Summary: Religion promises life and then it sickens! It steals hope, joy and eventually life! Are you contaminated with an RTD? The cure is
One of the scary things about certain diseases is that you can be infected and not even be aware of the presence of the disease until later in life. On the outside everything seems normal. Daily activities are uninterrupted. Life moves on down the road. However, either age (like 40) or something else triggers the emergence of signs that show up and reveal that something is wrong. Symptoms begin to reveal that there is something going on below the surface of normality. The same thing can happen spiritually. It is possible to be infected with a RTD and at the same time look like and be esteemed as a hero of the faith. However, eventually as pressures increase the facade cracks and indications of a deeper sickness is seen. I want to look at an example of that this morning as we wrap up this series about RTDs.
I want you to join me in Exodus. Moses has arrived on the scene. God's people have been slaves in Egypt for 400 years and they have cried out for a deliverer. The Pharaoh gets word of this and decrees that all male children must be killed. Moses' mother puts him in a basket in the Nile and the Pharaoh's daughter finds him and keeps him while allowing Moses' mother to nurse him. So, Moses grows up in a weird situation. He is a Jew but he isn't with his people. He is educated and trained by the Egyptians but he isn't one of them either. Away from father, mother, family. Finally he takes matters into his own hands and kills an Egyptian that is beating a Jew and the Jews he is trying to protect reject Moses and he runs and hides. The key word there is reject. The rejection that Moses experiences as a child and then as a young adult infects him with a disease and the symptoms of that disease can be seen throughout his entire life - he deals with anger - he strikes a rock he is supposed to speak to and he breaks the commandment tablets when he sees the people sinning by worshipping the golden calf. The anger is just a symptom of the disease. Anger is a secondary issue. You don't get mad first. You get mad second. There is underlying issue that causes anger. Let's see if we can identify the real issue.
Exodus 18:7-9, 13-17
So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them. Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.” Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good.
Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, sees that Moses is killing himself and the people and so he asks this question, "What are you doing? This is crazy. Moses’ response isn't a one word answer like I am judging for the people but rather he gives a detailed list. The people need me to seek God's will for them. They need me to settle disputes and they need me to teach them what God says. Moses is seeking affirmation! Jethro responds what you are doing is not good. Moses was sick. Moses’ real issue was that, due to his struggle with rejection, he was infected with a Performance Pathogen. He was determined to be good enough, to meet every need, to be the answer!
I think this is a disease that many of us suffer with. It is why we will ignore the most important relationships in our life while we kill ourselves to impress people we don't even like. I think it is why we will purchase items we can't afford just to get looks of jealousy from people we don't even know. I think it is why we fight feelings of inadequacy and secretly long to live someone else's life. It is why we will do things we don't even really want to do if someone will applaud us as we do it.