Where does loyalty begin? With a promise? With a smile? With a kiss? Is loyalty so old-fashioned a concept that it doesn’t even exist between people anymore? Surely it doesn’t happen after swapping spit on a date. No. There are many men and women left waiting for a call. But what about deeper relationships? Surely not husbands and wives even anymore. No. Many leave and annihilate that safe-zone that loyalty breeds in order to become free agents.
Is there loyalty among friends? Always? Surely family. Blood is thicker than water they say.
Is loyalty misguided? Are we not to stand by each other and believe that our loved ones will triumph over their trials? Or do we throw them under the bus? Do we convict them of the sin they truly are guilty of and write them off? Why? To save ourselves from the complexity of loving someone through their mistakes? Because we must honor ourselves first and then others? Or just because we like to judge? Or because we think loving people despite their flaws is committing ourselves to weakness as a victim?
For me and the way I treat people: loyalty comes in tandem with honesty, kind of like the marines have this concept of no man left behind.
I discussed before on this blog that I believed love was a commitment and not a feeling. But this might clarify my point a little bit more and also broaden it to other relationships.
When you love someone you are loyal to them AND honest with them. You tell them when they are messed up in their thinking and then you stand by them. You don’t judge and condemn and leave. You don’t talk about them behind your back. You sit with them when they are in the trenches and help them when they are weak.
That is what we are here to do for each other. Not to judge or condemn but to come along side and lift up and help. Even if it means a longer day than you wanted or more “drama” then so be it.
There is a time and a place to call someone out on something. That is the honest part. But you don’t cut and run. You just don’t if you love them. Cause that is NOT love. That is acting in your own self-interest. Period.
And on the flip-side, love is also not letting them get away with treating you or anyone else badly. It doesn’t mean turning a blind eye.
I know people who are great at telling people like it is but not loving them by sticking by them and helping them through to the other side. I also know a lot of people who aren’t willing to risk being honest and just excuse and ignore major things. Neither is true love. You have to have both.
And let me be clear. I do not think it means “saving” anyone. You can call someone out but you can’t “fix” them. They either will or they won’t. That part is up to them. They choose to do right or wrong, easy or hard.
Love doesn’t leave because it’s not convenient and a pain. Love doesn’t leave when it hurts. But love does hold us accountable.
It is both strong and tender. It is not blind. It is wise. It is exemplified in the life of Jesus. He was nobody’s fool.
It will be harder. But I will be loyal to the people I love. I simply cannot be any other way. It is my duty, my calling. and in a very strange way, my joy.
It is not weakness. It takes more strength to turn a cheek and love your enemies than to walk away. It takes more humility to honor the truth and the part you played in it than to paint an ignoble picture of others.
I don’t love casually. I looked into the eyes of my ex tonight who seemed lost. He left me. He cheated on me. When it became clear that he was not willing to repent I took the necessary actions to divorce legally. I did not do that lightly. But I still love him. Because I am loyal and honest with him to this day.
Few people deserve this …I think the true number is 0. None of us deserve to be treated this way. I just choose to. Yes it means I will hurt more. I understand the cost. But it doesn’t change my conviction.