A Sermon On Promises, Decisions, and Loyalty

A resident of Elmerton recently came to me for advice on a matter that was troubling them. They had given their agreement and loyalty to more than one thing, and they worried that the pledges they had made would soon come into conflict.

The question that was troubling this person is a question that troubles us all at one time or another — how do you decide which promise to keep and which to break when you can’t keep them both?

It should come as no surprise to those of you who know me that my answer came from the Head, but valid answers also come from the Heart and the Hand.

The Head’s Answer

I said: “We all make decisions with imperfect Knowledge. Try to make the best informed decision you can. When you learn more about the situation, sometimes your loyalty is tested. Then you have to reevaluate what you know and use any new knowledge to make a new, better decision.”

Perhaps you made a promise to a patron who turned out to be different that you though they were. Maybe this patron had ulterior motives and was manipulating you, or even lied to you. Maybe your patron was simply misinformed, and sent you to do something which you later discovered was wrong. It is incumbent on you to be aware and to read changes in the situation, and if you discover that what you are doing is not the right course of action, stop and reevaluate.

The Heart’s Answer

Alianora (who would like to note that she is not affiliated with the Allegiant) gave the following advice: “Trust your gut. When you have to make a decision, listen to your conscience to do the right thing.”

If you’re in a situation that feels wrong, you have the right to leave. If the thing you are participating in doesn’t feel right, stop participating. You can speak up for yourself and others. You can speak up to the person in charge and and tell them what they’re in the wrong about.

Maybe you thought it was okay at first, but then you got into a situation that violated your beliefs, principles, and loyalties you have to others.  If you’re involved in something that you no longer want to be involved in, stop.

The Hand’s Answer

Simon’s reply was. “You don’t know what you’re going to do — until you do it.”

There are times when worrying and fretting about the situation won’t help at all. Your loyalties will be tested, or they won’t. If you are tested, you will respond with some kind of action. What any given person will do in any given situation is difficult to predict. People are complicated beings. And you, audience, are heroes of Elmerton — you are defined by your actions.

If you don’t like where you are, keep moving. You have the power to change your situation, even if only a little bit. But remember that your actions have consequences, some of them unforeseen — even your best actions. Accept your consequences, and never stop trying to do better.

Rybin vanHolt

Cordent of Elmerton

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