When I look back on the people that have come in and out of my life … the enemy wants the losses to overshadow those who remain loyal friends.
We know when people pull away … when they are for us or not.
It’s obvious by their speech, actions, and heaven forbid … even in their Facebook activity (that’s a truth said in jest by the way).
It’s difficult when we realize the loyalty we give … is not always matched. And that’s okay because we know too well how human we all are.
But loyalty – that true kind that eptiomizes God in every sense of the word … has been on my mind for some time. Recently in a meeting with one of my pastors, he hit on the subject -reiterating how important loyalty is for Christians to practice.
Loyalty comes in many forms.
There is loyalty to God that says … no matter what … I’m going to be faithful to you Lord.
This determined faithfulness to His statutes and commands, compels us to do the right thing … even when we don’t feel like it.
There is a persistent, unwavering commitment to our spouse that hangs tough when life is less than perfect.
In fact, this kind of loyalty builds character. It’s a determination much like a tenacious hound dog that won’t let go of a bone.
There is a loyalty that a mother hen gives to her children.
A mother’s devotion will take on a herd of bullies even if it means being smashed like a bug in the dirt. NOBODY messes with my hairy, man, babies … and that goes for my daughter-in-law and grand-kids as well.
Then there is the sibling allegiance – like the kind my boys have.
They may aggravate and irritate each other but by golly … nobody’s gonna’ mess with any one of them … or there will be a hellacious problem.
There is steadfastness to an Alma Mater … our favorite learning institute … or die hard dedication to our favorite sports teams … and even to our preferred hobbies.
Then there is devoted constancy to the church … to God’s man in the pulpit … and to the body of Christ over all. This kind of loyalty guards against fickleness or offense.
Loyalty is vast in variety, but the one that’s wrestling in my heart of late … is the loyalty of a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
It’s a beautiful picture of walking through life’s valleys with those you value during the hard times and even the good times.
And as I’ve tried to wrap my flawed brain around what loyalty really is and means in regards to friendship … I keep thinking about what loyalty isn’t. Those descriptions are much easier to name and recall for obvious reasons, aren’t they?
You see, we all can find a reason to abandon someone … when it’s not convenient … when we’ve been hurt … when there’s no apology … or when we just want to sit on the fence and not get involved.
But the truth of that is… we can still be loyal in neutrality if we desire to. And perhaps we don’t realize when we’ve walked away from loyalty? Or, maybe we justify it by flawed reasons?
Then for some reason we think loyalty is about shifting the relational balance and standing in one’s corner. But that’s not true loyalty. It’s not about taking sides … it’s about faithful friendship, period.
But as I search the bible looking for examples of what it means to truly be loyal … I keep hearing the Spirit say … “It’s all about the love, Mel.”
“It’s all about the love.”
That’s a thought that makes me think … well if it’s all about the love … then the people that abandon us never really love us, is that right God?
Maybe … probably … maybe not.
So, if we don’t feel this love to the core … then either we don’t love like Jesus loves … or we allow the enemy to draw our intentions away … making us abandon God, and each other.
In fact, I believe the loyalty we give is equal to the love we have in our hearts. This truth is making me examine some wounded places deep in my soul.
We can always find a reason to walk away … whether it’s a righteous one can only be determined by the Holy Spirit … but the flawed words of man should never pull us away.
I’ve finally realized, if loyalty is all about love … then I need to adjust my love meter, I guess.
The truth is … there are times when it’s easy to be loyal, right?
Like when it’s not costly or when it’s righteous … when we feel it to our core. I guess that’s the love part the Holy Spirit uttered to me.
But the point is … we are all so stinking flawed … we blow it in this love and loyalty thing.
If there is anything God has taught me at all in the last 12 months … loyalty matters because it’s a reflection of God’s Covenant love.
If you’ve never studied God’s Covenant love … then you will never understand true love or loyalty.
So … I want to love better, period.
And loving better doesn’t mean that I dive in without boundaries … but it does mean that I love … without judgement … without hypocrisy … and without giving up the desire to want God’s best for those that abandon me.
Loving better means I don’t take sides and I sure as heck don’t wag my tongue.
Loving better means I forgive … and I move on to heal.
Loving better means I don’t look back.
And finally, loving better means that even if my love and loyalty is not reciprocated … I love anyway … without offense.
Loyalty may be a dying character quality to the world … but Christians can show the world a better way – if we truly love what’s important … and what’s most important is God … and each other.
Lord, May our love be evident to you and each other … by our loyalty to do what’s right.