Only Perfect People Allowed
The signs were legion a half dozen years ago. There was a campaign to hook people into church by pledging that at First Such-and-such Church: “No purfect people allowed.” Such signs usually included an obvious misspelled word just to punctuate the point.
A few comments are in order. First, duh. There is no church under the sun that only opens the doors for perfect people. How would they know? For that matter, I don’t believe that the signs are meant to be as sympathetic as they’re meant to be sarcastic. It’s less of a lure to imperfect people and more of a throat-jab at the self-righteous. It’s a jab at people like us.
What can we do about it? Even if it isn’t our fault, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. Since they perceive that our attitude is out of line, the first thing that we can do is confess our sin and repent. We ought to confess our sins on Sundays, we ought to confess our sins when we pray each day, and we ought to confess our sin when we sin against another person. Turns out that it’s easier to mock the immaturity of the signs–and the signage is immature–than to ask another person for forgiveness.
We can also stop stiff-arming and holding grudges against other believers in our own body. We know that only fatheads say “No perfect people allowed.” We know we’re not perfect. Yet we tend to sanction our standoff-in-the-corner-ishness based on imperfections we perceive in someone else. I thought we knew that people weren’t perfect. Turns out it’s easier to know the principle than to embrace an imperfect person.
The last thing that we can do is to tell our friends that, while the church on earth is full of imperfect people, only perfect people are allowed in heaven, and none of us can get there on our own. The good news is that Jesus came for the sick, He came to call sinners to repentance. All who do repent and believe are declared perfectly righteous in Christ. As Christians, we remember that He’s also in the process of transforming us. We don’t belong in church because we’re perfect, but we’re here because this is one of places He perfects us. That starts with confessing our sin.