Cliques....The title of this post just conjures up so much for me.
Webster’s defines clique as “a narrow circle of persons associated by common interests or for the accomplishment of a common purpose; -- generally used in a bad sense.” I think of a clique as any group of friends that hangs out with the same three or five or whatever number of people. The pattern is consistent and little effort is made to include others.
Cliques, despite the bad connotation that Webster’s cites, do provide some legitimate benefits. It’s great to have good friends. It’s also great to have people to do things with. A clique can provide both of these. Having a tight group provides some sense of security; most of us prefer the company of others in favor of solitude and having a tight group often fosters a dynamic of an unspoken rule that you just plan to hang out. Comfort level is also an important consideration. The more one is familiar with another, the easier it becomes to enjoy oneself. A clique can provide a venue where one’s comfort level can be increased and, therefore, a better time can be had.
Clique is often synonymous with exclusive, and exclusivity builds walls between people. Also, since cliques allow its members to have a heightened sense of comfort, inside jokes are much more common. Generally, inside jokes are a lot of fun and can strengthen relationships between those who are “in the know.” However, whenever an inside joke is referenced around a person or an entire group that isn’t familiar with the joke, it also builds walls. Inside jokes, when unwisely used, are still fun for those involved, but make everyone else feel uncomfortable or left out.
That being said... this is what is truly on my heart.
So what would Jesus do about church cliques? First of all, I don’t think Jesus would be hanging around the people who already have plenty of people to hang around. My Lord would be busy seeking and saving the lost; just as He did during His ministry here on earth, and continues to do today.
If we want to seek to be more like Him, shouldn’t we also be taking the time to seek out these individuals? When we go to church we often get caught up in talking to our friends. Instead of looking talking to our friends, we should be looking for someone who may be visiting for the first time; or someone who may be going through a very difficult time.
We might not always know who these people are, but the Lord does. So how about a quick prayer before church? Something like, “Lord, may You minister to the lonely today, heal the broken hearted, heal the sick, set the captives free, and save the lost; through me. Use me, so that You may be glorified.”
When church is over;instead of looking for your friends; how about looking for someone who really needs a special touch from the Lord? How about seeking to bless, instead of seeking to be blessed? Especially if you are one of the lonely, lost or sick. What better way to be blessed, than to bless others? The blessings seem to bounce right back at you, don’t they??
But as far as I can see it, the Pastor’s keep getting busier, and our friends keep getting more friends. While the lonely keep getting lonelier, the lost are more lost, and the sick are getting sicker. So I leave you with this….What would God do about church cliques? I think he would be seeking out the lost, the lonely, and the broken hearted.
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them,
doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness,
and go after that which is lost, until he find it? Luke 15:4 (KJV)