But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 (ESV)
This has to hit home hard for the Corinthians. Of course, they saw themselves as being immensely spiritual. They put a lot of stock in the spiritual gifts they had received. But Paul says as long as they are given to this partisan spirit they are not spiritual but infants in need of milk.
This should hit home for us too. We have the same problems. Anytime you have a gathering of sinners you are going to have these sorts of problems. Man is a social animal, and we get along better with some than we do with others. Often within churches, you find clicks forming, and then people within those clicks vying for control or power. It is destructive.
The thing is that within an organization like the church there is very little power or control to have. If the environment gets toxic, political, cliquish etc. well then, people will just leave. Then what has anyone accomplished? So what’s the answer?
I’m not always sure. It think the first thing has to be realizing that we are not going to control others. Perhaps, we can notice the cliquishness happening, and the best thing we can do is not give into it ourselves. And through it all, be willing to forgive.