The expedient acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable.
Hidden not so obviously within compromise, is the word – Promise; A declaration or assurance that one will do something or that a particular thing will happen.
This promise, this declaration with a compromise, foretells the immediacy of the undoing and the lowering, not just of standards personal or otherwise, but the undoing of everything that is impacted directly or indirectly from the unspoken vow relating to the compromise. Now I agree, compromise in and of itself within the context of a supportive mutually respectful relationship is a beautiful tool. A tool often used where the humble and supportive positioning of each person is lowered to help lift the other. The fruit of the promise is immediate and the bonds between the two made stronger in the ebb and flow of mutual submission.
I want to address the compromise of integrity. The lowering of standards to accomodate a situation that is outside our normal moral code or ethics. Where remaining within the bounds of integrity holds momentary discomfort in perceived confrontation and so our fear dictates the conscious decision we make to compromise.
I have spent the past year unravelling a web made in my own conscious choice to compromise. It has been an incredibly painful journey, but one made beautiful by the profound strengthening of my character and my desire to restore integrity in the honouring of myself and my relationships.
My husband and I allowed a romantic relationship between two otherwise married members of our team, to flourish under our roof. We compromised after much emotional discussion because we decided that, as two consenting adults, it really was none of our business and their value to us and our team outweighed any preconceived repercussions. Besides that, we also justified our compromise by declaring the truth that they were both at their core “good people” and it was our responsibility to “love unconditionally” and not be their judge. It was easier to compromise or so we thought than to lose either one of them.
Our compromise; our co-promise of the lowering of the standards of our own integrity meant that we began to inherit the repercussions with expediency. Our own marriage suffered as we unknowingly partnered with their decision and as we began to accept this new standard, the betrayal began to infiltrate our relationship. I became insecure and incredibly suspicious if Gideon was home late and even took to drive-by’s in the dark, convinced that if he allowed this of others, perhaps it was because he was allowing it of himself. I noticed an immediate separation and distance from the other team members who couldn’t conceive of the fact that we weren’t perturbed, we eventually lost many valued employees. Over time, many precious regular customers stopped coming, confused at that the scenario playing out wasn’t what they expected from us. We had lost our integrity.
I distinctly remember having an emotional conversation with one of the two about the effect on their spouses and I profoundly realised that I’d become a part of their wounding and betrayal. That the wounding was somehow more acceptable to engage in with our support. I went home and wept at the realisation that the hurt had been compounded at our doing. I began to see myself differently and my heart started to harden. It was as though integrity had been replaced as my rudder by mistrust, criticism, self loathing and dishonour. I had no idea how to undo the trail of unspoken promises that were beginning to reveal themselves. This numbing toward the lowering of our standards began to seep into other areas. The doors had been opened and remained positioned there for almost a year.
The end of that Season wasn’t apparent when each of them left our employment and their relationship with each other, or their relationships with us. The Season ended when I got on my knees and begged for forgiveness for my part in the betrayal. Its’ end wasn’t as expedient as its’ beginning. Real unraveling is an ongoing undoing, requiring complete honesty. I am now becoming acutely aware of any potential situation that asks me to compromise my moral code and ethics, any situation asking me to partner in a promise that lowers my standards and quiets my voice, potentially causing betrayal of myself and others.
The discomfort of a momentary confrontation and potential for loss is so much easier to move through than a Season of not being able to recognise who I am and losing far more than ever imagined.
I am still learning to forgive myself, Thank God I am no longer ashamed.