(Revised, by Jay Launius, Maud church of Christ)
I recently noticed a meme on Facebook that said, “Not all snakes crawl – Some sit in
church.” I was initially shocked that someone would say that about some people in the church. But after some consideration, it occurred to me that the statement is true of all churches.
For example, some people in the church are not exactly honest, others are habitual drinkers, some harbor grudges, and others routinely use profanity or practice some other ungodly habit.
This is not unique to current day churches. There are many examples of such people in the New Testament. Just read the book of 1st Corinthians. Moreover, Paul wrote that, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.” (2 Tim. 4:10). Then there was Diotrephes, who loved to have superiority among the brethren and throw people out of the church. (3 John 9-10). Timothy was warned of liars and hypocrites in the church (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Many additional examples could be cited.
Yes, there have always been snakes in the church. So, should we eliminate the snakes? By no means; the church may be the best place for them. In Mark 2:15-17, Jesus went to Levi’s house for a meal, and the other guests included tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was criticized by Jewish leaders for socializing with such people. He answered by saying, “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.”
Some Christians have the mistaken idea that the Lord's church is to be filled with perfect people. If this is true, not one of us can be a part of the church. All of us still make mistakes, and it is only by the grace of God that we have the privilege of being in His family.
Although some people in the church are less perfect than others, that is right where they need to be, including me.