The Scent of Love by Nancy J. Farrier

Photo by Mahdi Bafande on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, in church, a woman sat in front of us for the service. I’ve met this woman and she is very nice. However, she must be a heavy smoker. The smell of cigarette smoke clung to her and permeated the air around us. There was no way to avoid the stench as we were worshiping and in such close proximity.

I have an allergy to a lot of scents and cigarette smoke is one of those. I get an immediate headache, my chest hurts, and I don’t feel good. The church was pretty full and moving after the service started, and I noticed the smell, seemed rude.

As I sat there, struggling with the aches, I couldn’t help thinking about being called to love everyone. Which then led to considering God’s unconditional love for us. 

“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” Isaiah 64:6a

Consider how we came before God, clothed in our filthy rags, stinking like someone who is very unclean. Like filthy used rags that no one wants to touch. Every one of us who are a child of God approached in this manner because none of us became clean until God cleansed us. 

We smelled. We were repulsive. We were someone everyone else would turn away from in disgust.

What did God do? When we came to Him, broken and asking forgiveness, He opened His arms and welcomed us like the lost lamb that we were. He loves us so much, and all he asks is that we surrender all to Him. Even in our smelliest state, He’s there for us. No matter what we’ve done to become so foul, His arms are open.

As I pondered this, I considered all those who might make us uncomfortable—a homeless person, someone with a disability, a person with a mental issue—and the list can go on. There are people whose personalities clash with ours or those who are so quiet they are overlooked. 

All of these people are easy to overlook or avoid as unlovable. Possibly because we don’t know how to approach them. Yet, God reaches out to each one just as Jesus did when He walked the earth. The leper. The tax collector. The fishermen. 

In order to be Christlike, we must look for those opportunities to reach out to those we normally would avoid. We must extend the love of God to them, even when it is physically difficult. We must see them through God’s eyes.

My discomfort over the smell of smoke was temporary. A small trial worth the lesson from God. A reminder of how much He loves me despite those times when I carry an unpleasant aroma. And a reminder of how He sees me now.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15 (NKJV)

About Nancy J. Farrier

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn't writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:
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