We all live with many relationships: aside from our jobs we are embedded in families, friendships, neighborhoods, congregations, communities, businesses, nations. We owe each of those relationships a limited loyalty, a limited allegiance. But the limited loyalties we owe those relationships can become corrupt when they are not set within a larger loyalty to the highest good.
Think of our loyalties to our families. Most of the time, in a healthy family, our loyalty to family doesn’t come into conflict with our loyalty to the highest good. But think of the Mafia. In the Mafia, loyalty to your family is set above your loyalty to the law, to justice, or to anyone else’s family, and people are prepared to do horrible things in service to their families.
I think we need to choose the widest and broadest and highest and deepest of loyalties for our ultimate allegiance. Such a choice helps us to put everything else into perspective, to be able to decide in a wise and ethical and responsible way when our employer deserves our loyalty and when not, when our family deserves our allegiance and when not, when our nation deserves our allegiance and when not.