Loyalty and love. Are these not one in the same? When loyal you are loving and when loving you are loyal. Love remains because it’s loyal, and loyalty exists because of love. Who can separate these two?
Passion and ethos swell our hearts for a time. They seem for a few seasons in life to capture the very essence of the love our hearts long for so greatly. A passionate kiss, a thoughtful gift, words that whisper to the deep places within us – many have thought these have captured what love is.
But when the human heart finally encounters genuine loyalty, then it becomes acquainted with true love. The one who will never leave you, the one you can wrong again and again, the one who will never give up on you no matter how many times you fail – surely this is the one who has the greatest love for you.
When times are hard, the walls of your world crumbling all around you, and when you’re diseased and no thinking man would want to be near – the person who remains is clearly the one who loves you most. For how can a friend show you their love when times are good, when the fields are ripe and the sun is shining on your world and theirs? Many a man have felt like brothers when luck and prosperity were working on their sides. Victory is sweet, no doubt. But with loss comes the crystallization of your perspective on true love. Only when a great cost is required can true, loyal love be revealed.
Loyalty, this is the essence of love. For a good friend can weep with you in the waiting room as some great loss begins to settle on you like a heavy morning dew. They may tell you, and genuinely mean it, that they will be with you through all the trials ahead, until this dew of mourning dries with the rising sun.
But if that sun stays set for longer than they thought, most will move on and prove themselves only a good friend, not a best friend. The one who remains until the eclipse of the heart has fully passed, loyal through the bitter end, and then through the joy of the new day that has finally come – this is the friend that loves you most.
Loyalty is the greatest expression of love. Loyal to a cause, loyal to their country, loyal to those in need – loyalty is the greatest trait of great men and women. Loyalty is the thing that has proven to yield greatness, and the one who is great is always one of some deep loyalty to his object of love.
Loyalty never fails, keeps no record of wrong, it prevails in every situation. Loyalty is what the One who loves most gives most. Jesus Christ came for us while we were still choosing to be his enemies. He died so that we might be with him forever. He forgives no matter the debt.
Because he is love, and love is loyalty. His heart will never leave ours, even when we demand it of him in moments of loss and pain. He mourns when we mourn. By his wounds we are healed. Time and time again we gave him reason to start over, to make a new batch, better and less rebellious, but he remained faithful, he remained loyal.
And in response all he asks is the same. “Love me with all your heart, soul, and mind. Always put me first. Never forsake me or my ways. Acknowledge me before men, praise me with songs for the world to hear, even if they persecute you for it.”
To put it simply, our greatest Lover, therefore the one most loyal, asks for our love, our loyalty in return. “Never leave me,” he whispers out of love.
So when we think of loving Him or any cause or person, let us remember what true love is. It is not a shooting star lighting up the night gloriously for a time; it is the star most loyal to us, rising each day to meet us with warmth and life, always there shining on us no matter where we might go.
Love is not simply feelings, it is not controlled by randomness and emotion, it is not the loudest in the crowd of supporters; it is the one who is still there after the crowd has gone home. Love is the choice to remain, the choice to serve . . . it’s a choice.
Love is shown by the God who remains. Love is manifested most clearly when there is reason for abandonment, yet a glorious loyalty is given through grace instead.
Love is loyalty, and loyalty is love. Never try and part these two who have been paired for all eternity.