Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
The little stinker was not welcome. A couple of days ago we went down to visit our daughter and son-in-law down by Kentucky Lake. We really went to see the grandkids, but we won’t tell them that. The place where they live is just beautiful. Close to the lake and surrounded by beautiful woods, it is the kind of place drinking a cup of coffee in the morning was made for. Of course, this time of the year, everything is lush and green. Gone is the bareness of winter as the time for things to sleep was replaced by a time of new life.
Because they are in a forested area there is plenty of wildlife around. It is not uncommon to see deer feeding down by the tree line and birds of every sort. Up the road a piece is a herd of Bison, a few horses, and cattle. They have a couple of dogs too, which adds to the mix. Oh, and then, there was the unwelcome guest. Two or three days before our arrival, my son-in-law spotted a skunk in the backyard. They were hoping that he was just passing through, but apparently, he kinda likes the place. Even when they don’t see him, they know he is around by the pungent odor that he carries with him.
Their two dogs, Rupp and Callie, seem to have a real affection for the skunk. They can’t wait to run down to the woods to try and find their new friend. Despite all efforts, they keep running and looking and one day, well, its gonna happen. Saturday morning during our visit, there was a “close encounter of the skunk kind.” Rupp is the much more obedient of the two dogs. He will generally come when he is called and while he and the skunk are pals, they are not on a first name basis. Callie on the other hand has gone over the edge. That morning, Callie took off and either met the skunk or came close because she came back wearing some of his perfume. It wasn’t a direct hit, but there was an aroma.
She came in the house and ran into the master suite and soon it wasn’t “sweet” any longer. What she apparently loved to roll in was, uh, not so pleasant to us. In fact, both occupants of the bedroom were up and outta there. Now personally, Callie didn’t smell that bad to me. Either my smeller wasn’t as sensitive (no COVID, thank you) or I quickly got used to it, but regardless it wasn’t a big deal. Well, Callie ended up banned from the yard forever (except on a leash) and they ran her through the equivalent of a dog carwash. She did smell a lot better. Hey, no harm, no foul.
That evening, after driving back home, I put on the same pajama shirt that I had worn that morning and proceeded to study my sermon. As I sat at my desk, I noticed a faint but familiar odor—it was the offensive perfume. Apparently, there was an odor after all and later when my nose was more awake, it became evident. I changed shirts and threw that one in the wash. Hopefully by the time we visit again, Mr. Skunk will be history.
You know I was surprised to smell the odor on my shirt that evening. That morning I didn’t smell a thing, but that night it was clearly obvious. What was the difference? I think there was enough odor in the air at my daughter’s house that my shirt simply smelled like everything else. I grew too accustomed to the odor. The offensive smell became “normal.” I have a feeling that may happen more often than we realize. It has nothing to do with skunks, but everything to do with our “skunky” or sinful actions.
If we are not careful, we become too accustomed to our harsh words, or our negative mindset, or our unkind actions. And, because they are part of our “normal” we never even know it. But remember this…those around us know it and Someone even more important knows it—God. The best way to fix the problem is to live in such a way, that that kind of “normal” is never normal. Just like a fresh environment revealed the odor in my shirt, we should allow our environment to be so pure that anything stinky will become readily apparent.
One time, King David of Old Testament fame, got more than a little “skunky” and spent most of the rest of his life trying to get rid of the stench. He prayed a lot during those days and one of his prayers went like this, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” That’s a good prayer for sure. And, by God’s grace, he was made clean. In fact, he was known as a “man after God’s own heart.” So, when you get “skunked” just take it to the Father and rest assured that He can handle anything and everything. He’s got this—even our stinky sin. Bro. Dewayne
*A special thank you to Ellie Grace, (granddaughter) for making today’s graphic-great job Ellie!