Is ‘compromise’ a dirty word? Is it the decision between a roof or an umbrella?
Life gives so many opportunities for compromise. Washington D.C. is defined by compromise. Religion is transformed by compromise. Businesses succeed and fail on compromise.
Does that make compromise a bad thing? Scathing quotes nullify the integrity of such bargaining: “Compromise is never anything but an ignoble truce between the duty of a man and the terror of a coward” or “It is the weak man who urges compromise—never the strong man.”
So I ask you, where is the place for moral compromise?
G.K. Chesterton wrote:
“Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.”
Preferences are minutia; easily thrown out amidst ferocious give-and-take debate. A real man discern when it’s time to stand in the middle of the doorway or when it’s better to hold the door open for others.
Compromises are the ripples in the pond of life.
How can you measure the consequences? When is it okay to compromise?
Feel free to answer.
Below is an excerpt of a letter written by C.S. Lewis to a friend in the 1930s. Lewis had just become a Christian and was beginning to discover the seemingly impossible battle that rages between the Spirit and the flesh. This is a very relateable point brought up by the exasperrated Lewis:
During my afternoon “meditations,”—which I at least attempt quite regularly now—I have found out ludicrous and terrible things about my own character. Sitting by, watching the rising thoughts to break their necks as they pop up, one learns to know the sort of thoughts that do come.
And, will you believe it, one out of every three is the thought of self-admiration: when everything else fails, having had its neck broken, up comes the thought “what an admirable fellow I am to have broken their necks!” I catch myself posturing before the mirror, so to speak, all day long. I pretend I am carefully thinking out what to say to the next pupil (for his good, of course) and then suddenly realize I am really thinking how frightfully clever I’m going to be and how he will admire me…
And then when you force yourself to stop it, you admire yourself for doing that. It is like fighting the hydra… There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration.