"Each of you should not only look to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
-- Philippians 2:4 (NIV)
It's a fact that we choose our best friends from the people with whom we seem to "click."
Cliques are found in the workplace, schoolyard, neighborhood -- and church groups. Some of us have been in them; some have felt like outsiders because of them.
Webster's Dictionary says, "A clique is a small, exclusive group of people." I was in a clique in grade school. At recess, my circle would congregate in a corner of the schoolyard. All around were other huddles.
The sad part was, there were children left outside the cliques. Oftentimes, they were teased and treated with disrespect. Now, I look back and repent that I was part of that belittling behavior.
Jesus gathered 12 men together in a circle of friendship so they could be instructed in the things of God. This special group was not meant to form a "clique," but the time came when Jesus sent them out into the world to minister to those who were lonely and hurting.
They were educated for the purpose of bringing outsiders into the circle of God's truth and love.
Are you in the center of a clique? Stop and evaluate any groups you belong to. Maybe your Bible study group is exclusive. How about the group of friends you're frequently involved with in the neighborhood or at school -- have they become high minded?
Reaching out to someone outside your group may bring new insights or the type of faithful friend you've never known. You may be able to impart valuable information to someone else.
Although there is truth in bonding with others that have similar likes and dislikes, we are not to become inclusive or completely disinterested in the health and welfare of others.
If you're in a clique, reach out to someone else and don't worry what others might think. God never intended for us to isolate ourselves in our cliques, but to reach out to others with his love.
•Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, motivational speaker, life coach and nurse. She can be contacted for speaking or coaching or comments at Annetteebudzban@aol.com