Several weeks ago while at work I called on a colleague . I was fed up. Our exchange went something like this
ME: I don’t care anymore. I’m tired. I’m just going to let them do whatever they want to!
Colleague: No, you can’t do that. You can’t compromise. You’re doing some good even though it doesn’t seem so to you.
ME: (pause for a while)… I didn’t see it that way but I guess you are right. I would be compromising my standards.
Colleague: Yes you would be and all the work you’ve put in so far would have been for nothing. You have to hang in there. Things won’t be like this forever. You’ll see.
We both work in healthcare, alongside a team and taking care of patients . I was about to quit. I was about to compromise and give in to office dynamics and pressures but I didn’t see it that way. I stopped and got a different perspective and that changed everything. This was what I needed to jump back into the fray.
We need that a lot of times. Fresh perspectives and friends. We aren’t talking about sycophants and minions but real people who are able to give us a dose of reality whenever we need it. Sometimes it’s tough love and some bitter truth. Sometimes it’s in the form of a quote, an article, a song. Something that jolts us with a stimulant shot of HEY-THAT’S-NOT-RIGHT. If you can imagine a cold bath in the heart of winter, you have a picture of what I’m talking about.
Why Do We Compromise Our Values?
We do it to stop being the odd man out. To stop people from referring to us as the clog in the wheel, the antithesis of progress. To end the cold stares and the personification of other peoples inadequacies. It can be a heavy load to bear. Have you ever been called a nerd in school? Or a tight wad at work? Or told that you’re too strict with raising you kids? Or asked why you are still driving that old car? Or why haven’t you bought your own house? While some of these could be genuine concern most are subliminal attacks on your core values.
All compromise does is to try and tweak your character. It prods and pokes at your core values to see what is shifty. To see where the fault lines are.
If you don’t have a support structure. A person or place to go and recharge, a constitution to reread, remember and reaffirm you; eventually you wear down and then out. No one can hold out against a siege indefinitely unless there is wellspring of refreshing behind the fortress walls.
People can be cruel. They can let out the monster of hate and really do damage to ones reputation. No wonder most follow the path of least resistance and acquiesce. Anything is better than having that tongue wagging in your direction right?
FEARING PEOPLE IS A DANGEROUS TRAP, BUT TRUSTING THE LORD MEANS SAFETY – PROVERBS 29:25 NLT
It’s not so bad being the odd man out. For one thing you stick out like a sore thumb. You bring attention to your cause. If you are the only one heading in the right direction you could save some people a lot of hurt. You give undecideds another choice or personify a different approach to doing business. In the words of Gandhi “be the change you want to see”.
It’s a different case if you can’t see the summit. You can be forgiven if you haven’t glimpsed the majestic vistas or new horizons but to DENY YOUR CONVICTIONS, to BETRAY the truth for a brief APPLAUSE that is infinitely worse. The people that applaud you now will be the same ones that condemn you later.
WHATEVER YOU COMPROMISE TO GET YOU WILL LOSE, WHATEVER YOU COMPROMISE TO KEEP YOU WILL LOSE – ANDREW WOMMACK
The question for us to answer now is what is our destination. Where would we like to end up? Once we know our core values, the incidents of compromise will be easier to crystalize out. They will be wether or not the choices we are making will get us closer to our destination or further away. Compromise is like a strong magnet in the vicinity of our compass, it gets us off track and lost. It’s convenient for the short term but costly on the long run.
COMPROMISE MAKES A GOOD UMBRELLA BUT A POOR ROOF. – JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Back to my story it took a while but shorter than I anticipated, one other person caught the vision of the summit and had the courage to try and then other and then other. Things aren’t quite where they need to be but we are so much better. We have a uniform goal now to be better healthcare workers, to change the present for a better future. I still call my colleague from time to time. After all I owe him one and I’m looking to pay him back.
If you had been in my colleague’s shoes would you have done the same and spoke the truth even though it hurt right then? Do you listen to your conscience or drown it out with rationalizations?