Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Loyalty Part 2

What is loyalty? Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines the word loyal as "1 : unswerving in allegiance: as a : faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government b : faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due c : faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product." So loyalty is the "quality or state of being loyal."

To whom or to what do I owe allegiance? How about faithfulness? Part of the difficulty is that far too often, we feel that we owe fidelity only to ourselves. It's all about me and my needs; it's what I want for my life, forget about you. Recently, I was reflecting on a relationship in which I felt betrayed by another person. I remember being angry because this "friend" was less concerned about my feelings or the consequence to our friendship, than they were about their own feelings - sticking by me in the situation had some negative personal costs and so it was easier for them to "save their own skin".

A more specific example comes from my teenybopper years. "Lisa" and I were friends, we'd hang out with each other, spending the night at each other's house, going places, doing things. When school began that fall, "Lisa" started hanging out with a new, more popular crowd that did not treat those outside the clique well. The way she "proved" that she was one of them, was to deny her friendship with me by behaving cruelly towards me. She traded our friendship for the approval and acceptance of others- she traded loyalties from me to them.

One of the most extraordinary examples of loyalty between two friends is found in the Biblical story of Jonathan and David. Despite the fact that Jonathan's father, King Saul wanted to kill David, Jonathan demonstrated amazing fidelity by standing by his friend. Jonathan aided David's escape from Saul's wrath, drawing his father's fierce anger. Their loyalty to one another survived even Jonathan's death as David fulfilled his oath to care for Jonathan's descendants when he brought Jonathan's handicapped son, Mephibosheth to live in his palace and eat at his table. This was despite the fact that as the grandson of the former king, Mephibosheth could've provided a challenge to David's claim on the throne.

In the next installment, I will discuss what I think loyalty is not...

2 Comments:

  • At Fri Apr 21, 05:00:00 PM PDT , Blogger Paul said...

    Ann,

    This is an interesting concept to think about. Especially when one considers that part of repentance is about change our loyalities: defecting from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

     
  • At Fri Apr 21, 10:36:00 PM PDT , Blogger Ann said...

    Paul,
    Thanks for the comments. I'm going to talk about the idea in a coming blog about what it means to show unswerving allegiance to our Master. I think one of the major issues facing Christians today is that we try to live with divided loyalties -one foot in the kingdom of darkness with the other in the Kingdom of Light. How foolish!

     

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