Compromise, a word we see and use a lot in a society that depends on people working together to solve problems and improve the quality of life for each individual.
Can you imagine the chaos we could face each day if everybody tried to have their way all the time? The alternative to compromise is an authoritarian system in which all decisions were made by one person or a group that followed the rules without exception. Experience tells us that there are many shades and degrees of both methods of social control. The pendulum swings from fascism to communism, anarchy, democracy and a representative parliament or republic. Most successful systems that provide some degree of liberty and free thought have a workable mix of democracy and elected representation from our peers. This type social system cannot succeed for the long term without compromise and an educated citizenry.
Compromise also comes in degrees. “I will give a little and in turn you give a little.” But sometimes we might find it necessary to accept a position we don’t want to support in order to get a position that is very important to us and our constituents we represent. That’s when compromise is really tested. One representative insists on supporting needy widows in Israel while another is concerned about girls in Pakistan who are not allowed to go to school and are doomed to a life of painful submission and poverty. Both representatives have Christian values. Both have studied the situation they support. So, in order to move forward one must compromise and wait until another time to pursue their position.
Here’s where the problem begins. The news headlines print, “representative A wants to send our money to Pakistan to help support gender equality.” Well-meaning citizens criticize and call A horrible names based on a headline without knowing anything about the reason A supported the action and can’t understand why the other representative would give in. So, because of a little word that must be a part of successful negotiation leads to conflict.
I wonder what Jesus would do?
Cary, formerly of Roanoke Rapids