Rethinking Faulty Judgment
As a teenager, I worked in a small-town, two aisle, grocery store, doing everything from running the cash register and sacking groceries, to stocking shelves or sweeping floors. The customer was always right and good service was essential.
One morning while I was stocking the produce aisle, I heard the manager’s voice reverberating through the store, "Help in the front, please." Hollering was our simple intercom system.
I began to ring up groceries for a lovely lady, smartly dressed and pleasant. Before a minute passed, my nose ached from a whiff of an offensive odor. Good manners kept me from turning away from the patron for a gulp of fresh air.
"How can anyone stand to get near her," I pondered, as I choked in each breath of repulsive oxygen.
Throughout the day, I moved between duties at the cash register and the back of the store. I discarded stinky, spoiled potatoes or rotten produce. However, each time I checked out customers, that same overwhelming stench hit me like a garbage truck full of decayed trash.
"She looks like a flower, but she smells like a skunk,” my baffled brain repeated. "Why doesn’t she do something about it?”
At the end of the day, I cleaned the counter. A strange odor caused my nose hairs to squirm. I held my breath as long as I could, while examining the package in front of the cash register. Items were often placed there to promote specials of the week. I paid no attention to it the entire day.
Horrified, I glared at the label. “Limburger cheese," I read in disbelief.
The one I convicted was not guilty at all. "How many people judged me unclean because of that same essence?"
Spiritually speaking, we all have our ‘limburger cheese’ moments.
The hairs in our nostrils wiggle in retreat when we greet the smell of someone who hasn’t bathed for days. Then the stinkin’ thinkin’ kicks in and rules. Our spiritual odor gradually worsens, especially in God’s eyes, because the smell of our pride sickens Him. We haven’t walked in their shoes, yet we freely judge and condemn them.
Soldiers on the battlefield don’t always put cleanliness at the top of their priority list. Sometimes staying alive is their main goal. If they live another day, they can fight another day for our freedom. We wouldn’t dare think evil of them.
A young mother may have spent days and nights in a hospital with a child who is fighting a battle against death, with no time to shower or freshen up. We have mercy on her because our hearts understand.
Perhaps an old man has just lost his life-long companion and best friend. Bathing doesn’t matter. Nothing matters anymore, with his wife gone.
We arrogantly sniff the rubbish others carry in their souls, not thinking to offer help, nor even considering that they might have a reason, not an excuse, to be so offensive. We hold our pious noses in the air and wonder why they don’t “get a grip on things.”
Our attitudes portray a ‘limburger cheese’ stench.
At the end of the day, the Holy Spirit convicts us to ‘clean our counters’.
Dousing ourselves with the pleasant perfume of love, joy and peace, influences lives for Jesus. The refreshing savor of grace and mercy comforts those with heavy hearts. Patience and kindness, poured upon friends, family and foes, release a scent of acceptance.
Jesus is referred to as the Lily of the Valley. We are to wear His fragrance. He longs for us to reach out to those who are hurting, tired or lonely and embellish them with the sweet aroma of His love.
John 7:24 KJV Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
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