There are no perfect churches this side of heaven. People make up the local church and we come broken, beat up, bruised and abused. We are not perfect by any means, and some of us are harder to love than others. I myself, the pastor, can be one of those difficult people to love at church.
That doesn’t mean we give up going to church. The church is the household of the living God. The church is the pillar and buttress of truth. The church is the bride of Christ, and He will not leave us for another. Through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. We slog along, taking every opportunity to meet with brothers and sisters in Christ and put on Jesus and walk in a new way. Today is a new day in Him and with Him, and He has given me people of my church to grow me and challenge me, to transform me and conform me into the image of Himself.
Paul writes to the Colossians (chapter 3:12-17) about church and how to act towards one another. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Bearing with one another and forgiving one another ring especially true to me this week, as do love and peace and being one body. It’s not always how I act, it’s not always how I feel. I have a lot of growing and maturing to do.
Is church difficult for you? Have you been burned by the church? You have not been burned by God. “As much as it depends on you, live in peace with one another.” Can you go and reconcile and make things right with a brother or sister today? Ask the Lord for wisdom and a change of heart. Purpose today to do what He says. If you have done wrong to a brother or sister, go and admit your faults; if a brother or sister has sinned against you, go and tell him his fault, and take someone with you to help work through issues, if needed. God can bring healing and restoration in His church. There are no perfect churches this side of heaven.