2015_0218_BeMyValentine

Agape Although A-Stinky

by Joanna Pierce on February 15, 2017

I’ve always had a fairly sensitive nose. Truth be told, the ‘ole schnoz has been more of an irritation than a help through the years as I’ve suffered through sneezing at the result of smelling, well anything. (Allergies are not all the fun and games they’re cracked up to be.)

But, my sensitive beak aside, as a child I was keenly aware of the way I smelled. I was huge advocate for taking baths and showers; one must keep squeaky clean! And, in being cognizant of the way I smelled, I had an intense awareness of the way others smelled as well.

Whether or not you’re in the same boat—having a well-honed snout on your face—you can’t judge me too much for not wanting to sit by the aromatic kids in school. I knew who the stinky ones were, and I could smell them a mile away.

Not wanting to sit near malodorous children obviously hampered my ability to befriend them. When you’re stationed across the room, it’s not easy to offer up a toy, pencil, or fruit cup to the fragrant individual. And, it was more difficult to talk with them, or even show them a little love in spite of their odor.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35, KJV).

We’re commanded to love one another in Scripture. The word love, is agape in the Greek. This is not just a “like you a lot” love, or even a “friendship” love, but the kind of love our Savior showed when He sacrificed Himself on the cross.

In life, we’re going to come in contact with individuals who don’t make our list of pleasant bouquets for one reason or another—they may be attitudinal, rude, outlandish, frustrating, hateful, or even smell. Even as adults, we’d like to sit across the room from them and keep at least a 10-foot pole between us and them.

But, we can’t truly love, or agape, someone when we’re standing up against a wall, ducking through doorways, avoiding phone calls, wearing clothes pins on our nose, etc. We’re called to love people regardless of what they do to us (Matthew 5:44) and regardless of what they look or smell like.

Instead, let’s first think about the way we might smell. When we upturn our nose at others, and refuse to love them for one reason or another, we don’t don a glorious scent, but in fact just the opposite. We become the stinky ones, with a cold, dead heart, unwilling to love all people and be called a disciple.

So today, let’s remember to love others—agape others—no matter the reason. We need to agape although people may be a little stinky.