Reflections on Commitment in the Gospel According to John

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Sage Publishing


Fidelity in commitment is a perennial human and religious concern, both because the quality of life of the individual person is largely determined by the types of relationships he or she establishes and because the quality of any society, secular or ecclesial, is a function of the quality of the relationships which constitute it. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that this perennial concern has taken on an unprecedented importance in our own times. Vocational instability has reached epidemic proportions and if this instability reflects a substantial decline in fidelity to interpersonal commitments, both in principle and in fact, then we are dealing with a significant change in human values, or at least in the motivational force of those values. It is not, however, perfectly clear that vocational instability is directly proportional to infidelity in interpersonal relations or to incapacity for commitment. That instability is often the expression of infidelity cannot be denied. But neither can it be denied that many persons who have, with serious deliberation, responsibly decided to terminate an interpersonal commitment go on to make new, permanent commitments which endure, the quality of which belies any simplistic judgments about the validity of such a course of action.