What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:21 (NASB)
In business a better product brings greater profit. Adhesive companies such as 3M know this. Producing stronger adhesives than competing companies brings superior profit. A 3M employee, Spencer Silver, worked to make the next big thing in adhesives. However, his attempts to make a super strong adhesive instead produced quite the opposite. It was so weak his management considered it a failure. The new product was effectively shelved until one of his co-workers, a chemical engineer named Art Fry, went to church.
As the video above relates: Fry sang in his church choir and had a continuing problem of page markers falling out of the hymnal he used. Luckily he remembered Silver’s “failed” low-tack adhesive and applied it to the slips of paper he used as markers. The markers stuck to the page but did not damage them. Luck? I don’t believe so after all Proverbs 16:33 says,”The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” A need for a weak adhesive and an inspired moment in church gave birth of the world-changing office product, the Post-It Note. This super weak adhesive, first thought a failure, continues to be one of 3M company’s best selling products. Strength sometimes comes through gentleness.
Two sought-after types of evidence are hairs and fibers. In the late 80’s while searching a vehicle for evidence I noted a single hair waving very proudly at me from the driver’s seat head rest. Its appearance was consistent with that of the suspect description so I determined it valuable evidence. Traditionally when searching a vehicle for evidence, sections of seats and floorboards are “taped.” A small section of the surface is covered with a paper tape. The tape is then pulled away lifting surface hairs and fibers. An analyst then examines the trace lift for evidence and comparison. It is important that the tape is low-tack. If it is not evidence can be damaged when the analyst retrieves it from the lift.
My choices of retrieval were either using tape or a pair of tweezers. Since I specifically wanted the analyst to look at this hair I did not want to mix it with other surface material. I needed a specific collection method. Tweezers were my next option. However, as my wife will verify to this day, when trying to be delicate, I am often quite clumsy. Remembering this I decided tweezers were out. I thought of cutting a small piece of tape and then inspiration struck me…Post-It Note!
Taking a note from a new package I easily retrieved the hair, and secured it by folding the note over on itself. The analyst had little trouble retrieving the hair due to the extreme low-tack of the adhesive. It turned out the technique and medium worked well. I cannot say that I am the first to use Post-It Notes for this. I can say that I am the first person I know who did. For the last 20+ years I have used it for collecting specific hairs, fibers, paint chips, and many other small items of delicate evidence. I have also taught the technique many times as well to law enforcement personnel.
To this day I use them for collection of strong evidence that requires a gentle touch. The photo above is from a more recent crime scene in which the point of entry was a boarded up window. The scene yielded very little in the way of fingerprint or shoe impressions. The hair caught in wood at the point of entry though provided a color and hair type of the suspect. If you will notice the end of the hair on the right side bears a root, which is a DNA source prized by analysts.
In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church (verse 4:21) he wrote regarding conduct of members. Very plainly he asked them if they wanted him to come to them with strong disciplinary measures or with a gentle touch. He gave them the choice to straighten up or face harsh penalties. Throughout history God Almighty gave mankind the choice between strict laws and harsh rule, or gentleness and a loving relationship. Mankind continually chose the path leading to harsh. In the fullness of time God gave them the gentlest of alternate options in His Son. It was Jesus Christ Himself who said, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” His gentleness provided a strength that changed everything.
Eventually we will all have to choose gentleness in a loving relationship with God or harsh punishment outside of it. Take note (pun intended)!
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