Monday, March 31, 2014


I was sitting here this morning wistfully looking at the photo, of a family member, that I had fallen in love with many years ago. Due to the distance between her family and I over the years, I didn’t get to meet her until she was in her twenties. But I had loved the picture so much that her grandmother had it enlarged to 8x10 and framed; then gave it to me for Christmas. I have cherished it ever since and it is the only family picture that I display on the bookcase where it sits.  I can see it from my easy chair and I love looking at it. Why do I love it so?

Well, for one reason, because it is nearly the only picture I had of anyone in that family and I love that family. But the stronger reason is that it is, to me, a beautiful story of compromise. That is what holds my heart so tight.

Right now, our country is suffering from failure to compromise because the very idea of compromise is conceived as evil: That is unless the one who does the “compromising” is the other guy.  And we are seeing some very serious results of failure to compromise and failure to stand our ground.

But this is not about politics and the national problems, this is about us.

Yesterday our sermon was on Judges 19.  We have been going through the book of Judges where “All men did what was right in their own eyes” and over an over again did evil in the eyes of God. But chapter 19 gets down to the nitty-gritty and let’s out all stops.  Compromise leads to sin; grievous sin. Right in the middle of this chapter, we find a man comprising with evil: I will not stand for this action, but hey, go ahead with this other evil: that will be fine.

Compromise with evil brings evil. Compromise that avoids direction from the Word of God, leads to evil and the pain of the results of that evil. Compromise can be a very ill-fated idea.

But the picture that I am seeing is of a toddler, who was living with her missionary parents in Thailand, and of a small dog who is her buddy. According to Grandma, this little one has been told that she can not go outside (at least right now) and the dog is not allowed to come in.

Their door is a great wooden French style door.  The baby has seated herself on the line of demarcation where inside and outside meet. This, of course, opens the door just a little. The pup has stuck his head in the door just enough for his head, but not his body, to be inside the door. They had found a way to obey, but still be together.

I have no idea what proceeded thereafter, but this is just too cute to resist, so Mom took a picture. How she saw it, I do not know. But how I see it is as a picture of the kind of compromise we need in our relationships with those we love and care about.

Sometimes we have to agree to disagree.

Sometimes we have to work out what keeps us together and what may tears us apart. We need to decide how far to push our own agenda, if at all.

I am not suggesting that any compromise needs to be made with sin. What I am suggesting is that we need to let each other be who we are and find ways that we can keep the door open between us. Closed doors lead to disaster in any relationship. Some doors need to be cracked open at all times in order to allow the relationship to grow closer, rather than become impossibly tangled in strife rather than love.

Sometimes we even need to forgive one another for slights and slurs that may be intended, but also may have been misunderstood. And sometimes we just need to forgive one another for the other not being us. “Why can’t women be more like men” is the pleading lyric about one silly men/women relationship problem.

There are many hard things that come up in relationships, however close or distant they may be. I could make a list, but I won’t because we know what they are in our relationships. We know where the sore spots are. We know what we hold in our hearts about these failures of others to do exactly what we expect of them. We know in our hearts what they are like; and, if they are not trying to make us into sinful people, then we need to find a way to accept them as they are and love them, keeping the door open for communication and trust.

May we all take a look around us and see who we are holding to a standard made up in our own minds, but not by God. May we all seek to keep the doors open to friends and family and even strangers so that they may see, and seek, God’s great love for them.

I know I have a lot of work to do on this. How about you? God bless you.

What do you think?

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