Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “loyalty”

The Right Stuff

This is about the importance of loyalty to family and friends. A lack of it is devastating to all relationships affected.

Shootin' the Breeze

I have been told that sin is anything that separates us from God.  An extension of that might be that evil is what harms relationships not only with God, but among humankind. 

 The Ten Commandments are all about relationships.  Many are about what not to do to other people – kill, steal, bear false witness, commit adultery, and covet.  Why not?  Such actions hurt others.  One could say those commandments are about avoiding evil.

 Jesus boiled them down to the two greatest commandments.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  That is about our relationship with God.  The second is about other people.  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  On these two “rest all the law and the prophets.” 

 Similarly, the Golden Rule is about human relations.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  So is that…

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Loyalty To Your Pards

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An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The cowboy was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse. Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.

 After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter “H” that glowed in the sunlight.

 Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.

 He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered. 

“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”

 As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, “Can I bring my partners, too?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”

The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.

 After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.  “Excuse me,” he called to the man, “Do you have any water?”

“Sure, there’s a pump right over there. Help yourself.”

“How about my friends here?” the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.

“Of course! They look thirsty, too,” said the man.

 The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog.  When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. “What do you call this place?” the traveler asked.

“This is Heaven,” he answered.

“That’s confusing,” the traveler said, “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates? That’s hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you angry when they use your name like that?”

“Not at all. Actually, we’re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.”

scamp crossing bridge

 Author Unknown

I did not write this, but I like it and wanted to pass it on.  I do take credit for the authentic illustrations.


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.

Riding for the Brand

In the Old West, the phrase “riding for the brand” referred to loyalty to the ranch where a cowboy was employed.   Their identity was tied to the name of the ranch, which often described the brand that marked their livestock, such as the “Lazy T.”  When trouble came, it was good to know someone “had your back,” literally, a reference to gun fighting.  The boys of the Lazy T would not put up with rustlers and banded together to protect the herd and each other.  That is what riding for the brand meant.

During these modern times, loyalty is not out of style.  We should be loyal to family, friends, employer, team, school, and country.

My wife and I watched the movie “42” about Jackie Robinson becoming the first Negro player in Major League Baseball.   His own teammates were won over from loyalty to race to loyalty to him as a member of the team (who was being abused due his race).

It was heart-warming to see the change, especially when a white player told off the opposing white manager who was verbally taunting Jackie for being black.  The teammate walked over to the other dugout and threatened that racist manager.  He had Jackie’s back.  Jackie and he were on the same team, riding for the Brooklyn Dodger brand.

We all treasure the feeling that someone has our back.  Then we don’t feel alone, but part of a group that values us and protects us.

That is a good feeling.

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