Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of Christian spirituality and sport.
Loyalty is attractive
“Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”-Proverbs 3:3 (NRSV)
Loyalty has limits
There can be little dispute that loyalty is a positive trait. It suggests faithfulness, fidelity and commitment. When we call someone loyal, it is usually stated as a compliment. But how far should we take loyalty?
Perhaps you might be thinking about the January 6, 2021 upheaval in US politics, asking yourself if persons loyal to former President Donald Trump were at the heart of the riots. If it is not politics, you may be thinking of committed but unthinking worshippers who sadly lost their lives in Jonestown, Guyana or Waco, Texas, in the name of loyalty to spiritual leaders who evidently misled them.
Again, the question begs, how far should loyalty go?
Within the last week, two NBA players from the Los Angeles Lakers responded in contrasting ways when their teammates were on the receiving end of unsportsmanlike conduct. First, Patrick Beverley saw a Phoenix Suns player, Deandre Ayton, standing over a Lakers teammate on the floor. Beverly saw this as taunting and provocative conduct and literally bulldozed Ayton sending him to the ground.
Beverly was banned for three games. The Lakers coach, Darvin Ham, though not condoning violence, was not upset because Beverley was looking out for one of his own. By contrast, when megastar Lebron James saw his fellow Laker, Russell Westbrook, receive contact that left his forehead bleeding, he also stepped in. However, it was to prevent Westbrook from retaliating and more significantly, to stop the bleeding. Lebron, too, was being loyal.
Did Patrick Beverley have the infamous Will Smith slap of Chris Rock in the back of his mind when he shoved Ayton to the ground? I do not know. I cannot read minds, neither am I attempting to judge Smith or Beverley. I’m simply wondering if subconsciously, we are eroding the boundary lines surrounding what is an appropriate way to show loyalty. When angry, we are not usually rational nor measured. How is your loyalty going today?
Be loyal but lawful
Be loyal, be faithful, yet be lawful. Don’t blur the lines.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.