Monday, May 24, 2010

Loyalty - What Does it Really Mean?

Loyalty is a word that is mentioned so casually in today's society. It is described in the dictionary as steadfast in allegiance, or being faithful to a person or ideal. We are shown by the media that it's okay to want more and to have choices. This has affected our society's idea of loyalty in many ways.

In the movies, the typical Italian family story tells of their strong ideas of loyalty. These movies usually end destructively because of the disloyal actions of its characters. My idea of loyalty involves two or more people that create relationships that are based on mutual respect and at times silent dedication. It seems that our society has forgotten the core meaning of this word. It seems that a more modern definition of loyalty means to be loyal to ones self. Everyone is so focused on all of the choices that they are given, that they have forgotten about staying loyal to one person or situation.

The idea of valuing our relationships and staying loyal seems to have taken a back seat to immediate gratification. It is only human to gravitate to what is new and exciting. We have lost the determination and patience that it takes to stay in a relationship that isn't working for us. Many people enter a marriage without even seriously thinking about the kind of dedication and loyalty that it takes to stay married.

We often look at our elders and wonder about how they stay married for so long. Many of their marriages last for over fifty years. What have they figured out that we haven't? If you question some of them, they'll tell you that there are no hidden secrets. When I asked some of my elderly friends about that, I noticed that the words that were repetitively mentioned were loyalty and dedication. It's a matter of taking the good times in with the bad. Isn't that part of what keeps us loyal to one another? If you decide that the bad times aren't worth dealing with, then you could be letting go of something that could be potentially meaningful.

Some people enter into relationships and wonder why things didn't work out the way they expected. They create a situation where they expect to get everything and give nothing in return. This seems like a waste of time for both parties involved.

Another example are the characters that are portrayed in various television shows that show how its okay to backstab each other as long as you stay loyal and true to yourself. The attention is usually focused on the person that is the most self centered. This has become popular in our media.

The pure emotion of loyalty can only come from strong feelings of respect for ones self and for others. When someone is lacking that quality they usually end up in short term relationships, careers, and marriages. This can lead to a very lonely and solitary lifestyle. Perhaps that's why so many people end up living their life alone in our society.

The absence of loyalty can also affect the depth of our relationships that we have with each other. Sometimes this happens within families. There are invisible bonds of loyalty that exists within most families. When those bonds are broken, silent resentment takes place. This can go on for years.

Loyalty is not something that can be discussed without a show of actions behind it. Overall, it seems that everyone still understands what it means to be loyal. That has not changed. It's the desire to unselfishly commit to each other that seems to be changing in our society. I have realized that it's an important part of every relationship. When we question whether someone is being loyal to us, maybe we should look at our own actions. Are we showing loyalty to those that we love? Sometimes it's a simple question like that that helps us to put everything back into perspective.

Michelle Joseph

Friday, April 16, 2010

Common Christian Lie - Part 1 - "God Will Not Put More on You Than You Can Bear"

There are may lies and misconceptions taught in church's all across the world everyday. In my last post, I taught about another commonly taught lie, and that was, "Grace Can Lead to a Careless Attitude Toward Sin." The truth is, there are possibly countless amounts of lies and deceptions that Satan has hoodwinked the Church at-large into believing. The one that I want to address today is, "God won't put more on you than what you can bare." This statement sounds so religious, so noble, so unquestionable. It seems to be the "be-all end-all" to so many discussions. I mean, a person could lose their entire immediate family in an accident, and people will discuss it immensely, but, at some point someone will offer the "sacred cow" of "Well, I'm really sorry that this has happened, but, you know, God won't put more on you than you can bare." But, regardless of how good that is sounds, it is emphatically not true!
In John 8:32, Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." You see, the way that you think has everything to do with the level of freedom, success, and overall victory that you experience in your life. What you think and therefore believe effects every area of your life. EVERY! Think about it: Your life is a sum total of all that you believe. It is the sum total of the overall way that you think. You live up to, and limit yourself according to, the limitless possibilities or potential-killing limitations that are in your mind.
As a Believer, it is utterly important that you get to know your Heavenly Father for yourself. You can't depend on your pastor to be your only source of knowledge about God. You need to get to know God for yourself. A lot of people say a lot of untrue things about the Lord. It's sad to say, but, many Christians would not even know the Lord if they saw Him walking down the street. The reason is because Jesus the Person would not line-up with the Jesus of their doctrine. One well-known preacher said it this way: "Most Christians don't let the Bible get in the way of what they believe." Again, that is very sad, but it is also very true. The bottom line is that is is up to us as the children of God to get to know our Lord. We have to get to know our loving Lord according to His Word, and NOT according to the doctrines and traditions that we have always naively believed. Thank God for what all of us have been taught in our lives by men and women of God, but their comes a time when we grow up and grow in our own personal, one-on-one relationship with Jesus. And once you do, you will realize that the God that you are getting to know, isn't as bad as as many Christians have accused Him of being.
Many have accused God, as the title says, to "not put more on you than you can bear." The truth is, He does not put anything on you to bear. If He did, then the cross was a failed attempt. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Jesus says so plainly here that He did not come to put burdens, troubles, hard-times, sickness, diseases, ect. upon us, but that He came to bare our burdens so that we wouldn't have to. He says that we can come to Him when we need to find rest for our souls! So, don't buy the lie anymore that says that God is the One who is giving you hard times. But get to know Him for yourself, so that you'll know the true nature and ways of your Father. Learn of Him so that you'll recognize and discard false doctrines and false accusations that are made against our loving Saviour. Remember, the way that you think about your Father will determine whether you run to Him to help you in your time of need, or whether you will not turn to Him b/c you will falsely think that He is the One giving you your problems. Learning of Him ONLY results in finding sweet, peaceful rest in your soul!