Does every act of disloyalty make a person disloyal?
In the ministry of Jesus, it was not only Judas who betrayed Christ. Peter also betrayed Christ. He swore and cursed that he did not know Jesus. Was this not a betrayal? If you got into trouble and needed help, would you not be disappointed if your friend said he did not know you? Would you not feel that he had betrayed you in your time of trouble? You certainly would! But this is exactly what Peter did. Yet, it is not only Peter who deserted Christ at the moment when he needed support. The other disciples were nowhere to be found. They all abandoned ship when it was most critical. That is betrayal! Yet, Christ did not put them in the same category as Judas. Judas was manifesting what is called serious disloyalty and the other disciples were manifesting mild disloyalty.
Characteristics of Serious Disloyalty
- In serious disloyalty the rebel concerned actually engineers an uprising, demonstration or revolt against authority. You will notice that the disciples did not engineer anything; they were victims of the circumstances. In serious disloyalty, the traitor is often disloyal for monetary gain.
- Seriously disloyal people will sacrifice their friends for any flimsy reason. Seriously disloyal people lie about you with the intention of hurting or destroying you. They spread evil stories about the person in order to destroy him. Notice that the disciples did not spread any bad stories about Christ after they had deserted him.
- Serious disloyalty (e.g. Lucifer, Absalom or Judas) is usually untreatable, not correctable and without remedy.
Characteristics of Mild Disloyalty
- In mild disloyalty, you will notice features of betrayal and desertion and abandonment.
- Such people are usually caught up by the events of the day. The disciples were caught up by the momentous events of the night.
- They do not personally engineer or create a rebellion against authority. Neither do they help to destroy the church or business.
- Mildly disloyal people follow wrong things out of simplicity.
They do not understand the issues at stake. Many people follow things only to find out that they have made a mistake. There are people who will rebel against you for a season then come crawling back to you begging for forgiveness.
And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and THEY WENT IN THEIR SIMPLICITY, and THEY KNEW NOT ANY THING.
- Mildly disloyal people are often confused by events.
They don’t know what is right or wrong and they don’t understand what is happening. To them, the pastors in the church are in conflict and they wish it would all end happily.
- Mildly disloyal people often act in fear and ignorance.
They are frightened by conflicts. They do not know anything about rebellion or insurgencies.
- Mild disloyalty can often be remedied with time.
- Mild disloyalty often manifests itself as confusion and uncertainty.
Whenever there is a shake-up in a church, such people are often caught in the middle of the fight. They don’t know who is right and who is wrong. You cannot really blame them as they don’t really know what is going on.
And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
Mark 14: 27-52
Even though Jesus’ disciples were not loyal to Him when it really mattered, we believe that He considered it to be a result of immaturity. Because of this you can overlook things that people say, knowing that they will grow to understand. Often a person is critical because he is inexperienced.
Sometimes assistant pastors are critical of the senior pastor because they have never been head pastors before. If you are a senior pastor, it is important to check this before it grows into a serious rebellion.
One of the best ways to deal with mild disloyalty is to allow the individual to go through certain experiences by themselves. If your associate pastor feels that you are not a good head pastor,
one of the best things to do is to send him to the “school of hard knocks”. Allow him to be a senior minister. Let him pioneer a church. He will mature in no time! The school of hard knocks issues "certificates of maturity." You will also receive a diploma in understanding from this school. As he pastors a church himself and has people under him, he will begin to appreciate the responsibilities and pressures that come upon a leader. There are some people who are not able to appreciate these realities without experiencing being a head pastor themselves. However, some ministers have the grace to assist without going through this ‘school’. After the disciples had abandoned Jesus, you will notice that He did not rebuke them for betraying Him. Jesus understood them! Jesus knew that it was a stage of development and gave them another chance. He just said to them, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel.” Jesus was sending the disciples to the school of hard knocks. When you read the letters of Peter, you will realize that he met various rebellious people in his ministry. He learnt first-hand about loyalty. When you give people a chance, they often turn out very well. The disciples became so loyal to Christ that many of them died for their faith. Those who fled in the early days of their ministry had matured into faithful diehard loyalists. To die for someone is the highest form of commitment you can ever have. Many people experiencing mild disloyalty can turn around to become the most loyal people you could ever have.
For more information read the best book on loyalty, Loyalty and disloyalty by Dag Heward-Mills