“Just as I am”
“By the grace of God I am what I am.” 1Co 15:10 NIV
There is a tale about a boy who comes home and doesn’t know his mom is visiting with their pastor. He carries a dead rat in his hand. “Mom, you’ll never guess what. There was a rat running around in the garage. I saw it, threw a stone, and hit it. It just lay there, so I went over and stomped on it. Then I picked it up and hurled it against the wall.” Then he sees the pastor, and if his mom’s looks could kill, he knew that he would be one dead kid. So, he holds the rat up and adds in a pious voice, “And then the dear Lord called him home.” That’s called “God talk.” The old hymn “Just as I Am, Without One Plea” is about taking off the mask and knowing that God loves you in spite of your problems. If there was a true “just as I am” church where people could bring their baggage and brokenness, if there was a group where everyone was loved and no one faked it, we couldn’t make enough room for them inside the building. Paul acknowledged that sometimes he acted like Dr. Jekyll, other times like Mr. Hyde. He talked of the times when he wanted to do good but evil took over. But he refused to throw in the towel because he realized he was a work in progress. “I…do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect” (vv. 9-10 NIV).