The reason I gave up on religion

A few days ago I saw a post on social media that jolted my heart. It’s not the first time I saw a post like this one and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It basically said something like “I could never be religious because of all the bad things that happen to good people and how all these good things happen to bad people.” They didn’t understand why God would want good people to hurt. My first reaction was to quickly respond, but something told me not to. Something inside said to think about it first. And as I did I realized I gave up on religion a long time ago too.

Religion told me I needed to be perfect and if I wasn’t then I’d be punished. Religion told me I needed to do A, B and C, and if I didn’t then God would be mad at me. Religion told me that God was an angry, punishing God that I didn’t deserve to get close to. I remember not being able to live up to that “religious person” and I gave up too. And when I did, I spiraled one mistake after the next. Then after about ten years of being completely lost in a dark world, I shouted to God “YOU KNOW MY HEART AND YOU KNOW IT’S GOOD! SO, WHY DID YOU GIVE UP ON ME!?!” And in that moment I fell to me knees and cried. Then just as I felt at my loneliest and saddest, this still small voice whispered to my heart “I’ve never given up on you. I’ve been here all along. I’ve been waiting on you to get close to me and all this yelling you’re doing is the closest you’ve ever come to a relationship with me.” Talk about a reality check. Or should I say a “heaven check.” Suddenly I understood that religion wasn’t EVER what God wanted from me.

You see, God wants a real, authentic, heart to heart, love relationship. And literally in an instant, my world began to change. I just started sharing my TRUE heart with Him and little by little I realized we were friends. I began a close, intimate relationship as a sinner with a perfect God! And I felt unimaginable love. After some months of feeling His perfect love, in return I began to believe I DESERVED it. For the first time in my life I felt what it meant to really love God and because of that I wanted to honor him with my life because I loved him so much.

Being religious means you work for the good things in life. It says that the way you behave leads to what you get and how your life will turn out. But you and I did nothing all those years ago to deserve eternal life and have our sins washed away when Jesus hung on the cross. “Even when you were dead in your sin, he made you alive with Jesus. Because of his immense love for you he gave you grace.” Ephesians 2:5

Life, death and the tragedy of this world hurts ALL of us. But it’s in those trials we have a chance to know God. How would we know he was a healer if no one were ever sick? How would we know he was a comforter if no one we loved ever died or if we never felt pain? How would we ever feel like his “bride” if we were never lonely? We fall deeply in love with Him when we EXPERIENCE Him!

So, how did I finally respond to that Facebook post? I responded in the same way I’m going to end this.

Jesus was hung on a cross. Bad things even happen to a sinless man. It’s not this life we live for but the eternal life that we look forward to in the end.

This post is devoted to my Grandmom Myra. Please pray for her health and if it’s God’s will that she go, pray that she finds herself dancing with our amazing Father in heaven. I can only imagine what that dance must be like!

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