There’s a story about a boy who comes home and doesn’t know the pastor is paying a visit to his mum at that moment. He runs into the house, carrying a dead rat, and shouts, ‘Mum, 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 stamped on it. Then I picked it up and hurled it against the wall.’ Then he sees the pastor, and the look on his mum’s face – and realises he’s in trouble. So, he holds the rat up and adds in a pious voice, ‘And then the dear Lord called him home.’ That’s the kind of talk people slip into when they want to hide their flaws and appear more ‘spiritual’. 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 give up because he realised 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).