Sharon calls Jessica and Amanda, but she decides not to call Emily. Emily is okay and Sharon enjoys seeing her at worship on Sunday mornings, but she is just not a part of their “group.” It sounds juvenile; reeking of high school drama and childish games, but it is not rare to find grown women who are apart of cliques. What is a clique you may ask? Webster’s Dictionary states that a clique is, “a narrow, exclusive circle or group of persons.” Most of the time, this word is used to describe a group of people who exclude others from their inner circle. Unfortunately, in many congregations of the Lord’s people we see women excluding other women. It may be a type of popularity contest that lures women into this form of worldliness. It is up to us to put an end to cliques in Christ! In the second chapter of Philippians, Paul writes to the church, “make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves, each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:2-4). Cliques would not exist in the church if women could remember this verse in all their interactions with each other. It is useful to think of ways we can keep cliques from forming in the Lord’s body.
- Invite Someone New—try asking someone who you normally would not go out to lunch with if they would like to share a meal. Invite someone into your home who has never been invited before. It may be someone you have never really talked to and it may be uncomfortable at first, but it is a great way to ensure that you are not excluding others. If you invited a different person every week, just think how quickly you would get to know the congregation.
- Different Ages—make a new friend with one of the elderly women in the congregation. We can learn so much from these women and they have some of the best advice and wisdom to share. If you are one of the elderly women, try to look for younger women who are in need of your time. This was God’s plan for the relationship between the older and younger women of the church (Titus 2:3-5). Look also to the younger girls. You can become a mentor and “big sister” to a teenage girl. This age group often feels excluded, so it is a good place to start.
- Treat others as you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31)—“Do nothing out of selfish ambition” (Philippians 2:3). This attitude requires us to have an others-above-self mentality. Ask yourself if it would make you feel bad if someone did it to you or said it to you. Commit yourself to becoming occupied with how others feel about their relationship with you.
I am not saying that having one-on-one relationships or a couple of close friends is a bad thing. From scripture it seems that even Jesus had those disciples He spent more time with (Peter, James, and John—Mark 9:2, 13:3, 14:33, Luke 8:51). John was even called “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). This is simply one Christian woman encouraging others to end exclusion in the body of Christ. Cliques do not belong in Christ.
By Aimee Lemus
Aimee and her husband, Andrew, serve the Lord’s church full-time in the ministry and are currently looking for a congregation to work with. Aimee is a stay-at-home-mom to Andrew Jr., Annabella and Anderson.