Throughout history, in every culture, loyalty is a quality that is admired.
Loyalty to one’s country is called patriotism. Disloyalty is called treason and carries the death penalty.
There are people who are loyal to their religious faith, some enduring torture or even death. We call them martyrs. Judas, on the other hand, is infamous for betraying Jesus Christ. (Peter denied Him three times, then repented and turned out to be loyal.)
Married people vow to be faithful to their spouses for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as they both shall live. Unfaithfulness is called adultery. It is not admired.
Even in the Mafia, Hell’s Angels, and street gangs, loyalty, although misplaced, is expected and valued. Disloyalty has grave consequences.
In childhood friendships, as with friendships throughout life, it hurts when someone thought to be a friend talks bad behind one’s back. That is disloyal. On the other hand, Westerns give us the phrase, “I’ve got your back.” That means protection. In contrast, shooting someone in the back is not admired. That is cowardly and low.
There are loyal fans for sports teams. There is school spirit. There is loyalty to teammates. Throwing a game or fight spoils what should be competitive fair play. Cheating ruins sportsmanship.
Loyalty to the tribe came before the existence of nation-states. Loyalty to family existed before that even.
There are people in prison who are visited by family members. The family might be ashamed of the crimes, but do not stop loving their parents, siblings, children, etc. whom they support through the tough period of imprisonment. I suppose that is unconditional love.
We see close families in many TV shows and holiday specials. Think Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, It’s a Wonderful Life, Father Knows Best, and Leave it to Beaver.
When a person’s family is not like that, but instead is disloyal, it is extra hard to take. One thinks, “What is wrong with me that my family does not love me enough to be loyal to me?”
Children should be protected by parents and family. When they are abused by those who should protect them, we are appalled. That goes against nature. That is taboo. Everywhere. That is a type of disloyalty to those innocents to whom we owe a duty to protect.
Parents and grandparents should be treated with respect. There is a commandment about that – Honor your father and mother.
When old folks in nursing homes are never or seldom visited by family, it is very sad. The family is being disloyal.
Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It is tough to do, but it is important. Nothing is more important except loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. If you do that, how can you not love your family, tribe, school, team, country?
Prayer might not change the person you are praying for, but it changes you so that you start to see these imperfect people as God does.