Compare Saul with Daniel. Compare Lot with Abraham. Compare Judas with John the Baptist. God says to us: Trust Me. The things you want will not come about through compromise. They will come about through commitment to Me. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.