About a month ago, I realized that I was saying one particular prayer wrong. When I enter a church or chapel, I kneel and pray, and start with, “Lord Jesus Christ, please forgive me because I am a sinner…” and go from there.

What is wrong in my prayer is the word because. It is not needed in the sentence. I am a sinner. I know that. God knows that. I need to emphasize asking for forgiveness of my sins, not because I am a sinner. To ask to be forgiven because I am a sinner is the same as asking to be forgiven for being human, or male, or having brown eyes. I have no control over my nature, my being, my essence. It is what I am. (Ontological is the 14-point Scrabble word that describes this.)

To really twist my mind around this, God made me that way. So how can I be sorry for something God made a part of my nature? At times, I am repulsed by the darkness in my heart, those tendencies to capital sins hidden within my false self, my manufactured ego, that are the root causes of my petty venial sins and threaten mortal sin. How I wish I would not sin and turn away from God, to stop being selfish and preoccupied with my self, to wither the pride away. I wish I could pluck out the weeds among the wheat in my heart. Ah, but many weeds will remain until the end (Parable of the Weeds) and God will use them as He wants.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Here’s the paradox. God made me. He continues to make me. I am a sinner. And despite my sin nature, God loves me. God loves all of me. “Love the sinner, not the sins.” How do I love my dark side too? How do I accept all of the gift of me? Thank you Lord for creating me. Everything belongs in you. Help me to receive all of me so that I can give all of me back to you.

God loves me, just because.

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