Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's a side effect

I woke up this morning thinking "It's a Side Effect". Before I explain that further let's talk about side effects.

As we hear those pharmaceutical advertisements, at the end, you will hear "Side effects include...." and a bunch of nasty things that happen.

Sometimes, however, the side effect becomes the desired thing. Let me put my techie hat on and talk amplification. The goal of audio amplification traditionally is to have a small input signal from say a guitar or microphone be amplified through the electronic circuits and come out sounding louder. Originally it was done using tube components which are very inefficient and are not very durable (they can be broken easily). Solid state transistors came along and solved those problems but there was a side effect.

As a signal is overdriven (too much input signal) inside a tube system, the experts say that the distortion (variation from the original signal) produces odd harmonics. As a signal is overdriven (too much input signal) inside a system, the experts say that the distortion (variation from the original signal) produces odd harmonics which, while not accurate, can be pleasing to the human ear. In a transistor system, that same overdriven signal produces even harmonics which is not so pleasing to the human ear. Much of the audio world is now using solid state with one exception. Guitar amplification is done primarily with tube so you can get that warm distortion that you hear in nearly all modern music. The side-effect has become the desired product.

Back to the discussion at hand. As someone seeking to follow Christ, we are given two commands in Matthew 22:37-40.
Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
So, why no more? It's the side effect. If we do those two things, all the moral issues we face in the world go away. No, I don't mean that the world gets more moral. What I mean is that if we obey these two things, the whole 10 commandments thing goes away in our own lives. We also see that issues around giving to and loving others goes away.

The problem that I woke up thinking about is that too often, we are looking for the side effect to become the end product. In other words, we expect those around us to act morally, obeying those 10 commandments just because they are there, not because they are following the two above. We expect people to "act Christian" even if they are not following those two commands.

Matthew 6:31-33 goes right along with the passage above...
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

Let's quit looking at the side effects and considering them the end result... Seek after God first and let the rest take care of itself!

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