Remember this group of rebel teens from the 1980’s?? Come on….you know you can almost name each person! The infamous Breakfast Club is a unique movie about a group of kids that didn’t stand out with “the crowd” at school and each found themselves going against the grain and landing in after school detention. There they began to form friendships and commonalities as rebels in their own right. This could be the movie that helped define the term clique.
Cliques have many different definitions and styles, yet the foundation of what exactly it is according to Merrim-Webster is, “a small, exclusive group of people.” Small and exclusive, private and intimate; these people set out to be away from the majority of the “crowd”. Growing up I can look back and say that I never was a part of a clique; only groups of people with a common focus. What’s the difference you might ponder….? One word: ATTITUDE!
Fast forward around 20 years and we more likely remember the popular movie Mean Girls where “The Cliques” were defining what attitude in the small and exclusive was. Today though cliques are alive and well; however the drama of the groups are not as noticeable as made out in the movies and in your everyday high schools. Yet the negativity itself leads many to complain, judge and gossip from the outside; where the clique circle embraces the separation from the norm and values the narrow-mindedness that the intimate opinions develop for themselves.
Children are isolated, picked on and made fun of (to name a few) by the majority of these cliques simply because of the social statuses and undeveloped identities. Adults are a bit different though. They relate on a clique setting for many reasons. First, a group of “besties” from way back form a defined clique just because they always hang out. They may not intentionally desire to be defined as a clique, but society has already placed them there due to intimidation of their outward viewed solidarity. Second, adults could be seen as a group of people (5 or less usually) who have a common bond with their kids activities, church activities, work relationships, etc. (common habits or activities). These people may have a good, relatable personality; yet their frequency with the others they see often cause them a level of comfort to where they just stay surrounded by the same people all the time.
In church, it seems similar to high school (in my personal opinion), where when a group of ladies or even guys (more rare) gather together and hang out socially or work on committees together or even do ministry activities; others who feel left out will resort to juvenile behavior. The gossip and judgement all comes more frequent and the focus that was meant to be on the “clique” turns more on the bothered gossipers. Christians, I hate to say, are some of the worst “cliquers” and reactors to the cliques. All this becomes whirlwinds that destroys churches and many people’s faith.
Does Jesus have an opinion about these types of people? In Luke 9 Jesus had to teach John and the other apostles a simple lesson. Schism (meaning “division or disunion, especially into mutually opposed parties) between believers is wrong. John learnt his lesson from Jesus in verses 49-50, “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” The basis of division was not over whether the man was right or wrong, but over the simple fact that he was not one of John’s group.
The Apostle Paul dealt with a form of a clique of his own with the church of Corinth. Paul had to condemn their behavior in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter, ” or “I follow only Christ.” Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!….This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. (1 Corinthians 12:25, 26 NLT)”
Let’s make the purpose of my blog and thoughts known; the term clique is seen as a negative. It brings with it an attitude, both within the group and outside the group of mostly a negative attitude. If we are of Christ, for Christ, representing Christ by our whole selves; then any kind of negativity needs to be avoided! Paul later said it best to Philemon in verse 6, “I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. (Philemon 1:6).”
I used to get bothered and gossip about my co-workers and their “clique” that wear their Bluetooth headsets everyday and literally work and have their close buddies in their ears just a yackin away while they worked gossiping about who knows what and never called me! (No bitterness or negativity there huh?) 🙂 We must step back and see that our conversations and attitude about not being involved sounds like the above a lot and we don’t even realize the impact that has AGAINST our mission for Christ!
Take a moment today, after you read this, to step back and look at your relationships. Why do you hang out with certain people? What draws you to them and their friendship? How does those relationships TRULY affect your witness and cause for Christ? And you looking outside….why does their “clique” bother you so much? Why are you so juvenilely jealous?? Isn’t Jesus and His attention worth more than what you crave with them? Most importantly….WHY CAN’T YOU SHOW THEM THE JESUS THAT CALLS YOU TO HIM? The Body of Christ cannot work together effectively without all the parts….LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Love one another……BE JESUS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE HIS PEOPLE!!!