Last month I had the privilege of attending the She Is... conference put on by the Baptist Women's Ministries. This, of course has very little to do with what I'm going to say here. All the ladies at the conference were quite lovely.
But there's usually nothing like having a bunch of women all cooped up together to have some claws come out, and Christians are sadly no exception.
Sure, we all would like to be the Proverbs 31 woman. Maybe some of us even consider ourselves close to hitting the mark but when it comes to cattiness in the church, I wonder how many of us are really more Good Christian Bit**es than Proverbs 31.
Some people are guilty of snide comments to their friends about other women. Some will step out with 'friendly' banter to you when you can really see through them like Glad Wrap. Some will just tell you by the way they're looking at you that they're really thinking 'Errr, who let THAT in here?'
There is no legitimate excuse to snub another Christian woman whether it be at church, in the store or on Facebook. I don't care if you get on better with men, or if you're just not good in social situations. If you meet someone at church and say you'll get together, make good on your word. If you meet someone at church and you deliberately ignore them (no matter how irritating you think that person is), then shame on you.
The dreaded clique
It's pretty simple. Don't be the B in Apartment 23. All the women you see at church should be counted as closer than friends. As sisters. And are we womenfolk doing the best to uphold that sacred bond of sisterhood - one of which that is based on something deeper than a travelling pair of jeans?
I'd say not. There's pettiness and jealousy, there's gossiping and nastiness and before you get on your superiority pedestal, do you really treat all the women in your church like friends? Or do you have your clique and ignore the rest? A church is no high school! And we shouldn't repeat the experience of high school (which was horrendous for someone like me) by having cliques and little social groups in the place where we worship and share our love for God.
C.S Lewis spoke about what he called the 'Inner Ring' which we all desire to be a part of, and the result that once we are a part of it, it might just chip away at our souls a little bit. We like to feel part of some 'inner circle' and that's why we allow these inner circles to continue. We crave acceptance, and get it by forcing others out in the cold.
Why is it that we nod along to a sermon about unconditional love, but don't think it applies to our treatment of a woman in the church who we don't get along with for whatever reason? But maybe we're the ones that are misunderstood. That we don't mean to come off callous and rude and we had every intention of being a warm friendly person that gets along with all people.
Or perhaps the extra X chromosome is to blame. I think maybe the truth is, we all can come across a little female dog-ish to other womenfolk. I'd like to say I'm immune, but if I can get other people so wrong, then maybe others have been getting me wrong too. But I'd like to remedy that. So here's some steps to keep in mind.
1. Be open. Don't be wrapped up in your 'inner circle', look outside of it and by all means step outside of it.
2. Be interested. Not false, not putting it on, but try to be genuinely interested from God's perspective of what makes this person unique. Become a listener.
3. Don't avoid. If you see that person again at church or outside don't lock eyes and then avoid them. Honestly, it's all too common and it's all too rude. You be the one to break the cycle.
4. Actively keep contact! This is a big one. And I'm not a caller, I'm pretty awkward and clunky on the phone. But I'm a texter and I always try to text back. However, with some of my friends I'm left wondering if my texts have even gotten through to them. Don't leave it too long.
Assess yourself. Are you being a B? Then for the sake of our Lord and Saviour stop it and show some love to your fellow sisters.
Bridget Brenton has been researching apologetics, philosophy and the paranormal for years. You can check her apologetic effort out at 101arguments.com
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html