Poet and author Charlotte Elliott finished this well-known hymn in 1836. One of her main inspirations for it came from an acquaintance with Dr. César Malan of Geneva.
One night Dr. Malan, a friend of Charlotte’s father, was seated next to Charlotte at one of her father’s dinner parties. Charlotte had been present due to a severe illness that had left her a permanent invalid. During a simple conversation, Dr. Malan asked Charlotte if she knew herself to be a real Christian. She coldly answered that religion was a matter she did not wish to discuss. Dr. Malan kindly replied, that he would not pursue a subject that displeased her, but would pray that she might give her heart to Christ, and employ in His service the talents with which He had gifted her. After a few days Charlotte apologized to Dr. Malan. She said that she wanted to clean up some things in her life before becoming a Christian. Malan looked at her and answered, “Come just as you are.” That response resonated with Charlotte, and she gave herself to Jesus Christ that day.
Fourteen years later, remembering those words spoken to her by Dr. Malan in Brighton, England, she wrote “Just As I Am,” a hymn used to touch others who have responded to Christ’s invitation to come just as they are.