Loyalty doesn’t mean accepting blame for another, that is, when they’re another. When we’re on a team and we are one, their mistake isn’t another’s, it’s ours and we cover for them. This is true for marriage, parenting, and business.
How many people do you know who you could describe as a loyal person? Most of the people that you know? A handful of people? Hardly anyone? No one? Are you a loyal person? Most of us would say we are, I would suspect. And the question is, are we truly? The best way to know is if we can test ourselves.
Have you ever had to cover for a mistake that your spouse made or did you put the blame on them even when they were to blame? I hate to break the news to you but that would mean that you’re not very loyal. Let me give you an example. If my spouse loses her keys and, therefore, we are unable to attend an event we were supposed to go to and we get a call on the next day from our friend saying, hey, where were you, what happened? When I say my spouse lost the keys, I am not being loyal. I may be honest, but it’s misplaced honesty and it’s disloyal. If I were to say, we misplaced the keys or I didn’t have the keys and we just found them this morning, that would be very loyal. Why? Because you’re covering for your spouse.
If someone walks into the house and they smell a burnt smell and they say, wow, did you burn something? And your spouse just burnt something which they were trying to cook and you make a comment such as, yeah, you know, that’s what happens when I forget to turn off the burner or something like that, that is unbelievable loyalty. When I say, yeah, my spouse burnt something, that is disloyal, that’s not covering for them. Loyal doesn’t mean accepting blame for others. However, when your spouse is not another but a part of you, then you actually cover for them as you would cover for yourself.
When you join a team, any team, which can be a team of marriage or any other type of team, you’re no longer an individual and loyalty to the team means that you see yourself as a part of, not apart from. When we see ourselves as apart from and your mistake is not my mistake and, therefore, I don’t cover for you, there’s no loyalty. But when we see ourselves as a single unit and you made a mistake, that is also my mistake because we are one.
A very good example of this would be when you are the member of a board, any type of a board that you’re a member of, and the board takes a vote for whatever it may be and they vote eight to three to a certain ruling. And someone in the community who is very upset by this decision comes over to you as a board member and says, I can’t believe that you voted this way and what’s wrong with you and it’s such a terrible decision. What do we say back to that person? Do we say, well, you know, I mean, look, everything goes under a vote and I didn’t vote for that but what can you do? We are disloyal. When we realize that we as a board, when we come up with a decision because we have agreed that we will vote and that will be the voice of the board and, therefore, I say, yes, that’s what we decided, then I am being very loyal.
So you may say, well, what should I do if I’m on a board and the board makes crazy decisions? Well, you should be loyal to that board and if you don’t like the decisions that they’re making, get off the board. But as long as you’re on that board, then you have an unspoken agreement to be loyal to them and that is the proper thing to do.
Now, we see that loyalty is not such a simple matter, it’s actually a demonstration of enormous character. This is true with boards ‑‑ when we’re on a board, this is true for a marriage, it’s true in our relationship with our kids. When we cover for our children, when we are loyal to our children, we don’t need to expose the faults of our children to other people. We are a family unit and, yeah, someone made a mess over here. Yeah, you know, with a big family sometimes our house looks like a mess. Even though it was your child who made that big mess, despite the fact that you told them not to bring their things in that room because guests were coming over, you’ll deal with that behind closed doors later. But right now you cover for your child. You know what that does? That demonstrates enormous character for your child and it teaches your child through example how to be a loyal person, how to grow up with this unbelievable character. And, again, you can deal with all of the issues later between yourselves. But in front of another, we are loyal to each other.
Now, there’s a simple reason why we’re not loyal and that’s because we are trying to stay in favor with others. And when we try and stay in favor with others, we are doing it at the expense of our team, of our spouse, of our children, of fellow board members or whatever it may be. And that is simply being more dedicated to others than we are to our team, which is why disloyalty is such a deep and hurtful violation to a relationship.
There is nothing more powerful than when a team member takes the heat for another’s action and remains loyal. That type of behavior demonstrates big time trust, enormous trust. Trust means relying on, being able to rely on another. When you trust someone else, you’re relying on them. Being trustworthy is having others be able to rely on you. That makes you trustworthy, when you’re loyal, you’re enormously trustworthy. And this is a foundation for a solid relationship. And only someone who is not defensive and self‑conscience is able to be trustworthy. When we are defensive and self‑conscience, then we are immediately trying to defend ourselves all the time and the moment someone attacks us for a decision the board made, we go into a self‑conscience mode and we want to defend ourselves and make ourselves look good. And that comes at a heavy price.
So do you want to build very solid relationships? Be loyal to an extreme. Why? Because people will know they can feel safe around you and there is nothing we want more from people who we have relationships with than the feeling of safety. And when you can provide safety for other people, you will actually find so many people who will begin being loyal to you.
Did you know that God teaches us how to be trustworthy? Every single morning when we wake up in the morning, the first words that we say are, I am thankful to you, God, the everlasting, the eternal God, that you returned my soul to me, you renewed me with life, I have woken up. Raba Emunatecha, two Hebrew words that mean great is your faithfulness, God. God, your faith in me is so unbelievable, you’ve just given me another day, you just demonstrated trust in me. That is unbelievable. I know that God is trustworthy, that’s why I don’t go to sleep every night worrying about whether I’m going to wake up because God is so trustworthy.
Wouldn’t you appreciate a truly loyal spouse or a truly loyal employee or employer? Or a truly loyal friend? Do you know how you find a truly loyal spouse and a truly loyal employee? You don’t need to get a new one, you just need to be trustworthy for them. Demonstrate loyalty, cover for them with every opportunity that you have and you will teach them how to be trustworthy for you and you will have the relationships that everyone in the world is seeking.