Friday, 14 September 2012

You Smell, Buddy!

I think something curled up and died in my garage. It’s probably a mouse, and maybe more than one. Talk about a stink!

That’s the problem with rodent poisons as opposed to traps. With traps the mice are caught and killed in place, which makes it easier to dispose of the carcass afterwards. With poisons they don’t die instantly, but remain alive long enough for them to scamper off and die in some hard to get at place. It’s almost as if poisons give them the last laugh because the stink of their perishing continues long after they’re dead and gone. Note to self: Forget the poisons; invest in the traps.

As I was reading this morning, I came upon some verses that caused me to sit up and say, “Hmm, sort of like the mouse in my garage.” We too have an aroma to us, whether we realize it or not, that is discernable to others. The only question is, do we have a living and fresh fragrance to us, or a fatal odor much like my dead and decomposing mouse? What was I reading? It was this:
"But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernable alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing: To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?] For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling God’s Word [shortchanging and adulterating the divine message]; but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God." (2 Corinthians 2: 14-17; Amplified).
Now maybe this is a little unorthodox, but I could not help but wonder, what do you smell like? What do I smell like? Do we carry in and on us the fragrance of Christ, or do we maybe smell more like a dead and rotting garage mouse? Having said that, do some Christians stink? And if so, does (or can) their stink infest and contaminate other members of the Body of Christ? Hmm, I wonder.

There are a lot of things that can cause Christians to stink, such as the hucksters who notoriously peddle God’s word for profit that Paul speaks of. Do you know anyone who fits that description? I can think of a few people that I would place into that group, but that’s another story for another day. Sometimes it’s the perceptions of others that exposes the stink in us, as I wrote about in Jesus Loves You, But Everyone Else Thinks You're An *#@%*&#^#!. There I asked, do the perceptions of others matter? I believe they do. Their negative perceptions are often even justified.

I remember a book I read years ago called "I Hate Witnessing." In it author Dick Innes told about a time he sat on an airplane and, feeling the need to share his faith with the person next to him, prayed, "God, I hate witnessing for you." He immediately sensed God saying back to him, "Good, Dick, I hate the way you witness for me too." Could that be our story as well? Hmm, given the amount of negative PR Christianity often receives, and given the far too regular accusation of hypocrisy by the world, one has to at least wonder.

I certainly don’t want to be legalistic or religious about this, regardless of what ultimately causes the stink. However, I am starting to be a little more conscious about the kind of witness I am in the world around me. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Maybe if we all focussed on that a little more, then perhaps together we could get rid of some of that stink that has somehow crept into the church. Maybe then there there would be fewer Christians who carry on their person the BO of "[a fatal odor, the smell of doom]" of rotting mouse flesh (if I can be that crude), and more who truly carry on them "the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God ... an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]."
"For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17; NIV).
That's the way I see it anyway. Peace.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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