Compromise is Not a Dirty Word!

Compromise happens at work, at home, in friendships, at church, and driving during rush hour…you have a place you are trying to get to and someone barrels in with their plan. Do you cause an accident or let them merge?

Everyone must be willing to compromise in some areas but determining when it is appropriate is so tricky! There are also times when compromise shouldn’t happen and that is equally as important. Some personalities love to be in charge and being willing to concede is extraordinarily painful for them but all the more necessary. Other personalities so desire peace (or acceptance, etc.) that they are open to compromising too much and that can cause problems. Who you are and who you are dealing with are very important things to consider in this business of compromise in addition to “the compromise” itself.

Does your compromise actually stand in the way of what you hope to achieve? Are there fears and regrets in the middle of the compromise? Are you surrendering your better judgement or core values? Some things are really not that important and other things can change the course of your life…forever.

So what if you find yourself in a situation where you have compromised a little too much, are experiencing regret, and are having a difficult time getting back to “the line in the sand” you had previously established? Maybe establishing “the line” wasn’t important previously but as you grow and mature you see the benefit from having a boundary. Ponder the situation. Pray about the situation. If your heart is restless, I would guess that the compromise you struggle with is probably more than should have been surrendered. Sometimes you can ask yourself “How do I wish this situation looked right now?” and that might give you a clue to what you should be working towards. Have you talked it over with a trusted and wise friend? Have you visited with a trained counselor?

Boundaries can change over time and there are times they definitely should. Consider a parent who is in charge of their child’s every day. Typically, the day will come when that child moves away. Has the parent given them wings to fly when the time comes by allowing the child (young adult, adult) increasing opportunity to make decisions and grow in being responsible for themselves? This is tricky business for parents but it can also be difficult at work, as you volunteer, and in many other relationships. Too much compromise can lead to regret and anger and an unsettling feeling. Too little compromise can lead to relationship challenges.

Pray for those you see compromising too much. Pray for those who are too often unyielding to ideas that don’t come from their own mind. Both extremes have their challenges. Spend some time thinking about your life and your compromises. If you are struggling with regret, seek God’s forgiveness. If you are struggling with anger, seek God’s peace.

Children, Parenting, and Pride

Do you know or parent a child who is very compliant?

NEWSFLASH: It’s most likely a personality trait. Your awesome parenting did not create a compliant child.

Do you know or parent a child who is strong willed and likes to buck at every turn?

NEWSFLASH: That is also mostly a personality trait. Your parental mistakes (and friends, we ALL make loads of them) did not create a child who insists on blazing their own trail!

Do your remember Adam and Eve? Created by a perfect God, living in a sinless world, and no “good” excuse for their choices. Even they did not follow God’s directions!!!

NEWSFLASH: You will never be a more perfect parent than God!

If your kids are compliant (or obedient) most of the time, don’t take the credit for it. Compliance is most often a God-given personality trait.

Don’t be prideful in your parenting. You can learn all you can and do the best you can but don’t put your kids and their behavior on a pedestal. Whenever you see kids put on a pedestal, it is because the parents want to be on the pedestal but this is a more accepted way of getting the accolades. I think we can all agree though, it is obnoxious and exhausting to be friends with people who always need to talk about the amazing things their children accomplish. By the same token, there is no need to humiliate and shame your children for mistakes. Quite honestly, there are a ton of natural consequences that come with risky behavior, even some that we have to live with. While we would like children to learn these hard lessons sooner rather than later and with as little pain and embarrassment as possible, sometimes it takes a lifetime of learning. They will learn as they grow. We all do.

“Pride attaches undue importance to the superiority of one’s status in the eyes of others; And shame is fear of humiliation at one’s inferior status in the estimation of others. When one sets his heart on being highly esteemed, and achieves such rating, then he is automatically involved in fear of losing his status.” Lao-Tzu

While I am not a big fan of Lao-Tzu, there is some great insight in that quote. Pride and fear are very interconnected. Pride can mess up quite a bit of stuff. I have seen it cripple people, families, congregations, and ministries. Be careful! It can creep up on you. If you consider yourself above accountability, then you have some issues with pride. If you do not ask for accountability and allow people to hold you accountable for what you do and say, then be ready for that ugly day when it all comes crashing down. It is important to take this issue of pride seriously. It is often something we can see in others more quickly than we can see it in ourselves. Ask God to reveal your areas of pride. Take the risk and ask an honest friend too.

Every time I land in Proverbs I am reminded that I need to spend more time there:

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud.

[Proverbs 16:18-19]

Lord, You know me inside and out. You created me. You love me. You desire for me to learn and grow. Pride is not a part of what You desire for me. Bring me to a greater place of dependency on You. When You see pride in me, You also see fear. Replace that fear with trust in You. Let me be real, accessible, and accountable. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!