When Compromise Looks Like a Good Thing

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 2, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Have you ever been tempted to compromise a commitment or your morals - for something that seemed like a great opportunity?

It can be a subtle compromise, a slow fade. It could be a willing compromise to get something else that seems valuable. Or, it could be a sudden compromise that unexpectedly came through what seemed to be a good choice. Usually, we compromise for desire or convenience, and the results end up costly and destructive.

Our first family dog was an awesome and beautiful creature. He was tremendously smart and gentle. When we got him, life was busy. We started having children, we were starting a new congregation, and the list goes on and on. We potty trained him well, and then we even did two levels of dog training with him, which is more like training humans to handle dogs than actual dog training. We made progress, but then parenting kicked into high gear, and we were looking for short cuts. We invested in a training collar, which would provide a firm shock to him anytime he started to bolt after a small furry creature or was not doing what we wanted.

Well, long story short, it wasn't long until our genius border collie figured out when he had the collar on and when he didn't. He quickly began to discern when he didn't have to listen to our command, because we didn't have the collar on to stop him. Instead of forging a trusting relationship between master and pet, we formed a fearful and reactionary one. He was still a great dog around the house, and we miss him greatly. But our choice to take a short cut in his training early on had long term consequences to the relationship, which on a couple occasions put him in serious danger when he chose not to stop on our command. We thought we had done well by getting obedience without taking the time to build trust and loyalty. We lifted our desire and convenience above the need for training, and we compromised our relationship. If we had stayed the course with his training (the way we were supposed to), he would have had a much easier time trusting us and avoiding dangerous situations caused by passing squirrels.

Now, what does that have to do with the book of Judges chapter 1? Take a moment and read that chapter. Don't get lost in the names and locations, but pay attention to what God told them to do and what some of the tribes of Israel actually did.

Do you see it? If you notice, some of the tribes did not do what God asked. God asked Israel to drive out the people who lived in the land God was giving to them. He asked them to completely take possession of the land and have these Canaanites, Jebusites, Asherites, Ammonites, etc. settle elsewhere. Instead of doing that, some tribes allowed some of the native people to stay. Eventually, most of them were turned into slave labor of some kind or another. Later this choice would have disastrous consequences for them.

Now we don't know if the tribes of Israel did this to be merciful, or if the indigenous people pleaded for terms to stay, or if these tribes already had in mind that they could turn the people into slaves. What we do know is that they chose to let them stay and used them to serve their own desires. This was not God's plan, and it compromised Israel morally, spiritually, and politically. Most importantly, it compromised their relationship with God, because they chose their own path instead of His plan. They did it “their” way, instead of His.

We will see the consequences of this in the weeks to come. For now, I want to ask you, what you would do? Be honest. Would you disobey God because you thought His plan was cruel, or because you saw some advantage you could gain? Have you already chosen your own path apart from God's plans for you? What compromises are you tempted to make in your decisions this year, that would separate you from God's will for our nation or world?

Take some time and reflect on this passage and these questions. Ask God to show you where your heart is rebellious, self-serving, or just opportunistic for personal advantage. Be willing to change direction, and choose differently as He reveals those places in your heart and life.

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