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Practicing Faithfulness—With Fidelity

Jennifer Campbell | Aug 10, 2015

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Jennifer Campbell | Aug 10, 2015

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

I recently read a post on a friend’s Facebook page and smiled, excited that one of my favorite songs (and one of my favorite singers) had gotten some well-deserved recognition. From the New York Post, the article’s title read: Ode to the faithful: Andy Grammer’s new anti-cheating anthem.

Andy, a Baha’i musician, had earned the media attention for his chart-topping song, “Honey, I’m Good.” His song honestly and openly addresses real-world temptations, and the importance of staying true—or faithful—to the person who shares your commitment.

It’s no wonder that a song promoting faithfulness has achieved such widespread popularity. Faithfulness (or fidelity) promotes trust, love, happiness, and builds strong and lasting relationships—while infidelity causes a lack of trust, hurt feelings, unhappiness, pain, and often destroys relationships.

Amidst all of the constant media coverage about divorce, affairs, and failed relationships, it’s inspiring and relieving to hear—and see—examples of fidelity and lasting love. Andy Grammer came through on both counts, because he not only created a great song for us to listen to, he also created a music video which showcases couples of all ages, holding signs depicting how long they’ve happily been together. Both his song and the accompanying video focus on real life issues and the benefits of love and loyalty. He shows us that, despite temptations, couples can succeed, making lasting relationships both possible and obtainable.

We all probably know that faithfulness—the subject of the song/video “Honey, I’m Good”—refers to loyalty, not having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse, and keeping your promises. But faithfulness also means adherence to a cause or set of beliefs. So, for example, a person who faithfully follows the Buddha devoutly abides by Buddha’s exhortations. Similarly, as a Baha’i, I strive daily in being faithful to Baha’u’llah’s teachings. And one of Baha’u’llah’s teachings addresses the vital importance of faithfulness, or fidelity.

Fidelity is important, Baha’is believe, not only in our relationships with each other, but in our relationship with God as well. If we are faithful to God, we are loyal to him and the virtues he asks us to exhibit. Baha’u’llah listed fidelity as being one of the virtues humans should strive towards, along with trustworthiness, courtesy, and truthfulness:

Adorn your heads with the garlands of trustworthiness and fidelity, your hearts with the attire of the fear of God, your tongues with absolute truthfulness, your bodies with the vesture of courtesy. These are in truth seemly adornings unto the temple of man, if ye be of them that reflect. – Baha’u’llah, The Most Holy Book, p. 62.

Baha’u’llah also wrote the following regarding faithfulness:

O ye people that have minds to know and ears to hear! The first call of the Beloved is this: O mystic nightingale! Abide not but in the rose-garden of the spirit. O messenger of the Solomon of love! Seek thou no shelter except in the Sheba of the well-beloved, and O immortal phoenix! dwell not save on the mount of faithfulness. Therein is thy habitation, if on the wings of thy soul thou soarest to the realm of the infinite and seekest to attain thy goal. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 22.

Did you know there is another definition of fidelity, too? Fidelity also means accuracy in details, or exactness. In other words, if we aim to be faithful to our beliefs, and loyal in our relationships, we should do so completely. We should be faithful not only in our words but in our deeds, and we should be consistent. We shouldn’t pick and choose instances that we exhibit fidelity—we should portray fidelity daily, in all of our thoughts and actions.

Sure, there will be challenges and temptations in life, as Grammer’s song reminds us. But, as Abdu’l-Baha wrote:

No attribute is more commmendable than faithfulness. It is of the greatest of the virtues in the world of humanity. I hope that thou mayest be faithful to the Lord of the Kingdom, be attracted to His Beauty, serve in His Threshold and strive in His vineyard. – Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 634.

If we aim high and work together to achieve faithfulness, in addition to other virtues, we can build a world which promotes trust, love, and harmony. The results of our efforts can be far-reaching, if we practice faithfulness with fidelity:

You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world—for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 185.

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