To most folks it’s pleasant when someone enters a room and as they do an amazingly wonderful smell of a soft perfume or cologne wafts through the air. The smell is not too strong, nor too weak—it’s just right. It’s not pungent or overwhelming. It’s a tasteful and pleasant smell. I’m always tempted to compliment the person wearing it simply to give them a spontaneous affirmation of their choice of perfume. Tempted is the operative word, because I don’t typically say anything unless I know the person well. My hesitancy is a sign of today’s times I suppose.
On the flip side, I physically react when, under the same scenario as above, the person is wearing what I often say (under my breath) “stuff that would gag a maggot.” I envision them literally dumping the whole bottle on themselves, and possibly having a sensory issue to boot. That stuff doesn’t smell, it, well, stinks. Typically, I find myself gagging a bit from the strong unpleasant odor.
At times people are like the wonderful perfumes and colognes. There is nothing better than being in a room, or crowd, with someone who easily and freely radiates unabashed natural kindness, love, compassion, and empathy. I find that I want to be around them. Their attitudes and examples make me desire their companionship and I enjoy the time with them as they radiate their goodness unabashedly. It’s good for the soul and the fragrance of their goodness lingers pleasantly in my mind long after they are gone.
However, there are some folks who just plain stink. They are grouchy, petulant, negative, rude and crude, often feel victimized, and they are impossible to enjoy being around. They’re simply not very lovable, just like the “body wash” cited above that would gag the maggot.
My awakening comes, as perhaps yours does, when I remember, or am reminded (yikes!) that Jesus never mentioned anything about smells and stinks when He commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In fact, He seemed to have a penchant for hanging out with the stinkers as He consistently modeled how to radically love all others.
Another life lesson.