I was never in a clique, well not really, I don't think. I was friends with different people in different groups, but I never really fit IN. I don't embrace conformity well, especially when people expect me to act or dress in a certain way... ie. like the 'in' crowd. So, I spent many years of my life bucking the system, going against the grain, holding myself apart. It was frequently very lonely and isolated, like I was my own enemy. Maybe I should conform? Will they like me if I am like them?
The answer today is duh of course not... if they don't like you for who you are, they will like you less if you sell out and become something that doesn't suit you. Falsehood in any form does not flatter. Looking back, I think there is a definitive value in being held apart. Today, I don't have to unlearn patterns of behavior that would give me a false sense of belonging to the in crowd. I have no holy elevated status, I am just as scarred as the next person, I am weak and critical of those who are weak. I despise weakness in myself, and pull away from the needy weakness I see reflected in others. And I am not the in crowd.
Since becoming Christian ten years ago, there have always been the questions that arise, like what about gays, the homeless, addiction afflictions, prostitutes... what do you think about THAT? Like I am some sort of moral authority? So not even close. But I would say that I wouldn't move away if someone from the 'out' crowd were to sit next to me. In a women's group very early in my Christian walk, someone had posed the question... we are all happy to be with each other, but what if a prostitute sat down on the couch next to you, would you move away? My answer then as it is today is is no, emphatically no way. Maybe if she were packing a knife and trying to steal my purse, but generally I am not moving.
Why is this important? Because, for me, I am not so far removed from my former self that I have forgotten who I was and where my life had been leading me. I have been in situations that are not so different from addiction or prostitution, did I sell myself for money or drugs... no. Drugs were never my thing, but I would throw myself into 'relationships' with no value for my own worth desperate for someone, anyone, please love me, validate me, fill this aching void. Never thinking that my own emptiness could not be filled with someone else, especially someone who was emptier than my own self. WE cannot redeem someone else, we don't understand the level of sacrifice that this entails, it surpasses all human understanding and passes into the supernatural. Beyond all doubt, there is only one sacrifice that has redeemed me and the world. I didn't ask to have the shadow of Jesus' sacrifice carried in my heart, but His blood of freedom flows freely through my veins. He is my Father, part of my DNA composition beyond earthly conception, and I am fulfilled in Him.
So, would I move my towel away from the 'out' crowd? no. The shadow of forgiveness and salvation hangs in the wings waiting to be accepted across the whole world. Who am I to say who is doing it right or wrong? Facing the Father, all else falls away. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on His will and your testimony will draw people in. Be inclusive, we are not a country club with some sort of elitist mentality, all be made welcome.
You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love.