To find the answer to this question one must first know what compromise is. There are two different ways that compromise is defined in the dictionary. The noun is, "an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions." That doesn't sound too bad. And this is what we think of many times when we think about compromising. There are many times in history and in our everyday lives where we see that compromise can be helpful. For example, if my parents were to give my siblings and i some chores to do and I don't want to do them all, then I will probably negotiate with my siblings and find a compromise where I do some of it and they do some of it. Now I didn't get out of doing the chores like I would have liked, but neither did my siblings. But neither of us are having to do all of the work alone either. That's compromise, which I believe will generally be good.
But it was the other definition that caught my eye. In the dictionary compromise as a verb says, "accept standards that are lower than is desirable." Wait, so compromise is also lowering your standards? That's not good! I found a quote that I really like that describes this kind of compromise. "Compromise means to go just a little bit below what you know is right. It's just a little bit, but it's the little foxes that spoil the vine."--Joyce Meyer. There is also the saying if you have a choice between drinking a full bottle of poison or half a bottle. Either way you're still drinking poison. Just like the poison, many times compromise is harmful.
So now we've seen two different ways that we can have compromise. One good and one bad. So which is it? I believe that it is both. I believe that there are situations where compromise could be helpful or harmful, but it really does depend on who and what you are dealing with. Unfortunately, it is again one of those things where you personally have to judge whether it is going to be more harmful or helpful. There are many times when it will be obvious which it is, but I think that many times it will not be as clear. There will also be times where it may be very clear that it is harmful, yet you may still have to compromise despite how harmful it could be to you.
I like to think of compromise like a tool like a hammer or saw. A hammer is not evil, but it isn't good either. Someone can go help build a house with a hammer and then someone else can go and kill someone with that same hammer. Neither of those actions define whether the hammer was good or evil, instead they helped define the people who used the hammer. Compromise is the same. You as a person can choose to use it as the first definition states and try to just settle disagreements with it in a way that can better both parties. Or you can go by the second definition and compromise in a way that forces you and others to lower their own standards. But either way that you choose, it does not make compromise itself good or evil, just you. It's our job to make sure that we aren't using compromise to harm others, but instead that we use it in our lives in such a way that it is fair.