Pastor Larson’s Corner: Side effects


In my retirement I watch way too much TV. Consequently, I see a lot of advertisements, and a high percentage of them are for drugs of various kinds. Last week I watched an ad for a drug to counteract one of the chief side effects of another very popular drug. At the end of the ad, it listed a number of side effects that it also produced. I wondered if there would soon be drugs produced to counteract the effects of the counteracting drugs. Unfortunately, when it comes to taking drugs, it is difficult to avoid the side effects.

A similar thing happens in our everyday lives. Our bad behaviors have side effects and they are often difficult or impossible to avoid. For example, it might feel good to get angry at someone and say cruel and unkind things. However, the unfortunate side effect of such behavior may be the loss of a relationship you earlier treasured. You may be jealous or envious of someone and end up becoming a bitter and vengeful person. Or you may think that hating someone can’t hurt you and yet having hate in your heart can destroy your ability to live in joy and love.

Jesus said we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He said this because He knew about side effects. He knew that if we turned the other cheek instead of striking back, we could avoid all the bad stuff that comes with jealousy, hatred, and anger. It may be difficult to imagine living this way when we are in the midst of pain. It will help us if we remember that following the way of Christ has positive side effects, things like joy, hope, peace, and happiness.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the May 6, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.