I hear people say, “why do you want to go to church? They are all just hypocrites.” I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite because nobody goes to church because they are perfect. If you’ve got it all together, you don’t need to go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning. Every time you go to church, you’re confessing again to yourself, to your family, to the people you pass on the way there, to the people who will greet you there, that you don’t have it all together, and that you need their support. You need some accountability, you need some help. – Richard Mullins
Of course, there are some church attenders who have missed the point and missed the Gospel – and perhaps deserve to be called hypocrites because they see themselves as superior and overlook their own sin. Yet church is for everyone – no matter where someone is on their spiritual journey.
At any church you will find a blend of people: new Christians, old Christians, mature believers, immature believers, Christians knowledgeable of their beliefs, Christians lacking knowledge, humble people, and unfortunately the holier-than-thou people too.
And people who are not Christians. There are those who think they are Christian, but have actually never grasped salvation. Or those who are seeking and interested, yet still unsure and considering belief. And some people come to church for wrong motives/reasons: to please the spouse, forced to by their parents, or even for social/business reasons. (That last one can be common in the Bible Belt!)
Not to mention that people can become Christians from very different backgrounds. People can start their Christian journey at very different beginning points. You may think a certain person is lacking in spiritual progress, yet if you only knew their background, you’d realize they have actually made tremendous progress!
Yes, the church is a mixed menagerie. It is no wonder that people can have bad or disappointing experiences with church – or rather with church people.
Yet the church is important. It is described as Christ’s body and the bride of Christ. It is the community of believers here on earth. And while we may be a mixed bunch, we need each other. The Christian life can not be lived in isolation.
This post is not meant to excuse bad behavior by church people, but to remind us the church is made up of human beings – who should be growing in the likeness of their Savior Jesus and may be in different stages along that path of spiritual understanding and growth.
We are all hypocrites or holier-than-thou sometimes. We aren’t perfect. We fail to meet our ideals. We are prone to overlook our sin or rationalize it. That’s why we need each other, and that’s why we need Jesus.