Saturday, October 23, 2010


Probably the greatest "invitational" hymn of all time is, "Just As I Am." It is sung in churches, it used to be sung at the end of Billy Graham sermons around the world, it is sung at the end of just about all evangelist's sermons. Sometimes it is sung a dozen or more times at the end of a sermon, just to save, to reach that very last soul, so he or she can slip out from their seat to make their way forward where there are counselors waiting . . .

"Just as I am, Thou wilt receive; Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, Oh, Lamb of God I come . . ."

It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to keep this lyric in mind throughout our lives of faith. Unfortunately, once we become believers, once we walk the aisle, once we submit to the 'counselors waiting,' our sinning does not stop. We need welcome, pardon, cleansing, etc., daily -- for the rest of our lives on earth.

Then I wondered if Jesus ever gets tired of forgiving. I wonder if he ever gets exasperated over seeing me repeat the same errors over and over again. I wonder if he ever feels like saying, "Enough is enough! Off to the other place with you."

Peter asked him, "Lord how many times must I forgive my brother?"

Jesus responded, "Seventy times seven." I think most Bible scholars would agree that Jesus did not mean exactly 490 times. No, he meant "as often as your brother needs forgiving, forgive him."

And then my heart leapt within me. No. Jesus does not get tired of forgiving, even though I do the same foolish things over and over again. As long as I come to him, he forgives. Would he do less than he has taught us to do?

Just as I am, Oh Lord, I come . . .