Loyalty Part 2
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...