Two Kinds of Loyalty

There are two kinds of loyalty, one good and one bad. If you are fiercely loyal to your family, to your nation, to your church, or doctrinal traditions, and that loyalty results in you maintaining (emotionally, if not actually) that the object of your loyalty could never do wrong, or be in the wrong, then your loyalty has become idolatrous. We think of Stephen Decatur’s famous toast, “My country, right or wrong.”

But there are too many who think that the need to avoid idolatry means that they should cultivate a detachment from the bonds that surround us on every side. In the name of avoiding idolatry, they become ingrates. They think that any degree of loyalty means that we have given way to idolatry. Of course, because God has created us in such a way that loyalty is inescapable, such a person is fiercely (and idolatrously) loyal to his own opinions. He has forgotten that Decatur’s full toast was, “My country, may she always be in the right, but my country, right or wrong.” A patriotism blind to faults is not really patriotism at all.

When God has placed you in a position where your family, or your denominational tradition, your tribe, your nation, has fallen into sin, this means that loyalty sets about to correct the sin with a sense of identification and affection.

If the only affection you feel is to your own opinions, then that does not mean that you have avoided idolatry; it means that you are just a fusser and that, in contrast with the folks you so look down on, your idol is much smaller than theirs.

10
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
3 Comment threads
7 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Wesley SimsRick DavisJonathanGinny YeagerDavid Anderson Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
insanitybytes22
Member

“In the name of avoiding idolatry, they become ingrates.”

This is quite good. There are also those who wish to avoid all appearances of favoritism, so they think they must be “fair,” to everyone, as if praising your own country, family, spouse, is somehow unfair to all the others who you are not praising.

Really awful when this mindset makes its way into faith, because then people start saying we must not imply that following Jesus Christ is superior to anyone else’s choice, and shortly thereafter, we just remove His name from everything so as not to cause offense.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I find this a bit tricky. It’s human nature for me to think that my own particular special snowflake is the prettiest and smartest one in the blizzard. But it’s not okay for me to think that everyone else should agree with me, and it’s not okay for me to automatically take her side in any dispute. Not unless I have checked out the facts, and she really is in the right. In other words, I can’t let my automatic partiality towards my daughter cause me to be unfair to anyone else’s child. I think that Canada is a great… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Could you be confusing loyalty with blind favoritism? This lack of distinction seems to be the point of Doug’s post.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I have to think about that. I think that loyalty means that I love my dear ones even when they are wrong, and it should mean that I am not in a hurry to think the worst about them. If somebody told me my daughter had shoplifted, I would believe he or she was mistaken and I would probably have to watch the security tape before I thought she was guilty. But that is not just because I love her, but also because I know that dishonesty like that is not one of her flaws. On the other hand, if… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Yes. It sounds like, in practice, you are copacetic with the gist of DW’s post.

David Anderson
Guest

In the spirit of the post, I’d like to urge Pastor Wilson to listen to the audio of Greg Gianforte and the Guardian journalist, and reconsider his previous post, which he wrote without (I think) having heard it. Having listened to the audio, I could only conclude that Pastor Wilson’s response was woefully inadequate when weighed against what actually happened, and made everybody look bad by implication. I thought it dishonoured Pastor Wilson’s office as an elder and minister of Christ, by applying a standard which he’d not apply if Greg Gianforte wasn’t someone he had a personal relationship with.… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Amen.

Didn’t C.S. Lewis say something rather good along these lines?

wtrsims
Member

Not sure about Lewis, but Chesterton did — “My mother, drunk or sober”

Rick Davis
Guest
Rick Davis

Actually, the Chesterton quote is from his essay, “Defense of Patriotism,” and he is not saying it approvingly. The actual quote is:
“‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of
saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’”

wtrsims
Member

You’re correct. I just meant that Chesterton wrote about a similar subject and used the same quote.