The word and concept of loyalty covers a wide range of essentials to a successful living. These essentials include faithfulness, obedience, patriotism, and commitment. We are therefore introducing a series that will explore, a little bit, the concept of loyalty in light of its multifaceted meanings and understandings as a way of encouraging loyalty of the right kind. The premise is that loyalty is a powerful means of correcting some of the many societal and personal ills and for building our lives and character on a solid foundation. What then is loyalty and how can our understanding and practicing of what it entails improve our lives? Why is there so much disloyalty in our society? How can we cultivate the habit of loyalty to the right causes? Let us examine below.
This introductory article will zero in on providing a clear understanding of what loyalty is and entails. The second article will focus on what loyalty is not (disloyalty) and how one can replace it with loyalty. In the third article particular attention will be paid to how one can cultivate and maintain the good habit of loyalty. The thrust of the fourth article will be on much harm loyalty to the wrong persons and causes can cause the society the individual. And the fifth and final article will consider the benefits of loyalty.
To be loyal means to be faithful to a person, institution, nation or a cause for as long as it takes and is required. It is the act of giving oneself totally in terms of time, energy, obedience, resources, and best thoughts to a cause or person. Loyalty is the giving of total support to a person or a cause. It is the act of keeping a promise come what may. It means being committed to the core. Loyalty means loving, defending, and promoting what one believes in (a person or a cause). To be loyal is to be true to a person or cause at all times and under all circumstances.
Loyalty is a quality that is very much appreciated and sought after. Institutions and individuals seek royal friends and followers. Most religions require and even demand loyalty from their followers. Businesses and companies desperately seek loyal employees and are willing to pay huge benefits to get and keep them. Religious and learning institutions thrive on loyal and dedicated workers and overseers.
Even the Devil, his agents and dictators demand and survive on loyalty. They need a core of dedicated and loyal followers to succeed and hold onto power. Criminals and treacherous people need loyal support to succeed in achieving their selfish goals and in cheating and hurting other people. The corrupt and unfeeling people need loyal collaborators to succeed in their unethical plans and activities. In short, loyalty is a key requirement for success in most endeavors of life, good or bad, just and unjust, righteous and unrighteous. Loyalty of some kind is therefore needed for achieving goals in life.
The above definitions of loyalty and its potentials for achieving various goals and purposes in life imply that loyalty can be given to the wrong person or cause, and to persons and causes that advance the greater good of the whole of society. For Christians ultimate and primary loyalty is to be given to God the Almighty at all times, in all places and by all generations. It is from God that all other kinds and forms of loyalty find meaning and their right place.
Christians believe and the Bible teaches that God’s will is best for all individuals, society and the world. His will is for the total wellbeing, peace and true happiness of all of his creatures. He is concerned and requires fairness, justice, obedience to what promotes the common good and peace of all.
The problem with mankind is the lack of loyalty to this Ground Being of all beings and the Source of all goodness. Most believers are not loyal to what they profess. A lot of people fail or do by far less than their potentials permit due to lack of loyalty in pursuing what they believe. This may be done out of ignorance or out of willful laziness. Many others work hard, are fully loyal but to the wrong causes and persons. They end up hurting others and ultimately themselves. The answer is loyalty to God, the causes of justice, truthfulness, seeking the peace and welfare of others, and refusing evil in its myriad forms.