James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
I personally enjoyed my high-school years but would not go back through them for all the money in the world. It wasn’t because high-school was too stressful (life’s much worse now) or the classwork, or even the apparent lack of athletic ability that would keep me from going back.
It’s the lunch table…to be more specific its finding a group of friends to sit with at the lunch table.
Now for most of us the trauma of this experience has been forgotten but go back to high-school with me for a moment. Feel free to put on your letter jacket, or find your retainer.
You start with the nerd/geek table on the outer edges of the cafeteria, followed by the funny kids table (also known as the party table), athletes table, JV athletes table (haven’t earned a seat quite yet), and in the center of course you have the cool kids table. From there you have the math club table, the scary people table, the new kid table, and on the farthest end is the table for everyone else.
Three guesses where I sat..
Eventually my personality and ability to entertain got me a spot at the party table, but not till after I had eaten many grilled-cheese and tomato soup lunches with the other outcasts.
The worst part of lunch wasn’t necessarily walking to my table but walking past the other tables, and seeing the expressions on their faces.
- Don’t even think about sitting here man
- This seats taken (along with the six beside it)
- That’s right, keep walking
- The look of shock on the face of those teenagers as I even looked towards their table (much less look at it) was sickening
Well thankfully we’re past that kind of childish behavior now
Or are we?
Of course we don’t have the clearly marked tables for different groups to sit at, but don’t kid yourself. Cliques are very much alive and well. The only difference is we have created different divisions of people in our mind and subconsciously become a part of the group that fits us best. This doesn’t mean if I wanted to spend time with another group (say guys who love basketball) but it would usually lead to some uncomfortable situations, so I stay in my own group.
There is a more dangerous side to this because I find myself without even thinking about it organizing people into groups or cliques based on their outer appearance or personality.
Oh that guys an athlete
He must be a nerd (I use that term with great respect)
A cool kid if I ever saw one
Now my evaluations are usually correct based on their responses to life and how they act. But often I find myself following up with that evaluation with action. In other words I will treat the nerd differently subconsciously than the cool kid because that’s closer to my personality type.
This is favoritism (treating someone different from someone else because of their outer life) and it’s sin.
Trying to understand the differences between ourselves and others is fine. But when a set of cafeteria tables is set up in our mind and part of us says to people “don’t even think about sitting here” then we have a problem.