Loyalty Part 3
The one value that the Duncans did receive from their devout Scottish parents and then drilled into their children was FAMILY LOYALTY -you stick up for kin, right or wrong. I didn't quite understand this concept - if my brother was acting creepy towards one of my friends, it was my responsibility to make sure that his creepy behavior would be duly accounted for and my friend protected. The Duncans had a different idea. When I was about 11 (my brother would've been 8), Stevie, aged 9, decided it would be fun to sharpen a popsicle stick and repeatedly stab/poke my brother in the back with it. Evidently, my brother didn't mind much because although Stevie was older, my brother was much bigger and stronger than Stevie -Stevie would have come out the worse if my brother had decided to extract retribution for the stabbing.
That night however, my mother saw his scratched-up back after his bath time. After hearing the details of what had transpired earlier in the day, my parents marched my brother four doors down to confront the Duncans (not a good idea, remember the pitchers of Martinis they'd have consumed by then). This family closed ranks tighter than any Marine Corps unit in combat -it must've been my brother's fault, not Stevie's and so nothing resembling discipline happened to him. The following day, Evie told me that she and I were no longer permitted to play together because of what had happened. Neither one of us had been involved in the fray, yet further contact was prohibited - in fact now there was a "feud" between our families. Family loyalty demanded, in the Duncan's thinking, that their hostility be shared among all their members and directed towards all of ours. That mentality, I learned, had been what fueled the conflict between the infamous Hatfields and McCoys. The original offense had long been forgotten, replaced instead with a feud based on "blood", not on the righteousness of position.
And this is what loyalty is not -loyalty does not mean demonstrating unswerving allegiance to someone's misdeeds just because you have a relationship with them. In the story of David and Jonathan I mentioned earlier, Jonathan didn't take his father's "side" against David just because he (Jonathan) was the son of the man at war with his friend. Jonathan knew that Saul's behavior towards David was unjust and therefore he declined to take up his father's feud - so much so that Saul accused Jonathan of being a disloyal son.
Loyalty doesn't mean standing by silently when a friend (or family member) is doing something wrong. Loyalty to a company or country doesn't mean you must sacrifice your moral convictions to be a team player or a patriot. As a Christian, we have a higher duty, a more important loyalty to Whom allegiance is owed. In the next installment, I will discuss that loyalty.