Goofy Side Effects

The other day I was watching a television commercial for medicine that dealt with skeletal pain. At the end, a soothing voice counseled, “Tell your doctor if you have suicidal thoughts.”

“Suicidal thoughts!” You mean that a possible side effect of healing my painful skeleton is that I might want to blow my brains out? Hmmm… I may think awhile before taking that stuff. A skeleton isn’t worth much without a brain.

We had an elderly Luxembourgish friend who always read the little notices about possible side effects of whatever she took. And Tata Finney often refused to take the medicine afterwards.

You laugh at her? Have you ever read those notices?

“Taking this medicine has small undesirable effects in a few cases. Some people have been known to sprout a second nose. Still others have seen their nose and ear hair grow to two feet in length, but this is relatively rare. Others have observed a slight increase in desire for food (one man ate two cows). A small percentage of users see purple dinosaurs and a clinically insignificant number have imagined that they were the Prince of Siam.

“If you notice any of these symptoms, or other weird stuff, consult your doctor immediately.”

So, if you have one chance out of 100,000 to go bonkers, is it really worth it just to get rid of a cold? Most of the time we either don’t read those things figuring it will never happen to us anyway.

But, a few times in my life, the medicine made me feel worse than the sickness. In some cases, you have to weigh the good a treatment will do against the harm it will definitely cause your body.

You know what? Sin should come with one of those papers that describe undesirable side effects–

…broken relationships
…vanished dreams
…sickened bodies
…regrets and sadness
…spiritual coldness
…wasted years of life
…eternal shame
And a thousand other things.

It should be noted that “side effects” appear 100% of the time.

Satan never lists the possible side effects. I wonder if we could sue him. Fortunately God lists them plainly in His Word for those who make the effort to read it.

And does God list the side effects of serving Him? Let’s see …

“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” (“Matthew 10:38-40, MSG)

Would you be surprised if I said that there are “positive” aspects of sin? If it weren’t attractive people wouldn’t get caught.

“He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward. ” Heb. 11: 25-26,CEV)

Are those ephemeral pleasures of sin worth the eternal side effects?

Sure there are some tough times if we serve the Lord, too. But is it worth it? You bet ‘cha!

“I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  (Deuteronomy 30:19, msg)

Choose your medicine wisely.


Hummm …

Someone said, “The only one who likes change is a baby with a dirty diaper.”

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