Hannah Riccardi

jakeBlog

An Open Letter to the #LifeAfterGod and larger atheist community,

I stumbled across your page after finding one of your hashtags and discovered the status update: “Ended Relationship with God,” Intrigued, I scrolled through the page, curious to know what would prompt the ending of such a meaningful relationship in one’s life and my heart broke to read some of the experiences.

I am not here to shame you, shun you, bring holy wrath, or any other such things that it has become apparent that several of your members have experienced. However, I would be delighted to start a conversation. After careful analysis, I’d like to address a series of perspectives that seem from this page to form the core of the termination of the relationship. The first of these is the perfection myth, the idea that may have come from a religious place of authority saying that you must achieve a certain morality or be “good enough,” in order to be a good Christian.

It was phrased beautifully in a post on the page: “When you stop trying to be good enough you can focus on being good,”

First, just to establish the core of my argument. You don’t have to be good enough and God never said you had to be. For the sake of argument let’s believe biblical statements for the duration of the next few paragraphs.

Romans 3:23 tells us “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” We have all failed together, we have all missed perfection. However, Romans 4:25 says “[Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification,” this means that our sins are paid for. Our good enough is met where it is, and you are redeemed whether you’re the good enough. Champion or felon, it doesn’t matter, you’re redeemed, you’re covered, forgiven, made new.

In those two verses, we are released from the trap of “good enough,” To be good enough is unattainable and thankfully it does not have to be attained. The price has already been paid, there is no debt.

The other beautiful part of this is that we believe that God is all-knowing and is the Creator (Psalm 145:4-5; Genesis 1:1). If these two statements are true, that means that God knew every mistake and short coming that you would ever make and created you regardless. You were not created to have to be good enough. You were not built to have to constantly meet a standard.

Ephesians 2:8-9 brings this home for us “For it is by grace we are saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God has never stipulated the “good enough gospel”, grace steps in the place of effort. God’s grace, according to scripture, says that we’re saved not by what we’ve done, but because of grace and faith. It has nothing to do with being good enough or earning it.

And so, in conclusion, I agree that once we let go of being good enough and the fear gospel that comes along with that mentality, we can focus on being good, on growing as people, on living out the grace that we have been given. However, it is not an absence of God that frees us from the good enough clause, to be good enough is in fact a very human measurement.  To be good enough is to find a justification on why you deserve to be loved. To be good enough implies that there is a fear of not being good enough, and for this I offer one last verse: 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out all fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

You are loved, you are enough, and you are redeemed by grace.