Saturday morning I left my home to run some errands and when I came back and walked in the kitchen area, I noticed an unpleasant odor, not unlike that of a potato starting to rot. Investigating further, I decided that the odor was probably from the bag of potatoes in my pantry. They had been sitting in there long enough to start sprouting, and not looking any further, I threw them away. The odor lingered, but I assumed that it would dissipate fairly quickly now that the potatoes were gone. But it is a funny thing about odors. Sometimes when you are in them long enough, you do not even smell them anymore.
Sunday morning I left for church and when I returned home once again a slightly foul stench greeted me. This time I was determined to find out what it was and tackled my refrigerator and pantry with zeal to find the culprit! I threw out a couple of oranges that had started to go bad and discarded anything that had passed its expiration date. I have to tell you, my pantry has not been this organized since I moved in my house. BUT, I found the culprit. There it was–a small loaf of bagel thins that had disintegrated into mold when they had slid into a hiding place behind some cans. No doubt about it, when I got a whiff of the package, I knew I had found the problem.
But, alas, when I came home from work this evening, that smell was still around–only stronger. On a mission, I opened the refrigerator only to realize that even though I had thrown out some fruit that was starting to go bad, I had somehow missed the small bag of brussel sprouts in the vegetable bin. If you have ever smelled rotten cabbage, you know why I hastily ran the package to the garbage and have FINALLY eliminated the nasty odor.
For some reason, this experience has made me think about sin in our lives. Somehow sin sneaks up on us and we do not realize we have a problem until we start to “smell the stink.” We start to have that small little niggle of doubt and suddenly realize we have drifted away from God. We have stopped spending time reading His Word and talking with Him. We have stopped loving fellowship with others and started letting bad habits take over. When we get to this point, we tend to look first for the things that everyone will recognize as sin in our lives, like cheating or lying, and we work on getting rid of those. But there are still those underlying things that cause us to drift from God. Things that get in the way.
Because we have not dealt with the truth of our sins, we get used to the odor, but occasionally, we still find ourselves getting a whiff of the stench. To get rid of the smell, it frequently takes a thorough look at areas in our lives that we would rather not confront. When we take a deep look and see the sins that lie within us it is not pretty. There may be some more obvious sins such as sexual sins, drunkenness, gluttony and more that need to be confronted. But we may still struggle with the smell, because we have not taken care of some of those core sins that lead to many other excesses. Sins like jealousy, envy, pride, bitterness, gossip and more are sometimes harder for us to root out and get rid of because we would rather ignore them.
I do not know about you, but I know that I am forever grateful to God, who has seen fit to forgive my sins. And I pray that when I start to smell a stench, I will carefully search out the culprit so that I can be a pleasing aroma to God.
I John 1:9 (NASB) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”