Now that Jack and Jill are safely off on the sea of matrimony, and have presumably made many adjustments in their ways of conduct, I will address thisy Pistle to the rest of my grandchildren.
I have in mind to write to you about the concept, compromise. The big book by Webster tells us that the noun form of that word means: a settlement of differences by natural concessions: an adjustment of conflicting claims, principles, etc., by yielding a part of each.
Now such adjustments are often the ideal way of meeting differences of opinions between two parties, or factions; or even the differences that show up in a good Christian marriage. I imagine that Jack and Jill and their spouses have already made mutual concessions in the matter of preference for tea or coffee for breakfast, or whose relatives deserve the first dinner invitation. The better way may often be by yielding to one’s marriage partner and to be rewarded at another time by a reciprocal yielding on the other’s part. So far, so good.
There are some compromises that are not worthy of the name. Suppose that one of your friends enjoys going to the movies for his entertainment, and asks you to go with him. You answer that you believe it is wrong to do so, so you decline. He then suggests the compromise that you stay home tonight and watch the film on T.V. You compromise. What! That was no compromise; you lost that round!
I’d rather call “settling of differences” an adjustment instead of a compromise. The word, compromise, often has a stigma attached to it, an evil connotation. You probably know that Jill’s husband was born and raised in a denomination other than Jill’s. After they realized they were in love and began to see in the other a possible marriage partner, they began to consider their religious differences. Jill talked with her parents about this, and she had several talks with her pastor. They helped her see that any compromise between her and her lover was out of the question. No, not a compromise, but an adjustment was in order. From here I could not learn the reaction of his parents and minister. I suppose it was much like hers.
But with her minister’s counseling of Jill and her beloved, he gradually saw that the stand on which Jill so firmly stood was really the Holy Scriptures as they were so faithfully stored in the Reformed Confessions. The Three Forms of Unity also became the form of unity upon which their relationship developed. The outcome you know; they were married Christmas Day, and are attending Jill’s church in complete accord. Jill’s Mr. made the adjustment, in God’s Grace, and received the reward of grace: a truly happy Christian marriage based on Scripture.
Jack and his Mrs. were spared the trauma of such an adjustment. He found his girlfriend in the catechism class; the friendship was strengthened in Bible discussion in the young people’s society. They learned to know and appreciate each other’s viewpoint on matters of their faith at an early age. Of course other adjustments had to be made: non-earth shaking ones like Saturday rising times. Jack liked to be-up-and-at-it bright and early. Jack’s Judy liked to stay abed longer on the day she did not have to go to work. But she wanted to get his breakfast every day, and wanted to share the Saturday morning’s leisurely breakfast with him. They compromised. The difference between a seven and nine alarm-clock call was settled by mutual adjustment to a routine eight o’clock breakfast. So I am not very concerned with Jack and Judy, nor Jerry and Jill, any more. I am concerned about all their cousins-my grandchildren, all!
Remember, your parents are praying that your faith will not falter; that you will never compromise the confession of faith made in church. But remember, too, that your grandparents are also carrying your concerns to the Throne of Grace in their daily prayers, that you may be kept in the faith once delivered unto the saints. Paul’s spiritual son, Timothy, had a grandmother whose concern for her grandson was great enough to receive a special mention in the Bible.
Now then, if you meet up with a problem which calls for a compromise, and which might be settled by a simple adjustment suggested by your parents, your minister, or even your old (I can remember when bread sold for five cents a loaf) Gramps, feel free to seek such counsel. Gramps’ sixty-ish years of experience might come up with a possible solution. Just Maybe?
Closely related to the above, I will now present you with Gram’s posthumous advice found in Eph. 4:31, 32: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
I submit you cannot beat that advice. That is straight from Our Father which is in Heaven.
In my next letter, I intend to write about my teen-age impressions of the Church Reformation in the years of 1924-25. ’Till then,