Why do we let sin slide in our lives? The big dramatic sinful stretch of adultery and murder was passed in David’s life, but a continued distance from God in one area of his life settled into a rut of compromise – his family. David learned to live with the rut and quietly grew at peace with it.
Key Principle: The symptoms of personal compromise may not seem profound, but the effects of compromise are devastating.
What is compromise? How can I spot it in my life?
Perhaps an illustration will help: On October 31, 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 departed from Anchorage, Alaska, for a direct flight to Seoul, Korea. Unknown to the crew, however, the computer engaging the flight navigation system contained a 1 1/2 degree routing error. At the point of departure, the mistake was unnoticeable. One hundred miles out, the deviation was still so small as to be undetectable, but as the giant 747 continued across the Aleutian Islands and out over the Pacific, the plane increasingly strayed from its proper course. Eventually it was flying over Soviet air space. Russian radar picked up the error, and fighter jets scrambled to intercept Flight 007. A short time later the jet was shot out of the sky over mainland Russia and the lives of everyone onboard was lost, all because of a 1 1/2 degree routing error! I wonder if this isn’t a picture of the tragic course that many Christians find themselves on. Compromise is that little error or offense before God left alone. We depart from an intimate relationship with God and head straight for a destination that is offensive and far removed from Him. Yet we do it in small increments. That is why it takes serious examination to identify personal compromise.
Why do we let it go in our lives?
Perhaps is may help to spot how our model David let it creep in:
“Conscience”, said an Indian, “Is a three-cornered thing in my heart that stands still when I am good, but when I am bad, it turns around and the corners hurt a lot. If I keep in doing wrong, the corners wear off and it does not hurt anymore.”
- It may be related to guilt over our own past mistakes (2 Samuel 11:27; 12:10). If a man has limburger cheese on his upper lip, he thinks the whole world smells.
- It may relate to our desire to love without discernment. We may want to give in to some request that seems unwise to us to be liked by another (13:7; 13:27).
Even the people in our lives are not the gauge, only the Lord is. The people often get the issue wrong: The movie Catch Me If You Can is based on the true-life story of Frank Abagnale, a con artist who bilked the government out of more than $5 million by the time he was 21. Raised in the home of a father who cheated the government and a mother who cheated on her husband, Frank observes the ease with which a person can lie his way through life. At age 16, when his parents divorce, he runs away and for two years leads a life of amazing deception. Creating false documents and forging checks, he passes himself off as an airline pilot, a medical doctor, and a practicing attorney. All the while he is running, he longs for the security of his parents’ love. While posing as a doctor, Frank meets a young nurse, Brenda, and falls in love. When he meets her father, who is a prestigious lawyer, and her mother, he scores points with them by feigning to be a graduate of the same law school the father attended. Knowing they are Lutherans, he also claims to be Lutheran. Because Frank looks ten years older than he really is, Brenda’s father hires him as an associate in his law firm. The FBI crashes their elaborate engagement party at the parents’ mansion, but Frank sees them coming and races upstairs to pack his bags. Before the agents enter the home, Frank’s fiancée Brenda follows him into the bedroom. He wants her to escape with him. He opens his suitcases to pack for a quick getaway, and Brenda sees thousands of dollars in cash stuffed in each bag. Frank must level with her. He confesses, “Brenda, I don’t want to lie to you anymore. I’m not a doctor. I’ve never been to medical school. I’m not a lawyer or a Harvard graduate. I’m not even a Lutheran. I ran away from home a year and a half ago when I was 16!” With a straight face, Brenda says, “Frank? Frank? You’re not a Lutheran?”
What are the symptoms that will help me spot personal compromise?
- A restless heart that is not at peace with others in my life (13:39).
After Hearing Billy Graham Uncle Sam is $1,265 richer because four people got under conviction after hearing Billy Graham. Some time ago he got five $100.00 bills with the request that they be forwarded to the I.R.S. In more recent days, three others sent $765 tagged as “restitution for shortages” in the past income tax reports. “I have been a Christian, but I’ve backslidden”, said a Florida resident, who enclosed $500. “Partly through lack of knowledge and also wrong advice from an accountant, I did not pay certain taxes in full”, the letter went on. “But, God, has not let me forget it. So I want to get the money I think I owe into the treasury.. .” I hesitate to send cash to the I.R.S. Department, lest it be a temptation to anyone into whose hands it might fall. None of the letters were signed. Alliance Weekly
- A failure to maintain standards of righteousness and justice before the Lord (14:1).
It has been said that rivers and men become crooked by following the line of least resistance.
- A company of poor friends:
Who I hang out with matters! A young man was walking through a supermarket to pick up a few things when he noticed an older lady following him around. Thinking nothing of it, he ignored her and continued on. Finally he went to the checkout line, but she got in front of him. “Pardon me,” she said, “I’m sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It’s just that you look just like my son, who just died recently.” “I’m very sorry,” replied the young man, “is there anything I can do for you?” “Yes,” she said, “As I’m leaving, can you say ’Goodbye Mother’? It would make me feel so much better.” “Sure,” answered the young man. As the old woman was leaving, he called out, “Goodbye Mother!” As he stepped up to the checkout counter, he saw that his total was $127.50. “How can that be?” he asked, “I only purchased a few things!” “Your mother said that you would pay for her,” said the clerk.
- Joab was a self interested deceiver (14:2-3).
- The woman of Tekoa was an outright liar (14:4-8) and a flatterer (14:9).
- Both Joab and the woman spoke as though the Lord was involved in their deception (14:10-11).
- Both Joab and the woman believed the ends justified the means (14:12-13).
- The woman pretends to know what the Lord thinks concerning the matter, though it contradicts what God already said on the subject or premeditated murder (cp. Dt. 19; 14:14-16).
- Erratic and compulsive choices (14:21-23).
We don’t realize the consequence of our choices! A man at the San Jose International Airport was worried about missing his plane. He had no wristwatch and could not locate a clock, so he hurried up to a total stranger and said, “Excuse me, could you give me the time, please?” The stranger smiled back and said, “Sure.” He set down the two large suitcases he was carrying and looked at the watch on his wrist. “It’s exactly 5:09. The temperature outside is 73 degrees, and it is supposed to rain tonight. In London, the sky is clear and the temperature is 38 degrees Celsius. The barometer reading is 29.14 and falling. And, let’s see, in Singapore the sun is shining brightly. Oh, by the way, the moon should be full tonight here in San Jose and— “Your watch tells you all that?” the man interrupted. “Oh, yes, and much more. You see, I invented this watch, and I can assure you there’s no other timepiece like it in the world.” “I want to buy that watch! I’ll pay you two thousand dollars for it right now.” “No, it’s not for sale,” said the stranger as he reached down to pick up his suitcases. “Wait! Four thousand. I’ll pay you four thousand dollars, cash,” offered the man reaching for his wallet. “No, I can’t sell it. You see, I plan to give it to my son for his twenty-first birthday. I invented it for him to enjoy.” “Okay, listen—I’ll give you ten thousand dollars. I’ve got the money right here.” The stranger paused. “Ten thousand? Well, okay. It’s yours for ten thousand even.” The man was absolutely elated. He paid the stranger, took the watch, snapped it on his wrist with glee and said, “Thanks!” and he turned to leave. “Wait,” said the stranger. With a big smile he handed the two heavy suitcases to the man and added, “Don’t forget the batteries.”
- Desire to avoid just consequences to abusive behaviors in order to keep peace (14:24-33).
A missionary writes: “On a recent trip to Haiti, I heard a Haitian pastor illustrate to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ. His parable: A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door. After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.” (Dale A. Hays, Leadership, Vol. X, No. 3 (Summer, 1989), p. 35.) When we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation. Commitment and compromise make strange bedfellows.
The symptoms of personal compromise may not seem profound, but the effects of compromise are devastating. What Can I DO?
- Deal with conflicts whenever I can (Rom. 12:18 “Live at peace”).
- Gauge my standards by God’s Word (Rom. 12:1-2 “Transformed by a renewed mind”)
- Keep friends that draw me TO the Lord!
- Seek the Lord (PRAY) about choices (Phil 4).
- Make my chief aim to please HIM and not ME!
Winter was coming on and a hunter went out into the forest to shoot a bear out of which he planned to make a warm coat. By and by he saw a bear coming toward him and raised his gun and took aim. “Wait,” said the bear, “why do you want to shoot me?” “Because I am cold,” said the hunter. “But I am hungry,” the bear replied, “so maybe we can reach an agreement, or a compromise.” In the end, the hunter was well enveloped with the bear’s fur and the bear had eaten his dinner. We always lose out when we try to compromise with the devil and sin.