Sunday, 12 April 2015

Thankful for 'Smelly' People


One of the things that keeps me awake at night is the mystery of why the phrase "Smell you later" has never caught on. While my wife anxiously awaits a text from one of our newly minted teenage drivers saying they've arrived safely; I'm thinking of odour. (And, if I really want to engage in a mental pursuit, I'll consider whether railway tracks are bent on site, or if they bend them at the steel mill before they're installed. Ah, but I digress...)

Of our five senses, why have our greetings gravitated toward sight - as in "Nice to see you", or "See you later"? Substitute any of the other four senses for the word 'see' and you're in for a societal lesson on appropriateness! I couldn't (nor wouldn't) say to my wife's sister...for example..."Nice to taste you" or "Nice to touch you". You get the idea. I hope. Clearly, I'm not a trained psychologist, but I think that sight is less invasive of personal space...and probably the most hygienic and the least threatening!

But smell - more than sight - is one of those senses that you associate with places you've been or things you've experienced. All I have to say is "fish market" and not only will you picture the scene, but its 'fish stink' will invade your imagination as well. Or, a smell may remind you of a time when you became violently ill after eating some pork back ribs. Conversely, a real estate agent will tell you that the smell of freshly baked bread or cookies will invoke happy memories and may expedite an offer to buy a house. Or, the smell of coffee brewing might bring you back to grandma's house.

People smell; and their smell will either create positive or negative impressions. I'm not talking about body odor I'm referring to our actions, both verbal and non-verbal. I'm especially conscious of my smell - my Christian smell. Do my actions and words give off an aroma that is inviting or a stench that is revolting?  When I'm speaking to other Christians in the presence of non-Christians, is my conversational odor inviting or nauseating? These are important questions if I'm to take my witness for Christ seriously.

However, I'm thankful that Jesus can smell through it all. The smell of Lazurus' 4 day-old dead body didn't deter Jesus from raising Lazurus from the dead (John 11:39); and I'm grateful that Jesus wasn't repelled by my smell. He didn't mind that the places I've been, the thoughts I've had, or my actions emitted a certain repugnancy. No, instead he called me in spite of my 'eau de barnyard' and has made me clean.

I'm thankful for others who 'smell' like Jesus, whose cologne or perfume is heaven scent. I'm thankful for smelly Christians and their smelly witness! But don't worry I won't be invading your personal space anytime soon.

Smell ya later! Or, if you prefer, catch you on the flip side!

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