Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Unmasking Compromise

I once wrote that compromise does not fit well in a cloister. It does, however, knock daily at my enclosure door.  It makes sales pitches through the grille, some of which are quite enticing.  It Won't Hurt Anything to Enjoy a Harmless Round of Gossip, it assures me, perhaps adding a gentle nudge to Just Go Along With the Crowd.    

If I hope to live totally for God, I must battle temptations to compromise.  God has given clear directives on how to live for Him, and frankly, most of what I encounter in the world right now is the exact opposite of these.  Every day, I must make my choices.  Every day, I must face down the grinning, smooth-talking, hand-offering, smartly-masked ogre of compromise, and I must take a stand.

It helps me to know that the battle is not a new one.  

"The earliest monasticism was directed to the tendency in the church to compromise with the world, to water down the strong wine of the Gospels to suit the vulgar taste...  Monasticism, in its development, was unmistakably on the defensive against a worldly church"  (Walter Nigg, Warriors of God, NY, Alfred A. Knopf, 1959, pp. 80-81)

"Mediocrity is the arch-enemy of  Christianity."  (Nigg, p. 47)

"The desert fathers fought the corrosion of mediocrity not in others, but in themselves, which is what made them saints and not simply critics of civilization and preachers of penitence."  (Nigg, p. 47)

Compromise does not fit well in a cloister.  If I hope to live "enclosed in the will of God," I must see through the masks and boot compromise out the door. 

For Prayer and Reflection:  
  • Do the above quotes strike me in any way? 
  • If I look for compromise around me today, what masks do I catch it wearing?
  • Have I developed habits of compromise in my life?  Are there scriptures or prayers I can use to battle these?
"I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship.  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God's will, what is good, pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2)

This is a slightly edited repost from our archives. It is linked to Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for 'It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday.'  

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