Some years ago, I had a very close relationship with a woman from my church community at the time. I believed us to be the type of friends who “had each other’s back” and who would remain loyal to each other even through conflict and turmoil. What I discovered is that she was only loyal to me when it worked to her advantage.
Though this experience hurt a great deal, there was a great lesson here for me and I thank God for it. The Lord showed me that loyalty is a character trait. It’s a trait that must be developed and while we can’t force someone to be loyal to us, we can certainly set the example. If we display loyalty in our lives, we will be an example to our friends and family.
Many of the women I mentor and counsel have much to say on the subject of loyalty. They might not use the specific word, but many relationship issues come down to one thing, loyalty. I believe we are seeing a shift in our culture and a decrease in the importance of being loyal.
So, what does it mean to be loyal? Does it mean sticking by a friend or family member no matter what that person does to you? Does it mean being loyal to a friend only when it fits our needs and is convenient to us? Or does it mean picking and choosing times of loyalty depending on the situation?
As Christ following women, we must explore what it means to be loyal to God in order to understand what it means to be loyal to our family, our friends, our spiritual leaders or our boss.
Being loyal to God......
We must never forget what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our loyalty to Him is reinforced every time we consider that He died for our sins. God is loyal to us as we read in Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
God’s loyalty to us inspires our loyalty to Him.
For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10
Being loyal to family.....
Have you heard the saying “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family?” That expression is meant to say we are “stuck” with the family that God has placed us in. It’s true that, typically, we do not choose our family members and we must accept them for who they are.
Our treatment of our family should be rooted in Christ. Loyalty in a family is truly accepting our family members for who God made them to be, and remaining loyal to them. What that means is we encourage, support and pray for them. We don’t gossip about them, lie about them or set out to hurt them in anyway. Proverbs 11:29 says "Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise."
A wonderful example of family loyalty is found in Ruth, Chapter 1. Ruth was loyal to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth 1:16-17 tells us But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
Being loyal to friends…..
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20
This scripture is very specific in its instruction. If we profess to love God, we must love others.
I think it is probably safe to say that we have all experienced a breaking of a friendship in some form. Perhaps trust was broken, gossip was spoken or even slander. Betrayal comes in many forms and is all too common.
So what does a friendship based on trust and loyalty look like? Before we can be loyal in a friendship, we must have trust. Trust is built over time and loyalty flows naturally from a trust relationship. A friendship is not always easy. And in fact, in Proverbs we learn that we are to sharpen one another. That might not always be comfortable, but if we trust and are loyal to one another, we make each other better!
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17
God gauges our heart by how we treat His children. Maintaining a trusting and loyal relationship with our family, friends, spiritual leaders, and bosses honors Him.
So what gets in the way of displaying loyalty? Many times it is unforgiveness and bitterness. If we harbor unforgiveness toward a person for any length of time, a root of bitterness can begin to form. From that root of bitterness comes disloyalty.
I recently counseled a woman whose sister had betrayed her in a big way and a huge argument had ensued. Prior to this incident, the two women had been extremely loyal to one another. Even though they pretended that everything was fine between them, they had not forgiven. These two sisters became very disloyal to one another until they finally prayed together.n They asked God to forgive them and help them forgive each other. Loyalty between the two was immediately restored!
Our children must be taught loyalty to God, family and friends. Since “more is taught than caught”, setting an example for our children is the most effective teaching tool. Teach them to remain loyal to their siblings over siding with friends. Character is formed in the home, therefore we must help our children develop or strengthen this character trait through family interactions.
Here are a few questions to ponder:
- Am I showing loyalty to God, family and friends in my daily life?
- Are there areas that need improvement?
- Am I setting a good example to my children in this area?