One spring morning I rolled my trash can to the street. It was about 7:00. The sun was rising. The sweet fragrance of honeysuckle hung in the warm air. It was a lovely day. But another smell was wafting on the breeze, too. A skunk had decided to liven things up a bit. I could still smell the honeysuckle, but the pungent odor of skunk spoiled the perfection.
The Bible says, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:1-2). The church is a beautiful place, a place where people of all races and walks in life can find harmony and mutual love. It is a place where sinners can find grace and complete forgiveness. It is a place where simple and beautiful worship is offered up to God. It is a place where wounded people find emotional healing. It is a place where the discouraged hear words of hope. And the essence of life and love in the church is the sweet fragrance of the sacrifice of Jesus.
But in our grasp lies the power to foul the air. All we have to do is gossip about other members, take
offense when none is intended, refuse to forgive, or be impatient and critical. A little skunk spray goes a long way!
Let’s work hard at resisting the impulses leading us to spoil the beauty of life in the church. The Bible says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:12-14).