On January 13, 2012 the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground and sank. As the details of this tragedy continue to emerge, a picture of compromise and complacency has begun to take shape. Recent reports reveal the ship was moving through the water at some eighteen knots and at times not more than a few hundred yards from shallow water, clearly marked on navigation charts. It seems Captain Schettino realized he was too close to shore and made a starboard turn toward deeper water. However, when a large ship, such as the Costa Concordia, is moving eighteen knots, the rear part of the ship will move in the opposite direction. As the bow or front of the ship moved toward deeper water, the rear of the ship moved closer to shore and made contact with submerged rocks. In the same way the Titanic was damaged by an ice berg, the rocks cut into the side of the Costa Concordia, leaving a gash some 160 feet in length. The ship is designed to handle a certain amount of flooding in water tight compartments, however, few ships, if any, can sustain a 160 foot gash below the water line. The ship flooded and sank. The chain of errors and poor judgment will no doubt be the subject of discussion for years to come. However, this story is a real life example of the price of compromise and complacency.
Let’s think about what that means.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, compromise can be defined as laying open to danger or endangering. Captain Schettino opened his vessel to danger or endangered his vessel by deviating from the safe programed course for his ship. Webster also defines complacency as a smugness or self-satisfaction. Complacency comes when we do something so often that we no longer really pay attention to why or how we are doing it. Such was the case with this accident.
The question for us is, what lesson can we learn from Captain Schettino’s failure? Is there a lesson here at all? I believe there is a powerful biblical lesson for all who would care to consider the comparison. The Bible warns us against both compromise and complacency in our faith. We are to never compromise with sin, thus opening ourselves to the danger sin brings with it. We are to guard against endangering our spiritual lives with the destructive effects of sin. The apostle Paul said, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6.11). Furthermore we are warned against becoming complacent in our faith. Paul told the church at Corinth that the inward man is “renewed” day by day (2 Cor 4.16). We should never become so use to being saved that we forget what God did for us and why we are here. Compromise with sin and a stagnant spiritual life is a recipe for disaster. Let’s look at one biblical example.
In 1 Kings 2 Solomon became king of all Israel. Solomon’s faith and walk with God was so dynamic and fresh that God appeared to Solomon twice in visions and dreams. However, we see in the text an open area of compromise in Solomon’s life that would later mean big trouble. 1 Kings 3.1 tells us how Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh. The problem is, God had commanded the Israelites to marry only Jewish women who would naturally be of like faith in Jehovah God. The prohibition against marrying strange women was to protect the people from being influenced by pagan religions. Solomon opened the door and sin came flooding in. By the time we get to chapter 11, here is what we find, “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love” (1 Kings 11.1-2). Solomon had compromised with sin and it led to his complete failure in the area of marriage and morality. In addition, Solomon’s sin led to the introduction of idolatry into the land of Israel that would eventually bring the chastening hand of God upon the nation.
Compromise with sin and complacency in our walk with the Lord will eventually bring hurt and loss into our lives. The worst part is we will end up losing our testimony for Jesus, just like Solomon. Is there compromise in your life? Are you flirting with sin? Be sure of this one thing, compromise leads to complacency. Compromise and complacency are killers. Let us be quick to repent of our sin and make no compromise with the enemy.