True Test of Loyalty
By Brenda Black
One thing that ends a friendship the quickest in my book is disloyalty. My greatest hurdle to forgiveness is getting past broken trust. I pray about it and grapple with it and try to move past it. For me, it takes time and God's poignant conviction as the two ingredients that deliver freedom from the wound inflicted by a friend who stabbed me in the back or foolishly passed along what had been discretely shared with them in confidence. Don't lie to me and don't gossip about me behind my back. I can get along with about any personality, but it takes everything in my power and the Lord's supernatural strength to get me past broken trust.
I found a kindred spirit in the man of King David. I discovered his staunch adherence to forthright loyalty in 1 Chronicles 12. David has been banished from the presence of Saul and is holed up in a cave at Ziklag. He has only a small army of thirty chiefs, his “Mighty Men.” Make no mistake - his small troop of warriors was fit to serve.
“They were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were kinsmen of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin.” (1 Chr. 12:2)
These men had proven their faithfulness time and again. They were strong supporters of David's right to the throne and three of them accomplished tremendous feats of selfless bravery in order to protect or accommodate their king.
These men were more than mighty, they were trustworthy. Safety in friendship is essential and familiarity breeds confidence, especially when life depends upon it. So when a new group of Gadite defects and more Benjamites search out David in his desert stronghold, he has every reason to question their intention in verses 8-17. “They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains...
“These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand. It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west.
“Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold. David went out to meet them and said to them, 'If you have come to me in peace, to help me, I am ready to have you untie with me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our fathers see it and judge you.'”
Stop right there. David has a mere 30 men and he's faced with commanders and fierce fighters and he hesitates to take them into his confidence. Get real! In David's desperate circumstance, how could he pass up such offers? Because taking a deceiver into his camp was more deadly than fighting with a faithful remnant.
Not until they decried fierce loyalty were they accepted. “We are yours, O David! We are with you, O son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you!” (vs. 18b)
That's what David was waiting to hear. Loyalty to both himself and to the God he served. Trustworthy friends are not in the relationship for only what they can get out of it. They are in the friendship to insure that the other achieves the best as well. Looking out for the interest of others should be a prerequisite for true friendships. More importantly, a common trust in the Lord God insures that the relationship is built on TRUTH!
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:7)
As for me, I often need reminding that love also “keeps no record of wrongs.”
It takes trust to build trust. It takes love to forgive when trusts are broken. It takes God to offer a Son sacrifice who would lay down His life. And it takes God to build an army that would lay down their lives for one another. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)