Cliques. Did you have them in high school? Boy, we sure did! There were the jocks, the beautiful kids, the kids who did drugs, the ones who were rowdy, the ones who were smart, the ones in the band. You get the idea. Remember that? What was that all about? And now that we are all grown-up, is it any different?
We may not call them cliques, but the fact remains that we like to be around people who are like us. People who look like us, think like us, act like us. Even when our communities may already seem pretty homogenous, we still get cliquish.
I live in a fairly affluent part of the country, but I am not one of the affluent. Now, before you start telling me how rich I am, I already know it. I realize and appreciate that just by living in California in the United States of America that I am far wealthier than most people in the world. I get it. I am speaking relatively, about me in South Orange County.
I have often joked about living on “the other side of the tracks” in comparison to many in my fairly homogenous area. To be honest, I have often felt very uncomfortable in the company of affluent people. It makes me uncomfortable to be in their neighborhoods. I feel like I don’t belong. I am pretty sure I don’t speak their language. I like my middle-class, what are investments anyway, clique. So maybe grown-ups do have cliques. The rich people, the middle-class people, the party people, the religious people, the beautiful people, the immigrant people. You get the idea.
Jesus and His disciples took a lot of heat for hanging around people who weren’t like them – people who didn’t look like them, think like them or act like them. He didn’t hang around them because He wanted to engage in their bad behavior, which sometimes accompanies our cliques. He just wanted to love on them. He wanted to bring them good news, hope, a better way. It didn’t matter if they were rich or poor, educated or illiterate, strong or weak, healthy or sick – He was, and is, a lover of people. He loved them enough to tell them the truth; to tell them about a better way to live. He loved them enough to tell them that their bad behavior could lead to death – maybe emotional, maybe spiritual, certainly physical. He loved them enough to save them from themselves. He loved people enough to meet them in their own cliques.
Oh, that we could be more like Jesus! I am a grown-up. It is time to put away childish things. It is time to venture outside my clique, my comfort zone, and engage with others who are not like me. It is time to share hope and a better way. Will you join me? Will you take a baby step outside your own clique to love on others?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.