|Volume 18 Number 12 December 2016||
Cliques and Favoritism
Donald R. Fox
I always enjoyed being around my younger brother Edward; he was my favorite sibling. We all have people and friends to whom we feel closer and who are more comfortable for us to be around. I cannot see anything wrong with that, can you? The rub comes when we play favoritism to a certain class of people for whatever reason. Do they have money or influence? Just maybe we can reap benefits from them, and therefore, we buddy up to them. Webster defines favoritism in part as the showing of more kindness and indulgence to some person or persons than to others or being unfairly partial. The key is that we must not be unfairly partial.
It has been my experience that because of unfair partiality or favoritism, people have had advancements in the job market and have climbed the social structure. Have you ever met an apple polisher? People develop these friendships because they may be drinking buddies, part of a social club, of the same political party or other suchlike groups. With this type of tie-in, cliques have a tendency to develop. Webster defines “clique” in part as a small, exclusive circle of people or a snobbish or narrow clique.
Christians must strive to be fair, friendly and impartial with all dealings with each other as well as with all men. We must not be respecters of persons.
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 KJV)
The inspired writer, James, says it all; there is nothing to add. I strongly dislike unfair partiality and favoritism that develops into cliques. I have seen this type of negative behavior hurt too many good people. For those who promote unfair favoritism and cliques, shame on you!
Many times my wife and I sit at our breakfast table and ponder the outcome of current news and happenings. Generally, there is alarming and tumultuous chaos, and it is not just rampant in our neck of the woods, but it tends to darken every horizon where one might look. Just when it looks like things have slowed down a bit, and things look a bit better, the TV screen comes alive with the foreboding news, “Tragedy in your town” or “Raging killer takes the lives of innocent people.” This, to us, harks back to the prophetic pronouncements of utter doom and destruction that await the ungodly of Earth at the end of time. While this portends tragedy and suffering like none on Earth before, for the ungodly, it also points to the faithful before the throne of eternal God who await the most wonderful words to ever fall upon mortal ear, ”Come ye blessed of my Father.”
It is not uncommon to hear folks reminiscing of the “Good old days,” but from what I’ve been able to discern, one of the best things about the good old days is that they’re gone. Brother E.C. McKenzie asks the insightful question, “Don’t you long for the ‘good old days’ when Uncle Sam lived within his income and without most of yours?” Doubtless, most of us can relate to that pointed question. Time comes, and time goes, but apparently it does not change much with its movement. The prophet Micah spoke of the distressing times when he wrote of the waywardness of Israel.
Woe is me! For I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: There is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the first ripe fruit. The good omen is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the Prince asketh, and the Judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. The best of them is a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of the watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in the bosom. For the son dishonoreth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. (Micah 7:1-6)
Did you notice how Micah said the Prince, the Judge and the great men would be doing their evil work? Read it again! “That they may do evil with both hands” (verse 3). These people were not content to just ‘dabble’ around with sin, but they grabbed it with both hands earnestly! They exhibited no intention of turning loose! They were trying to ensure that they didn’t let it slip form their grasp. Many years ago, a delinquent brother told me that his house was divided because his wife would not turn from her denominational background to accept the truth. That, he said is like one of my hands being tied behind my back. I reminded him that there is one thing worse than that! You have left your first love and joined your wife in wrong doing! This brother had quit holding on to truth with one hand, as he had done before, and was now clinging to wrongdoing with both hands! The Bible says, "for it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (2 Peter 2:21).
“And that servant, which knew his Lord’s Will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His Will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47). These unwise ones are holding on to nothing with both hands! How pitiful!