Thursday, November 11, 2010

Are you loyal?

I was asked to give my views on loyalty recently and thought I would share the response.

For me the big question is not whether I am loyal or not. The question is where does my loyalty stop? When can I say with good conscience that I can no longer support you? There is a dividing line somewhere that determines whether I totally support you through a crisis or will be forced to take a different position. Truth must be the arbiter.

My experience has been that we sometimes support our friends not on the basis of truth, but merely because they are friends. We feel caught in the middle and this can be paralyzing. The core value of friendship must not trump the core value of truth- a higher value.

Confronting a friend with truth is hazardous. Few people enjoy confrontation. We generally prefer to side with our friend and avoid risking the friendship. The problem is that when we do this truth can become a castoff. Telling my friend he is wrong, especially when he is already in conflict, will rarely produce a humble response. Instead, he will grow defensive, and a bond between us has been broken.

Jonathan is a great example of loyalty. He seems to have found the fulcrum in this debate. He was torn between supporting his own father King Saul, who had lost a bit of his mind in jealousy, and his best friend David. He managed to ably support and help his friend, while remaining true to the Biblical command to honor his father, no easy trick. His soul was joined to David, but he died on the battlefield with his father.

see I Samuel 13-20

Loyalty is not really loyalty until it is tested by crisis. Will we be blindly loyal to our friends, or risk living more prophetically and remain loyal to the truth?

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