The focus this fourth article of the series centered on the necessary requirement of loyalty is on the danger or harm that can accrue from being loyal to the wrong persons and causes. The premise of this article is that being committed to the wrong persons and causes is worse than being not committed or loyal to anyone or cause at all. How is this so? Let us explore below. The third article on the great habit of having and maintaining the right and true kind of loyalty made the following points:
How then may one form and keep the good habit of loyalty to the right causes and persons? Loyalty is both a virtue and a principle. A virtue must be consciously owed, practiced as often as possible and made one’s second nature. One must believe passionately that loyalty is essential for a successful living and for pleasing God and all those to whom one is accountable. All just causes require loyal promoters.
Just as one can resolve to be sincere under all circumstances, as far as humanly possible, one can also to be loyal to God Almighty and those just and noble causes and persons who promote justice and believe and work for the common good of the neighbor and all of society. Of course, a resolution is only a resolution on paper or in the mind until it is demonstrated through living it out. The way one can convince oneself and others is by living the virtue of loyalty.
The saying is true that charity (the old word for love) begins at home. Loyalty has to begin with God the Creator and Source of all that one is and has. Someone has rightly observed that if one is unfaithful (dishonest) to God in prayer, giving (tithes and dues) and in worship, then one is likely to be disloyal to one’s partner, children, job and others. One way to demonstrate that one is loyal to God is to be loyal to the persons and causes that one is closest to and interact with most frequently. When such a habit is formed then it is a lot easier to extend it to those far off. Loyalty to just causes and persons is a necessity for living a healthy and fulfilled life and all sober minded persons must endeavor to form it and live it daily.
But loyalty to the wrong things, institutions and persons is dangerous. Our immediate and past history has taught, us Liberians, enough lessons on the destructive power of blind loyalty. Loyalty to charismatic leaders regardless of their past ugly records and the trends of their current actions contributed, significantly, to the prolonging of the civil war and its disastrous consequences. People obeyed their factional leaders without question. Obedience without understanding and question is a dangerous path even in the realm of religion. The likes of Al Shaba, Boko Haram and the Islamic state are evidence of the threat of blind loyalty and uninformed following.
One of the causes of the lack of progress in our society today is that there is quite a number of persons who are intelligent and yet committed to things and persons that are harmful or that do not contribute to the common good. Citizens are committed to advancing their own selfish agenda at the expense of the common good. They are loyal but only to their small inner circles and thus harm the long term interests of the whole country and thereby threaten the survival and progress of all of society.
Some people in society have a passion for cheating and doing things they full well know to be wrong but because those things serve their narrow interests they carry them on anyway. There are clergy persons, security personnel, elected officials of government, journalists, lawyers, judges, accountants, auditors, and others who know better and should be leading by good example but instead choose to tread the path of loyalty to personal interests as opposed to the will of God and interests of the whole of society.
There are smart people in IT, creative in devising means, new and better ways of doing things but choose to use their gifts of ability to rob society rather than contribute positively to its common good. There are intelligent and committed people who are loyal to bad and unproductive habits such as thievery, bad social lifestyle, and acts of oppression to others. Who then can doubt that one of our needs is for prayerfully choosing the things, causes and persons to give our well informed loyalty to? Loyalty by itself is not good enough; it must be to the right things, causes and persons.