Thanks be to God who leads us, wherever we are, on his own triumphant way and makes our knowledge of him spread throughout the world like a lovely perfume! We Christians have the unmistakeable “scent” of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to those who are heading for death. To the latter it seems like the very smell of doom, to the former it has the fresh fragrance of life itself. (JBP)
One of the great Christian founders of monasticism, St Benedict, once said that there were only two fundamental questions to ask regarding our relationships with others. One was, “Did we see Jesus in the other person?” And the other was, “Did they see Jesus in us?”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everywhere we went we would leave around us a whiff of something beautiful and good! A sweet smelling aroma that hints at a better way of living. For that to happen, we need to reflect something of Jesus in our words and actions. Which means a realignment of our hearts which govern our words and actions. We won’t be perfect, but we will at least be aware of the impact we have on others. And the sort of witness we are to the good news of Jesus.
And for that to happen, we need not just to pay attention to ourselves but to others. To see them as made in the image of God and as loved by God. To avoid easy categorisation and polarisation. This is not naïve sentimentality. It does not ignore human frailty and even wickedness. It just recognises that God’s love embraces all humankind not just those who play by his rules.
And as our text reminds us, we don’t necessarily get applause for being such good ambassadors for Jesus. For some, our godly scent is nothing more than a bad smell.