Compromise: Permanent Solution or Impossibility?
by Elizabeth Sampayan
Our nation is currently faced with many evils. From the growing acceptance of homosexuality to the rampant slaughter of the unborn, the fight against evil lies at the root of many controversies in America. However, in an attempt to put an end to these controversies, many unbelievers, and sadly even some believers, are calling for compromising good and evil. A brief look at history denies the effectiveness of this approach. One of the darkest hours in our nation’s history, the struggle over slavery, demonstrates that when the epic struggle between good and evil lies at the root of a problem, compromise is impossible and only delays the inevitable climax.
From the writing of the Constitution to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, our forefathers made several attempts at coming to a lasting solution to slavery through compromises, but they all ultimately failed. At the Constitutional Convention, the delegates compromised by promising the slave trade could not be banned until 1808, but slaves would not count as a whole person for representation purposes in the House. But, this failed to bring any permanent settlement. In 1820, the issue once more arose and once more politicians attempted to settle the question of slavery with a compromise. The Missouri Compromise attempted to resolve the matter with the 3630’ line. This also failed to last longer than a generation. The Kansas-Nebraska Act and Douglas’s advocacy of Popular Sovereignty were last desperate attempts at compromise. But, they succeeded even less than the previous compromises. Each of these “solutions” failed to permanently resolve the dispute. They only delayed the crisis that would ultimately come.
There is a reason for the failures of these compromises. The real struggle over slavery lay not in the issue of slavery itself; but rather in a much deeper struggle between two incompatible forces—Good and Evil. Just as white can not be mixed with black and remain white, so it is with Good and Evil. Good cannot remain good if it has been tainted with Evil in a compromise. Because slavery is wrong, there was no meeting place between its supporters and opponents. Contrary to popular belief, they could not compromise, or even peacefully coexist. As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14; “for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (NIV). Good and Evil are at war with each other and always will be until Evil is ended by Christ’s return.
Ultimately, the only option that provided a lasting solution to the issue of slavery in America was a battle and a decisive victor. Despite decades of attempts at compromise, the dispute over slavery was not resolved until the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln recognized this in his famous speech at in Springfield Illinois when he said, “that agitation [over slavery] has not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis has been reached and passed” (Schweikart and Allen 288). He realized because of their incompatibility, a permanent resolution between Good and the evil of slavery could only come after a battle in which one was defeated. There were no other options.
As we continue to battle the evil in today’s society, we need to remember the history of the conflict over slavery. As our forefathers discovered, compromise with evil will not bring about a lasting resolution. We can learn from the past that compromise will only delay the climax that must ultimately occur. Instead, we must continue fight for what is right, no matter how attractive a compromise appears. The battle may appear difficult and futile at times, but ultimately there will be no resolution until Good triumphs over Evil.