Posted on 27 June 2013 by LeslieM

Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and government contractor, is at the center of a political firestorm that has much of America talking about loyalty.

The story line is that Snowden allegedly leaked classified information concerning our National Security Agency’s authorized gathering of the electronic communications of millions of Americans.

Some people say Snowden, who fled the country, is a traitor for giving away secrets that threaten national security. Others believe he is a patriot whistleblower for revealing the extent of Big Brother’s overreach to gather the private communications of U.S. Citizens.

Regardless how you feel about Snowden, the controversy illustrates the importance and the challenge we sometimes face in deciding loyalty.

Loyalty decisions are more a matter of conscience than law, more a matter of internal debate than national debate, more a matter of private personal integrity than national political scandal.

If the question is “Should I be loyal to God, to my country, to my spouse, to my employer, to my friends,” the answer should be easy. “Yes!” If the question is “Should I be loyal to a gang, to an immoral creed to which I foolishly agreed, or to self interest at the expense of community good,” then the answer is easy once again — “No.”

This will sound too wishywashy to fit comfortably even in my world view, but questions of loyalty are often not so easy to answer unless they are rooted and grounded in faith and even then we may be left wondering …

Loyalty has always been a magnetic field made up of many magnets. We have many allegiances. Our beliefs and our sentiments are not always on the same page. God knows how fickle we can be and how often we make mistakes.

Is it controversial to say “We are a nation and a people of divided loyalties?” I think not.

Is it right to say “We require God’s help deciding our loyalties?” I think so.

After King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, after he made mistake after mistake trying to conceal what he had done, David was confronted by Nathan the prophet.

And David prayed, “Have mercy on me God because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” (Psalm 51)

David’s predicament must surely have seemed a national political scandal, but it was ultimately a matter of private personal integrity, albeit in his case, one with dramatic and long-lasting public implications.

David was a great leader who proved himself human.

The Apostle Paul may have been thinking about David when, centuries later, Paul counseled young Timothy. “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoythecompanionshipofthose who call on the Lord with clean hearts.” (2 Timothy)

If you happen to be among the masses thinking about loyalty these days, then answer the question as it pertains not to Edward Snowden but to you. “To what or to whom will you be loyal?”

Most of us do not work for the CIA or the NSA. We do not have access to national security secrets, but we do make loyalty decisions every day and, in so doing, we are well-advised to remember the words of Jesus. “No one can serve two masters.”

(Luke 16)

Make God your moral compass. Pray for a clean heart and a loyal spirit…

Join us Saturday @ Six or Sunday morning at 8:30 or 11 a.m.

Reverend Andrews is Minister at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach) located five blocks south of Hillsboro on AIA. See more @ or on Facebook.

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