Do you ever get just fed up with something and want it to stop? “Fed up” is a phrase that I grew up hearing a lot. Mom would say, “I’m just fed up with your attitude.” Bless her heart for loving me anyway, but back then, I was something else to deal with (still am somtimes). Full of disrespect! Sad, but true.
You see, I saw my parents as hindrances to what I wanted for my life. I wanted to tour the world with a rock band and all the “stuff” that comes with that. Well, I guess it wasn’t to be, but, God sure has blessed me the life that I have had. But I digress….
What I’m fed up with and have come to see as a cancer in the church (or any family unit of any kind) is the idea of cliques. They know no age barriers, they are not gender specific, they are a destructive force that Satan clouds in a blizzard of excuses and they need to stop!!!
Google defines a clique as “a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them.”
Cliques usually starts off innocent enough. Two people become best friends then gather two more till they have in their group all they want. They are comfortable with one another. They really do have a deep friendship where they can share all and tell all. That’s not a bad thing at all–it’s innocent at first.
The problems happen when, within their group, they start “sizing up” others who come into the church to see if they are “worthy” to be a part of their friendships. Many times they pick out people who are incapable of recognizing that they are a clique. They may even pick out a person who is weak in some areas of their life and try to improve them. Whereas they may have good intentions to gel that person, the issues come when they do that to the detriment of other relationships.
You see when I size you up, and you of or do not meet my standards, that means I just made a judgement about YOUR self worth. You are “worth-y.” I value you to the extent that I invite you in. That process is, at best, a mistake in how to bless others, and at worst, a tool of Satan toward division.
Satan is always about dividing us. When he does, he knows that he can destroy us.
Here are some tips to help us avoid cliques.
1. CERTAIN PEOPLE: Recognize when you are paying too much close attention to certain people. There’s nothing wrong with being best friends, but be careful about shunning others. When this happens BEST friends become BEAST friends.
2. NEW PEOPLE: When gathering with groups, be sure to give attention to new people. Remember that new people are nervous around you because they don’t know you. Make sure not to miss them.
3. ALL PEOPLE: Be friendly with everyone. There is never a reason to be exclusive–especially in god’s kingdom!
4. GOSSIP: Avoid talking about others in ANY situation. A good rule of thumb is to either speak kindly and positively about others or don’t speak about them at all. Cliques tend to use their friendship as an excuse to gossip in the name of “being concerned.” Remember not to whisper and be sarcastic about this either.
5. BE GENUINE: Learn how to genuinely care for others. Some of us just ned a dose of teaching on how to treat other people with REAL love and acceptance. Jesus was all about love and acceptance. I would not want to meet Him one day having shunned others. That’s not the way he operated. In fact, He used his life to give special attention to those in His culture who were shunned. I suggest that we do the same.