“Each concession we make is accompanied by an inner diminution of which we are not immediately conscious.”― Emile Cioran – Romanian Philosopher
Most of us have stood in line at a concession stand at a movie theater, sporting, or arts event. Aside from being aghast at the dastardly prices…the little kid in us is enthralled by getting a taste of some of our favorite comfort foods: hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, soda pop, icees, or candy. CONCESSION here means a commercial operation within the premises of a larger concern, typically selling refreshments.
The other meaning of concession usually takes place in the process of negotiation. Here CONCESSION means a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands; a thing conceded; a gesture, especially a token one, made in recognition of a demand or prevailing standard: The root word, CONCEDE – means to admit that something is true or valid after first denying or resisting it; to admit defeat in a contest; to surrender or yield something that one possesses. Emile Cioran in the quote above said that concession involves DIMINUTION – a reduction in the size, extent, or importance of someone or something.
We generally are not fans of conceding. We are taught in the US, to win at all cost, to exercise power over others, and to “never let them see you sweat.” In 1 Samuel 15, Israel’s first king, Saul, disobeyed God’s command by failing to slay all of their Amalekite enemies in battle. He was to kill all the adults, children, and livestock. In verse 13 Saul announces to the prophet Samuel that he has completely carried out the Lord’s instructions. Samuel asked, “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” After attempting to argue his case, Saul concedes that he has omitted some of what God asked him to do. This omission cost him God’s favor and eventually, leadership of the kingdom of Israel.
Gradually, the Spirit of the Lord that was upon Saul left him and was transferred to David. Saul had to remain in this disempowered state for many years as he grew more jealous of David and angry with himself over the loss of God’s favor. 1 Samuel 16:14 says, 14Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and the LORD sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. King Saul had to make concessions in more ways than one: 1)he had to admit that Samuel was right, that he had disobeyed the Lord’s commands and deserved his fate; 2) once the anointing was stripped from him, he had to admit defeat—he was going to be replaced by David; and 3) he had to surrender his reign, his kingly position and authority, and turn it over to another. Saul, who ultimately could not make that concession, died by falling on his own sword in 1 Samuel 31. Are there concessions you need to make today