And here is the saddest truth of all: it even exists among the Lord's people. When people began to follow Jesus in earnest, the scribes and Pharisees—the In Crowd of the day—said, "This multitude that does not know the law [like we do] is accursed" John 7:49. It really had nothing to do with the Law, but everything to do with their view of the Law (traditions) and the power they wanted to wield as the elite. They had nothing but contempt for the people they were supposed to be leading.
In their day it was a matter of status and power and wealth. When Jesus' preaching ripped them to shreds and left the common people feeling the hope and joy of acceptance by God, he was signing his own death warrant. When he ate with publicans, spoke to and accepted financing from women, taught Samaritans, healed lepers, the epileptic, and the demon-possessed, and forgave the vilest of sinners, he was announcing that he had no use for the superficiality of those who considered themselves God's gift to—well, God Himself.
And it happens in the church too. I've seen doctrinal matters decided not by scripture, but by who knows what Big Name Preacher, on which wealthier family believes what, or on who liked whose personality better—in short, on who was in the In Crowd.
And just like in the world, it starts with the children. If there was ever a group that should not have its share of "mean girls" (or boys), it's the disciples of a Lord who went out of his way to accept the ones who were outside looking in. There's no excuse for us allowing our children to grow up thinking they can shun or ridicule someone who isn't "cool" or "pretty" or "fun," or who doesn't wear the latest styles, or like the coolest teen idols, or any other such shallow reason. They will not outgrow it. They will just turn into the adult version, just as shallow and sometimes just as mean. Those adults will avoid speaking to and even do their best to avoid running into the ones who are not on the right list. And those poor folks will sit alone at services, stand alone afterward, and, as a result, feel alone in the midst of a laughing and chattering crowd.
You may not know it is happening. Could I suggest that it might be because you are already in the In Crowd, too happy to even notice the others? If we are to nip this in the bud, do this today: Ask your child, "Is there anyone in your Bible class that you never talk to? Anyone you will not sit next to? Anyone you and your friends talk about and even laugh about?" Then make sure they are telling you the truth. (Joanne Beckley recently wrote a powerful post on how to tell if your child is lying to you.) If they have sat in Bible classes long enough, they will know the right answers whether they are doing the right things or not. But this is important and you need to make it clear to them. If they are old enough to be baptized believers, tell them that such behavior is not following the steps of the Lord they claimed. It is bigotry every bit as much as racism. And it is not acceptable; it is sin.
Then look at yourself and see if you are the one who taught them such behavior.
When we persist in these things, we may be the ones who, on that last day, find ourselves on the outside looking in.
I myself will feed my sheep and I myself will make them lie down, declares the sovereign LORD. I will seek the lost and bring back the strays; I will bandage the injured and strengthen the sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them – with judgment! (Ezek 34:15-16)
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. (Matt 4:23-25)