Is It Sacrifice Or Compromise

Oct 26

Is It Sacrifice Or Compromise

Wed, 10/26/2011 - 13:52 — Thabo Mokete

“But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as loss...” 1- Paul (the Apostle)

The value of sacrifice is as far removed from compromise as loving is from needing. At the moment of decision, it helps to recognize the difference.

Necessity often makes compromise inevitable. When trade unions and company management sit down to settle on salary increases, we know that compromise is on the cards. The mandate allows for that.

That means we would rather have less of what we had hoped for than have nothing at all. Better half the loaf of bread than no bread. That is compromise. When you have a goal in mind to accomplish something, but realize that it may not be possible to reach it, you settle for a lesser goal.

If I know that my principle is to eat brown bread only, but one day the shops sell only white bread, it is time to make a decision. There will be a temptation to compromise and get the white bread that is available. After all the bird in your hand can be accounted more valuable than the two that are still in the bush.

So, compromise is based on the idea that what one hopes for may not be attainable after all. One must then settle for the lesser thing that is available. That way one does not starve of what they need, but life carries on.

Compromise has its root in necessity. Where the are no needs, there can be no compromise. It only happens when we know how much it will take to satisfy a particular need, but settle for less.

But if we also happen to participate in the world of love, we will know sacrifice. For love calls us away from compromise to the highly exalted value of sacrifice. How does this happen?

Love (in us) gives us a vision of who we are and what we are all about, as well as where we fit in the big picture of life. Love gives us a promise and a prize to reach out for. It is not just a prize waiting in theory. We get a deposit of the prize, in the form of joy. That promise is a source of joy in our lives at the present moment.

All that we are asked to do is believe and hope. When we believe in the vision given to us by love, of who we are and what we can be, that is faith. Belief is creative participation in the hope we have now.

Very often we will know the vision of a great prize in our lives. Then at times it will be difficult to endure, and we may be drawn to lesser prizes along the way. We will be tempted to take the deal of what is available.

But love calls us to be willing to sacrifice. We must be willing to give up these inferior desires because we have the joy of the best before us.

There are pleasures that will entice and glorious things that will bring us down to our knees. On the road to our goal we will be presented with offers that blow us out of our minds. But we should be willing and ready to sacrifice all on the altar of love, and the vision that's been given to us.

There will be sufferings on account of the hope set before us. Sometimes it will be too hard to carry on and giving up will appear the most sensible thing to do.

However, if we hold on, even if our faith and hope starts to give in, love carries on and endures for as long as it takes within us. When our hope and faith have all but disappeared and we are almost ready to let go, love appears.

Love appears and commands the faith and hope that we thought was lost and brings it back to the front again.
We all have received in the light within us a prize and a goal for life. Sometimes it is hidden from us in the way that our true identity is often hidden from our eyes. For as long as we have preferred the darkness in us than the light, these things have remained hidden. But we have seen great examples of those who embraced the light within them.

We have seen men and women sacrifice the comfort of the familiar, well ordered life in order to fight for freedom. Well established careers were given up, family ties sacrificed to attain the high prize of freedom.

We also seen how some sacrificed even life itself for the high aim of worshiping the God they believed in. They would not compromise. But they were quite willing to give up safety and life itself for the sake of the value of their worship goal.

The classic story of the three Hebrew boys who preferred to be thrown into a burning fire than worship another god in Babylon is there to teach us this lesson. The lesson that value is higher than any one thing, even life itself. We should be willing to give up anything to attain the highest value.

The contrast between sacrifice and compromise is open to be seen by all. Compromise comes from need, but sacrifice is from love. Compromise reacts to a fear that the goal cannot be achieved, but sacrifice is powered by hope and firm belief that the goal will be realized.

Very often one makes a compromise with the mistaken view that it is sacrifice. When someone  violates himself on values such as honesty in order to secure love or approval from someone loved, that is compromise. If Adam violates his spirit and eats the fruit in order to keep Eve happy and secure her love, that  is compromise.

Compromise is concerned with self and survival, while sacrifice is concerned with the highest good, the highest value, even if the survival of self must be given up. Compromise is concerned with gaining things, such as money, respect, approval, honor, security or comfort but sacrifice is concerned with upholding and attaining value such as freedom, truth, love.

The message of the Gospel as summarized by John is that for the fallen world, God out of love chose to sacrifice of himself rather than compromise the standard of well-being. Everything had to be unified in the love of God.

Whereas compromise gives up value to meet necessity, sacrifice gives up all treasured possessions, even life itself in order to achieve the highest prize.

The life that is lived without the joy of the prize and goal of life is meaningless. The prize and goal of life is not hard to know, it is not rocket science.

Once our eyes were blind and we could not see the gold before us. We esteemed other things more desirable and feared that our needs might not be met. Thus we lived a compromising life.

However, when the light has come, we begin to see who we are and what it's all about. We begin to see that all of life is unified the ultimate value of love. Love for self is the same thing as love for God, love for fellow man and love for the whole cosmos.

When we see this clearly through the light within us, we will always be willing and ready to make the sacrifice called for at any time. Then we will avoid the compromise at all cost.

1. Philippians 3:7
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible.