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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

TITLE: Soap Won't Do
By Rachel Burkum


….The stench was almost unbearable. I gagged as I donned my clothes to prepare for the day. I had thought I’d get used to the smell, but it had just gotten worse. It had been forever embedded into me and even my clothes. None of my friends ever noticed, thank goodness. They were probably immune to it. Either that, or they were too doped up to care. I’d never gotten in that deep, but if it would put me out of this misery, it didn’t sound all that bad. I finally got up enough gumption to amble downstairs. Maybe some fresh air would do me good.

….Despite my efforts to douse my own foul odor with perfume and hairspray, I knew as I walked down the sidewalk that I’d provide great company for a skunk. No one seemed to mind though. Apparently they had the same problem I did or their noses had malfunctioned. Either way, I seemed to be safe. But it didn’t take away from the shame that had been buried deep within myself. I’d figured out long ago where my smell had come from. But despite my knowledge, I’d just piled on my wrong doings, until the stench had increased to the point where I had begun to hate myself. Every night I had come home late after countless lies to my boss, trips to the bar, or “good times” with the guys, no amount of showering could ever get me clean. I trudged down the sidewalk, inwardly wallowing in my misery.

….Suddenly, my nose caught a strong scent. It wafted on the morning breeze, blowing past my nostrils as if mocking me. The fragrance was as sweet as spring flowers - a scent my heart ached for. I stopped in my tracks and glanced all around, trying to find its origin. Had someone sprayed such a strong perfume in the air? Surely there were those as desperate as me. But as I looked around, I saw no one. I was alone, surrounded only by buildings. Again, the fragrance caressed my face, begging me to find where it had come from.

….I shrugged off the passing thought that I was going crazy, and headed into the breeze. The farther I walked, the stronger the scent grew until I found myself standing in front of a church. Its doors wide open, it beckoned me with its sweet smell, enveloping my senses. Cautiously, I mounted the stairs and slipped into the foyer. I could see into the next room where a preacher stood at his pulpit, speaking to a group of people. My nose was so ecstatic with the all too infrequent pleasantness, that I longed to stay. Taking a whiff of myself, I wondered if I’d be thrown out.

….But as I sidled into a pew next to a well-dressed elderly woman, I was greeted with a warm smile. Did she not notice I reeked? I breathed in deeply through my nose, and realized that those sitting around me were the origin of the fragrance - not the building itself. So how had they rid themselves of the vile smell I’d always possessed?

….My attention was diverted to the preacher’s words, and I was immediately drawn into the message. “Be cleansed,” he said. “Be forgiven. Accept Christ as your Savior and live only for Him. Rid yourself of the stench born of your sins.”

….The stench born of my sins? Of course, I knew that was it. I needed to change, and needed to do it before it was too late. Perhaps I was finally ready to admit I couldn’t cleanse myself on my own.

….That day, I didn’t bathe with more soaps and shampoos. Instead, I was washed in the blood of the Lamb and forgiven of my sins. Never before had I felt so clean and so alive. Where once I hadn’t been able to stand myself, now I could breathe deep the cleansing scent of salvation. I hadn’t needed bleach. I had needed Jesus.

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This article has been read 1250 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/02/05
Nicely done indeed, and it made me think about why some people may shun church--because they are aware of their own "smell." I'd never thought of it that way before.
Karen O'Leary11/02/05
Creative and insightful. Thank you for sharing your story.

Garnet Miller 11/02/05
The only thing that can truly remove the foul odor of "sin" is the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. This would make a great devotional:)
terri tiffany11/03/05
Wonderful! I enjoyed this take on the topic an dyou presented it in a way I never thought of before. Thanks!
Laurie Glass 11/03/05
Well thought out. Nice perspective. Good job.
dub W11/03/05
Good work, an interspective narration, very well done in the limited space we have here. Thanks.
Tisha Martin 11/03/05
(I know who you are) =)

Nice job, my friend! I was right along with your MC, drowned in the story. What a unique way of presenting the gospel!
Nina Phillips11/03/05
How did they rid themselves of the foul odor I possessed? Creativity with this topic. Nicely done. God bless ya, littlelight
Linda Watson Owen11/03/05
Very inventive and interesting story! Great comparison of sin to 'stench'!
Shari Armstrong 11/03/05
Wonderful -
B Brenton11/04/05
A simple message, communicated entertainingly and effectivly.
Most of us have been there and praise the Lord for His beautiful cleansing!
Lynda Lee Schab 11/04/05
Very creative piece with a great message. I especially liked the line,"I knew as I walked down the sidewalk that I’d provide great company for a skunk." I chuckled at that one. :-) Loved the title too!
Blessings, Lynda
Debbie OConnor11/04/05
Great job! A very well-written and creative take on the topic.
Val Clark11/06/05
A good take on the 'spiritual stench' type of entry. Well done. Yeggy.
Michelle Burkhardt11/06/05
Your title grabbed me and your article kept me. Nice job. A winner in my book.
Brandi Roberts11/07/05
I really enjoyed this! Sin sure does stink!