Jesus’ life was infectious, in the best sense of the word. He freely loved and gave honor, respect, and dignity to any person that happened into his world. He lifted people’s spirits and hopes. People got in on His love and grace, immediately. And it was infectious because anyone who knew and loved Jesus spread this same love and grace to everyone. Everyone got in on His love and grace.
That rocked the religious people’s thinking because they thought only certain people were worthy of honor and respect. A select small group of people with title or position, a certain education, or even celebrity. A very small select number of worthy people got in on the elite group of “special” people. The clique.
In Jesus’ day this group of people were known as Pharisees.
Today, we see this clique everywhere from our school yards, to corporate offices, and even in our churches.
The clique is infectious in a very damaging sense. It sets up elitist thinking and creates a separation between those who belong and those who don’t; us and them.
A clique has very negative effects on a church’s culture. It is damaging to authentic family and connection. It generates feelings of superiority in some, inferiority in others, judgmentalism, comparisons, petty resentment, jealousy, self-entitlement, self-centeredness, a cultural hubris within the clique–puffed up extreme pride and arrogance, with a total lack of contact to reality. It promotes an incredibly toxic culture.
People belonging to the clique freely think their “specialness” is deserved. This is continually reinforced by other people in the clique, fortifying their disconnectedness with reality.
The clique is manipulative and controlling. The clique looks inward. The clique looks to protect its own. Safeguarding the members disillusioned sense of superiority.
The clique is everything Jesus was not, or rather IS not.
Jesus’ focus was outward. Others. He gave Himself totally so that all others could get in on salvation. This is the way we should live: wide open, honest, generous, loving, honoring, respecting, treating others with dignity, and giving freely to all people.
Amazingly, Jesus pointed to the Pharisees, the clique of His day, and said, you are clueless to understanding anything about life. You take advantage of people; using them and abusing them. You’ve got it very wrong. If you don’t change, you won’t get in on this salvation. Read Matthew 23.