How Do You Smell?

what's that smellHave you ever hugged someone or shaken hands with someone only to find that you’re carrying their scent with you throughout your day?

That might not be a bad thing, depending on what the scent is. I have a son who is on the brink of becoming a teenager. His hygiene hasn’t been made a priority as of yet, so his scent isn’t always one that I’d like to carry with me throughout my day. At the same time, I shook hands with someone the other day and hugged them. Later on, when I rubbed my nose to relieve the effects of the pollen heavy air, I could smell the cologne that the person had been wearing.

Scent and smell are funny things. When my wife was pregnant, her sense of smell heightened to the place of superhero status. She could smell anything sooner than me, which is a feat as I have a fairly keen sense of smell. Smells that would normally be appealing to her were repugnant during those months of pregnancy.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:15, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” As I thought about that lingering smell from my friend’s cologne, I couldn’t help but think of this verse and wonder what smell I’m leaving with everyone that I meet. When they are reminded hours or days later of our meeting, is the lingering aroma something that is pleasing to their olfactory receptors? Does the memory of that meeting cause some kind of visceral response in them, reminding them of the distastefulness of the encounter?

As I talked to a friend the other day about a recent dinner I attended where people had gathered from various faith and belief backgrounds, I told her that I was doing my best to be liberal in love.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be a mindset among many in the evangelical Christian world that liberality in love means you are somehow compromising your values and convictions. I have a hard time believing that this is the case though. That’s generally not the way that Jesus operated either. Somehow, he was able to hold to convictions and embrace holiness while at the same time being liberal in his giving of love.

As I go through my day today, I hope that the smell that emanates from me is pleasing to those around me. That doesn’t mean that I compromise my convictions, it just means that I seek to meet people where they are, love them, and point them to Jesus, because if I smell good, it’s because of him. If I smell bad, I don’t think that’s anyone’s fault but my own…..unless of course the aroma of Christ hits someone the wrong way, but that’s a topic for another post.


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