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The Shocking Truth about Loyalty

Blog / Produced by The High Calling

Each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born, little institutional lies from the print of newspapers, the shock waves of television, and the sentimental cheats of the movie screen. - Norman Mailer

Gawker did a study in 2010 testing the accuracy of tabloids, and the accuracy rate ranged from 12 percent to 59 percent. We all know most of the information in these publications is untrue, but tell me you don’t crack open those magazines while you’re standing in line because there’s a picture of Angelina on the cover and she just might be cheating on Brad.

According to an article on BuzzFeed, the most common words to be found on a tabloid cover include the following:

  1. Baby
  2. Secret
  3. Wedding
  4. Pregnant
  5. Marriage
  6. Sex
  7. Shocking
  8. Cheating
  9. Divorce
  10. Diet

What struck me most were the headline topics Americans are drawn to. Although sex is buried in the mix, that’s not even the primary issue.

It’s marriage.

From dating to the big day to the honeymoon to the pregnancy, then the secrets and the betrayal and the cheating and divorce, we are interested in how these celebrities manage the most intimate and personal relationship on earth.

I admit it. I look at these magazines. I am entranced by the images of celebrities spending their holidays on a beach scantily clad when I’m in yoga pants making spaghetti for dinner. I am envious of the waistlines and gowns that glitter and for a moment I’m transported into a fantasy world of movie premieres and thousand-dollar shoes and weddings that look like movie sets. Does Vera Wang ever sleep, for heaven’s sakes? I know it’s not real, and even celebrities suffer heartbreak like the rest of us, but perhaps I’m just a wee bit satisfied when someone’s cheating or someone’s leaving or someone’s moving on. Serves them right, glittery little things. They have their bikini bodies. They’ll muddle through.

Do you see what’s happening here? The envy and the judgment and the lack of empathy when marriages crumble to dust? We should all be ashamed. We’ve grown used to the concept of a covenant as a band-aid that can simply be ripped off when it gets uncomfortable. And when it happens we just shrug our shoulders, like someone obviously chose a bad sports coat and they’ll hopefully do more research the next time around. They’ve got money and looks. The diet will follow. Nobody thought that would last, anyway.

The lies, they proliferate like dandelions.

As Christians, we have an obligation to push back against the raging machine that says this most intimate relationship is not at all sacred, and secrets are inevitable, and betrayal just happens. We have to constantly check our motives and actions and make sure the thoughts that proceed through our broken heads and broken hearts are not creating more division in the world.

I’m waiting for the day when reconciliation, and prayer, and forgiveness become the buzz words. For oaths taken seriously and lives lived with purpose and people owning the consequences of their actions. I want to see more cheating scandals that end up with both people back together with lowered heads and open hearts. And when Matt Lauer asks a question like “How could you stay with him (or her) given what happened?” on the Today Show, just once I’d like for someone to hold their head high and say “Because I believe in forgiveness. And the power of a covenant. But mostly, I believe that God can heal and make all things new.”

We need to change the heart of our culture, and it starts with us. Instead of filling our heads with lies that float down and settle on the landscape around us, pray for those who hurt. Show support for those who are struggling. Take the higher road and realize we are all on this path of life together.

Vera Wang’s gowns are amazing, I dig Jennifer Garner, and I may be prone to post a celebrity haircut or two on my Pinterest board. All fine in and of themselves (I hope). But when we start to feed into the bigger lies, and accept what society tells us to accept, the weeds choke out the love.

Image by Tim Miller. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Amanda Hill.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Thursday mornings in July, we are exploring loyalty, what it means to be devoted to a person, a cause, a group. For many, the word invokes patience and longsuffering through a difficult job, for others, it reminds them of the soft fur and wet licks of a family dog, still others think of loyalty to God or to family or to country. Join us this month to consider where your own loyalties lie.

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