When Is It Ok To Compromise Your Beliefs?

photo-11The greatest compromise a man and woman will ever face is on Movie Night.

Men and women are genetically predisposed to enjoy different movies. It’s a scientific fact. Or something like that.

Women wonder why “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days” didn’t win an Oscar. Men question why every movie isn’t produced by Marvel.

My fiance and I have worked out a pretty common compromise to avoid Movie Night fights. We usually take turns picking out the movies we watch together.

Of course this means she often has to slug through quirky indie movies the critics love but are really just plain weird. And I fall asleep through cheap horror movies that belong on SyFy. But, you know, love and all that.

I believe a movie should be more than cheap thrills and entertainment. I want movies to transcend entertainment and move me emotionally and other nonsense.

Sometimes our movie choices flop. When she picks a bad movie I get a little angry that I wasted a couple hours of my life to watch a crappy film. I feel like I compromised my beliefs.

But she enjoyed the movie. She’s happy. Nothing of great importance was lost or affected. So I’m ok with it. The compromise was worth it.

Compromise is seen in some circles as a bad thing – a sign of weakness or defeat. I think this happens a lot in the church.

I know I’ve seen this mindset before in the church. The thought process seems to be, “We’ve done it this way for years. It worked in the past. Why should we compromise?”

Churches, and their members, have a way of getting stuck in routine. The routine is often comforting to the congregation. The order of service, the familiar hymns, sitting in the same spot with the same people at the same time every week.

We may not realize it but this is part of why we go to church each week. A weekly church service is a constant in our ever changing life. It’s a reflection of God’s consistency while the world spins in circles around us.

I’m a fan of this comforting nature. I just wonder what would happen if more believers were willing to compromise.

I wonder what would happen if more Christians were willing to admit they didn’t know it all. I wonder what would happen if we’d all be more willing to compromise on non-essentials – worship styles, orders of service, building designs, deacon qualifications, etc.

I used to think compromising your beliefs made you look weak. Now I wonder if compromising our beliefs might be the strongest thing the church could do.

Compromising works great for movie nights with your date. Who’s to say it couldn’t work for the church?

Of course there are hard and fast truths I would never compromise on. Things like who Jesus is and was and how He is the path to salvation.

Everything else? Well, I would be a fool to say I was absolutely positively sure on just about every other spiritual issue.

We all have our own tastes and opinions and preferences. But on so many of the spiritual matters  that divide us we will never know the “right” answer. The sooner we can admit this, the better off the church will be and the more we will be able to open ourselves up to the great variety of this world God has created.

Paul himself, in Romans 14, encouraged us to not pass judgment on each other over the little things in life. Instead, he called us to make peace and to learn from one another.

Every now and then I think we all should be willing to compromise on what we believe in.

With compromise we admit we are not always right and perfect. We humble ourselves to show we don’t have all the answers.

On my fiance’s movie nights, I sometimes am bored and disappointed. Other times I am surprised and impacted by a movie I never would have watched. This is the beauty of compromising – opening yourself to wonders you would have otherwise ignored.

Compromise is not a sign of weakness. Rather, compromise is a reflection of the strength of one’s faith in a God who is greater than any singular opinion.


2 thoughts on “When Is It Ok To Compromise Your Beliefs?

  1. I think you’ve commingled beliefs and preferences. Preferences are appetite-driven; beliefs are conviction-driven. It’s good to compromise your preferences sometimes; to not do so would be selfish. But the only time it’s OK to compromise your beliefs is when you find them to be wrong, or when you find two contradicting beliefs, with one having greater weight, in a particular context.

    • Thanks for reading Xaq. I think you’re spot on, and I think that’s the problem. A lot of Christians confuse their preferences with their beliefs and are unwilling to compromise or learn from new viewpoints. We would all be well served to better know the difference.

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