We all have cliques. Groups of people that we hang out with, the inner circle of a group that seems to only allow those certain people in. We naturally segregate others from us.
We join the circles of people that like the same sport, the same sic-fi thriller (Star Trek vs. Star Wars, watch out the nerds are coming!), the same music, that dress the same, that have a similar looking family. No matter where you work, you attend school, your neighborhood, your church, you are in a clique. You always join a circle within the group of people you know, you are comfortable around, you look like.
I am not saying that this is wrong but that it is a slippery slope. We all have relationships with a group of people that we could never have with everyone. Jesus had his twelve disciples. But if we are not careful we only associate with the group and begin to talk less of those outside of our group.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” (Mark 9:38)
I love this verse because it shows a simple issue. John saw a dude outside of his group, and his first reaction is to stop it. John went to his natural reaction, and that is our reaction as well, we don’t want to let things get out of our control or capacity. We want to keep things at our level. If it is not the same way we do it, it feels wrong immediately.
Turing Cliques Into Groups
What clique in your life are you attempting to control? The couple guys at work that always have lunch together, talking sports and fishing but never including others from the office. The girls that have a clique at school and you will never get in because they don’t like outsiders, maybe your one of the girls in the click (Oh Snap!). Maybe it’s in your church… You always talk to the same people after service; you question others that attend because you know that they are going through a divorce, they were out partying Friday night, they don’t dress like you, they didn’t carry a Bible into the church.
Recently I was meeting with a couple of co-workers, and we were discussing this tension. Just like anywhere else, with the staff, there are groups of people, but those relationships don’t spread across all staff, they stay within certain cliques. How do you solve this? What can we do to make different cliques into groups? Where people from any area within the staff feel comfortable, feel like a part of the group, like family. The answer is not that easy because we are fighting the human condition. Our human tendency, our selfishness doesn’t want to stretch outside of our comfort zone.
Where People Belong
This is not a new tension with the church. You can go online right now and watch as some churches (pastors) are talking poorly about other churches (pastors) because they do it differently because they look different because they preach differently. No matter where you go the people that make up the church will get it wrong because we are human, the day it is perfect is the day Jesus returns. But we do have some guidelines that Jesus has already given us.
Look at the different groups of people that you associate with. Are they more like cliques or groups? How can you build those relationships but not segregate others? Can you celebrate others and what God is doing in their lives while they look different from you?
We all have groups of people, but we don’t need to have clicks. In verse 38 John treated his group like a clique. Others were not allowed in, and those others were not supposed to be like them. But Jesus responds…
Part 2 is coming next week!
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