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Why is it so hard to find a perfect church?

Because there aren't any. Churches are made up of people like you and me, who are imperfect. As long as there are human beings involved in anything, there will always be imperfections.

Does it seem strange why there are so many sick people in a hospital? Of course not — that's what a hospital is for. Likewise, it shouldn't be strange to find people with problems in the church. The church is a spiritual hospital, treating patients with the Gospel to make them well. That's what it's for. Jesus said that He didn't come for those who were well, but those who were sick. He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Mark 2:17). A church may have many patients, all in different stages of recovery. Some are in terminal or critical condition, others are nearly well, and there are those who have recovered enough to join with the hospital staff in helping to care for the other patients.

Ironically, the imperfections in other believers actually serve a helpful purpose to us. Our close-knit fellowship acts as sandpaper that will smooth out our rough edges. "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend" (Prov. 27:17). Conflict is necessary to refine spiritual character. This is the same way our muscular tissue grows strong, by exercising against resistance. The church is like a spiritual gymnasium for believers to practice their love toward others, who are sometimes less than lovable. Applying spiritual virtues against resistance is what makes us grow strong. Therefore, the weak ones in our midst need our love and ministry, and we need them in order to grow mature in our love and patience. "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (Rom. 15:1).

It's remarkable how we are able to see our true spiritual condition through the reflection of our brethren. They are like "mirrors" in which we can see ourselves as we really are. If anyone thinks he is spiritual, just get close to your brethren, and you'll see what's really inside you. If there's hate or a lack of love, it will become obvious. Regardless of how unspiritual your brethren might be, YOUR intolerance and impatience is not their fault. It is the characteristic of your immaturity - a weakness in YOU that needs to be perfected. This is why some people choose not to fellowship with other Christians, because they see their own sins and blemishes revealed in their relationship with the brethren. If we remain an "island" to ourselves, we will never have to face up to the spiritual immaturities within us.

To illustrate this, I had a classmate in school who was very hard to get along with. He was an only child. His younger brother died as a baby, and his parents over-compensated for their sense of loss by heaping all their love upon the surviving brother. They gave him virtually anything he wanted, never made him do any chores, and nearly always let him have his way. The result was, he was a spoiled child and could never get along with anyone. All through life he had a rough time keeping friends or relationships because his parents had trained him to think that life was supposed to revolve around himself. If only he had been raised with other brothers or sisters, he could have learned to share, give-and-take, to be more patient with others of different views and preferences.

The environment of the church will always have both strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it will encourage us, and other times, challenge us. But for the person who is truly devoted to Christ, the church will always serve to make us stronger, more mature Christians.

This article is from the book, What People Ask About the Church, authored and copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2015, and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us.