The original meaning of compromise is to settle a dispute by mutual concession. From there a secondary meaning developed of a compromise being an intermediate state between conflicting opinions or plans of action, reached by mutual concessions and adjustments. Thus far the word describes something necessary and beneficial in work, marriage, business dealings and many other areas of life.
If my position is that it has to be “my way or the highway,” I will sooner or later be going down the highway by myself. That’s what happened to Rehoboam. The men who had been counsellors of Solomon, his father, told him: “If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants forever.” Perhaps Rehoboam felt too insecure to act in a way that seemed like weakness; as a result he was soon scurrying down the highway to Jerusalem.
There is another type of compromise that does not suggest a happy outcome: to compromise a reputation or a relationship by lowering our standards. Jeroboam did that by setting up a new worship system that claimed to still worship Jehovah, yet included a semblance of idolatry.
There can be no compromise with God; he will not negotiate with us. This does not mean that we must give unquestioning obedience to a church leader who claims to speak for God, yet teaches a doctrine or a way of life that is deeply compromised with something that is not of God. The apostle Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ.” A true follower of God will always have a sound answer for what he believes and the way he lives. A true follower of God, no matter what his position, must also be willing to accept reproof from his fellow believers.
The word “compromise” is not found in the Bible, but the meaning is. There are warnings about forgetting what God has done for us, about breaking the covenant we have made with Him, about seeking our security in other things than in Him alone. In 2 Chronicles 15:2, the prophet Azariah delivered this promise and warning to King Asa: “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Unfortunately, many Christian groups in our day have the idea that “love covers a multitude of sins,” means that, in the name of love, they should overlook things that compromise the faith. In the long run, that can only result in unrest and disunity. Many people today are searching for something solid to believe in. A soft, cushiony, feel-good Christianity does not supply the answer for their search. Uncompromising faith is the basis of a genuinely warm and loving fellowship.