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Part 2: Will you please explain what compromise is?


Part 2: Will you please explain what compromise is? When should we compromise? –Plumeria Girl, 15, HI

Shayna Answers:

Dear Plumeria Girl,

Last week we said that the word “compromise” is a term that explains what happens when you change your views about something so that you can come to an agreement with someone else.

We also talked about some examples of times when the Bible says it’s important for us to compromise, such as with our church family (Romans 14), those we live with (Romans 12:18; Proverbs 25:8-10), and our friends and significant others (Ephesians 4:2, 3; 2 Thessalonians 3:13).

However, there are times when compromise is simply not an option. Here are some principles you can use to help you know when you shouldn’t compromise.

First, any situation that causes you to compromise God’s will is one that you should avoid. Biblical stories such as Jonah’s story and Lot’s wife’s story illustrate this point well.

In Jonah’s story (see Jonah 1-4), he tried to run away from God after God told him to go preach to the Ninevites, and he ended up getting swallowed by a huge fish!

While fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah as God destroyed it, Lot’s wife looked back at the cities, even though God told her not to! Immediately she turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:17-26).

Proverbs 21:30 says: “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (NIV).* And Proverbs 19:21 says: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (NIV). If we have a clear understanding of what God’s will is for our lives, we should not compromise it. If we do, it may cost us unnecessary hardship, like it did Jonah, or even our physical and/or eternal life, like it did Lot’s wife.

Second, we shouldn’t compromise when it comes to avoiding things that distract us from God. Matthew 6:24 tells us: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (NIV).

Finally, we shouldn’t compromise when it comes to keeping God’s commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).

Exodus 23:22; Deuteronomy 4:39, 40; and Deuteronomy 5:29 say that we should follow God’s commands to live long lives, be blessed, and to succeed against our enemies. Those are good reasons!

Most of the time it’s God’s commandments that people ask us to compromise, especially in our relationships! So in John 10:10 God spells out the crux of the reason He asks us to do what He’s commanded: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV). The things that God has asked us to do are to protect us from harm and danger and to help us live better lives.

After we apply the principles we’ve talked about, if you’re still unsure as to whether or not you should be compromising about something in particular, try asking God about it. Gideon and Abraham both talked to God openly when they faced difficult situations (Judges 6:36-40; Genesis 18:26-33). God gave them clear answers, and He’ll give you one too.

*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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