I was out by myself running some errands and needed to grab a quick bit to eat. I usually don’t go much of anywhere without someone. Being my extroverted self, I really don’t like eating alone. Though I tried to see if someone could meet me for lunch, I gave in to the discomfort of my solo lunch. As I stood in line there was an older man a few people in front of me. He seemed somewhat perturbed that the line was taking so long as he sighed and mumbled a few times under his breath, “Can’t you hurry up!” When the guy a few places ahead of him pulled out a list for either his office or friends, the old man let out a loud enough exhale that a good number of us could hear him threw up a hand and said, “Oh GREAT!” and glared at the girl taking the orders. The line moved on and the man got to the register. He started off with, “It’s about time,” as the girl smiled back and said thank you for your patience. The man did not acknowledge the comment. He went on with his complicated order being kind of demanding as to how he wanted his burger cooked and fries salted. The girl repeated the order and must have missed something and the guy was not very nice as cut back with a harsh tone, “What’s the matter with you, can’t you hear, can’t you understand, I said NO pickles and LIGHT mayo.” The girl apologized and I could see her face flush with embarrassment as she struggled to keep from crying. They guy threw down his money and grabbed the change from her hand and went on.
The girl’s next customer approached her with a smile, looked her in the eyes and said I’m sorry. She smiled and said it was her first day and got a flustered. They talked as the order was made and something was said where they both laughed and girl’s eyes brighten and she smiled big.
I did not think much of this little slice of human nature until I was walking to my car after lunch and a fragrant aroma of fresh baked bread wafted over me. It was so enjoyable that though I was full from lunch, I could have eaten a piece of that bread. But just as I was lost in the pleasure of the aroma, I was slapped in the face with a stench of rotting garbage. I almost wretched. Fanning the odor away I got to my car and drove on. Then it hit me. The first guy was a bit stinky with his curmudgeon-negative attitude and yet the second guy was a pleasant positive-affirming fragrance. It made me think of what impression I leave with people.
God challenges us to be that pleasant fragrance of kindness to others.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The verse before challenges us to not be so stinky in our attitudes and actions.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Our actions and attitudes waft out a scent that can be either pleasant or not. Both actions and attitudes speak louder than words!
Colossians 3:12-14 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 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. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
So are you a nice fragrance of kindness and love or that stinky repelling odor of self-focused bitterness and anger? A great truth is we get to choose. What will you choose?
Church can be a place where we learn to be a better fragrance. If you do not have a church you regularly attend, I would like to invite you to ours. Our website has information about our various campuses. We would love to connect with you and explore how we can be more loving like Jesus to those we encounter in our world. Here is our website, www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to be that enjoyable fragrance of kindness along with you,