Compromise. It’s a word ripe for heated debate. A thing to be avoided? Or a necessary evil? Better to bend than break, as an old Scottish proverb puts it. Compromise is supposedly what makes nations great and marriages happy, what people use to justify unconscionable bargaining techniques.
But all too often – in business and international negotiations as much as in relationships – compromise means raising the thresholds of what we’ll tolerate while lowering our expectations. Not exactly a recipe for strength of character. And perhaps it is those value compromises, those times when we give in but shouldn’t, that cause us the most pain as we look back.
For sure, compromise can be a slippery slope. We develop the habit of giving away the store or fine tun our manipulative techniques to Henry Kissinger-like finesse. The great convert to theology, C.S. Lewis, discussed the gradual road to Hell that I think can be the result of compromise, and it is important to think harder and deeper about this.
Compromising on Love and Truth, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.