True Love Is Loyal
HAVE you ever found yourself in deep trouble or suffering adversity of some kind or another? And then have you had the comfort of some friend’s coming to your aid, standing by you and giving you the much needed moral or material support?
If such has been your experience you have much for which to be thankful. And what is more, you have experienced firsthand that true love is loyal. As the inspired Word of God so fittingly puts it: “There exists a friend sticking closer than a brother.” Yes, “a true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Prov. 18:24; 17:17.
In the Bible is found the beautiful record of such a friendship, namely, that of David and Jonathan, who lived some three thousand years ago. Well has the account of this friendship been termed by archaeologist Albright “a jewel of the purest water.” The Scriptures explain that “Jonathan’s very soul became bound up with the soul of David, and Jonathan began to love him as his own soul.” (1 Sam. 18:1) No doubt this was because of keen appreciation for David’s fine qualities.
What a true and faithful companion Jonathan proved himself to be—loving all the time! He even took the side of David against his own father Saul, who was being consumed by a burning, murderous hatred for young David. When Saul gave expression to his murderous intentions against David, Jonathan pleaded in behalf of David: “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?”—1 Sam. 20:32.
Yes, although Jonathan knew that his father was right in saying that David would replace him as the next king of Israel, Jonathan did not envy David. He was loyal, even though his taking the side of David nearly cost Jonathan his own life, because his father Saul hurled his spear at Jonathan for his speaking well of David. Without a doubt Jonathan’s loyalty was a source of comfort and strength to David.—1 Sam. 20:24-34.
Of course, if we but reflect for a moment we will see that we must apply this principle of loyal love first of all toward our Creator, the God of the Bible. Certainly we are under obligation to love him and therefore to be loyal to him. True Christians give proof of their love for him by coming to his defense when he is maligned. That he is widely maligned was strikingly noted by an America in public affairs, Senator Frank Carlson. Commenting on the trend of our day to “trust nobody—believe nobody—have faith in nothing,” he went on to say: “You cannot pick up a paper, a magazine, or a book that is not in and of itself critical of something or somebody, even including among its victims almighty God Himself. In truth, the criticisms of God rank well above almost all other criticisms of the hour. More people—in more ways and more occasions—cast doubt, hurl darts, and throw charges against God such as this country has never seen in all of its history.”—U.S. News & World Report, July 1, 1968.
True Christians can and will show that God truly does exist, that he is the Supreme Being, the One deserving of our love and worship. They gladly make known why he has permitted wickedness until now and that soon he will put an end to it.—Ps. 83:18.
As for human creatures, time and again you may have the opportunity to stand up for a friend if he is ill spoken of. For example, the receptionist at the headquarters of the Watchtower Society once was approached by a stranger who began to hurl intemperate charges against a Christian Witness. The receptionist, himself a Christian Witness, interrupted the speaker, saying: “I do not intend to listen to such talk. If you have a complaint against anyone, go to him directly, as commanded by Jesus Christ at Matthew 18:15-17.” That was showing both loyalty and wisdom.
Yes, be slow to believe serious charges made against a friend or fellow believer. Before you do, find out if the accuser has all the facts; it may be a case of misunderstanding and you might be able to remedy matters by explaining. But if the facts do bear out a serious accusation, then it would be mistaken loyalty to take the side of a liar, thief or apostate as is the common practice. Loyalty to God and to principle must come ahead of human friendships. Besides, should these not be based on principle?
However, it could be that your friend actually made a mistake, came short in a certain respect, yielded to an inherited weakness, or acted unwisely because of immaturity. Here again, unless the matter is of truly serious consequence, you can show loyal love by coming to his defense. You can make allowances, minimize the grievance and point out to the aggrieved one or the gossiper the fact that we all are imperfect and that we are to “speak injuriously of no one.” Especially should your loyalty preclude your telling others about such shortcomings. Rather, remember that, as the wise kingly writer of Proverbs expressed it, “Love covers over even all transgressions.”—Titus 3:2; Prov. 10:12.
How heartwarming it is when we hear of a friend’s coming to our defense! Truly such is a case where “love builds up”! (1 Cor. 8:1) It builds up not only the one being defended but also the one coming to our defense by reason of the courage and loyalty displayed. Surely here also it is true that “the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.”—Prov. 11:25.
Opportunities to show that true love is loyal continually present themselves if one is alert. Thus the dedicated Christian will ever find opportunities to come to the defense of his God when associating with strangers in places of business or employment. Also, within one’s family circle, by reason of close association, there are ever so many opportunities for its members to come to the defense of one another.
Would you have others show you loyalty in time of need? Then remember, “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them.”—Luke 6:31.