No man is an island. We all exist in the context of many different communities, whether our family, friends, or workplace, we are a product and producer of community. Too often, we focus on the impact community has on us, but we don’t really focus on our role in shaping who is part of our community. We are not required to simply be passive recipients of whatever community we find ourselves in. We can choose what we plant, and we can choose what we need to prune out of it.
A healthy community, like any living, breathing ecosystem, needs a diversity of life. We want to surround ourselves with people from different backgrounds, perspectives, strengths, and experiences. We need people who can work together, bringing all those differences into a productive, unified whole. People who can honestly tell each other when something is wrong and offer encouragement when something good just needs a little more time. No matter what differences we have, we are invested in each other’s success. We shield our community from falling in love with a flawed idea just like we prevent them giving up on a good one. We call everyone higher while continuing to love each other where we are.
All that said, we don’t want to blindly keep everyone we’ve known in our community. I tend to think that, no matter what, I have to stay with people simply because I’ve known them for a while. The real question of loyalty, though, is whether or not you really want what’s best for the other person. After all, loyalty shouldn’t just be a matter of obligation. In truth, if the relationship is holding people back from what they are called to do and be, then it’s just a selfish, self serving bit of use. We want to make sure that we are building a community of mutual support, constantly calling each other higher and helping each other to get there.