I really do doubt if there is a person on the face of the earth who can claim, 'God loves me just as I am'.
In the drama of the current 'coming out narratives' that we hear from celebrities there does seem to be a particularly Protestant theological strand that runs counter to our traditional belief of what we are and who God is. This phrase, 'God loves me just as I am' needs a little dissecting. It is rarely given any qualification nowadays, even rarer does it receive any criticism, even in the Catholic Church. The phrase, 'God loves me' can be aptly used by any sinner, but only a certain kind of sinner can follow it up by saying 'just as I am'.
|St Jerome: Someone forgot to tell him God loved |
him as just he was
The phrase, 'just as I am' limits the possibility for divine grace to work in the soul. Last night, a local man who I know who sleeps in a loading bay was pelted with eggs by youths while he hid under his sleeping bag. Does God love those youngsters who threw eggs at him 'just as we are'? Or does God wish to see their repentance? Does God love the paedophile, 'just as I am'? Does God love the armed robber 'just as I am'?
There are things we can say about Christ and His Mother which we cannot say of the rest of the human race. One of them is this. Mary, being without stain of sin of any kind, is loved by God, just as she is, because she is 'full of grace' and is perfect in her obedience to the will of God. God loves her as she is because she is perfect, spotless and holy. She is Immaculate. Christ is fully God and fully man, the Son of the Father, able to say that the love that the Father has for Him is perfect, because He Himself is perfect and obedient to the Father. Christ can say, God the Father loves me 'just as I am'.
For Christ is the Just One, the perfect image of the Father, the true Son. He can say, 'I am just'. He - and He alone - can say, 'I am' for before Abraham was, 'I Am'. He is the Eternal Word. For any Christian to say that God loves me 'just as I am' implies a total lack of understanding of repentance, indicates a spirit of pride, as if we are blameless or in some way lacking in any guilt.
|God loves you just as you are? You won't be needing us then!|
Now, in all this I would not say that those who 'come out' in public, especially if they are Christians, are doing something terrible. What I object to is this defiant gesture in 'coming out' that rejects the most fundamental principles of the Christian teaching on sin and salvation. If someone wants to say, 'I am gay and/or I have had sexual relationships with others of the same sex, but God loves me' I cannot object. The phrase 'God loves me' can easily imply, 'even though I have sinned so many times against Him'.
|"Hand over the money and, while we are at it, remember that God loves me just as I am..."|
However, if someone says the same and adds to the end of that assertion this is 'because God loves me just as I am' that person, whoever they are, has, it can be argued, rejected the Christian Faith, because the same phrase can be used by the pornographer, the adulterer, the terrorist, the miser and the thief. If God loves us 'just as we are' we can, by implication, wallow in our mortal sins until we die or Christ returns, with no compunction whatsoever.
God loves me. I don't know why, but God loves me. It is certainly no doing on my part that God loves me. I give God a million reasons not to love me, but God loves me. I may not be fit for Heaven by the end of my life, that is unlikely, but God loves me and if by His grace I die in a state of grace, strengthened by the Sacraments of Holy Church, He will show me His Salvation, the glory stored up for me and all who long for the reward that He alone can give, but if with my many faults, I believe that God loves me 'just as I am', then I, along with a host of Christian celebs, am utterly deluded, for, as St John says, 'if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.'
|*I charge a 10% service charge and, remember, God loves me just as I am|
What Jesus does offer to us is healing, a very different thing, and a continuous process of healing it is that will, if not completed in this life, be completed in the life to come. Is it really that controversial to hold onto that view? How do these celebrity lesbians and homosexuals know God loves them 'just as I am'? Where is that in Scripture? For all they know, God might have a plan for them to marry someone of the opposite sex for their eternal happiness and for His Glory, or some other path.
I guess that if I had maintained consistently, since my conversion to the Catholic Faith, that God loves me 'just as I am', I wouldn't be getting married to a person of the opposite sex in a Catholic Church this year, but then, hey, there is no accounting for those freaky Catholics who actually believe the Church's teaching. Best to go with the flow and see where it goes. Eh? No? Let's face it, there is only one 'coming out narrative' that the World wants and that just so happens to be the one that refuses to honour Christ and His Church and that spreads the 'LGBTQI' agenda around the globe. I guess that's just a co-incidence we'll all just have to live with.