Monday, July 13, 2015

Quick! Close the Door!

This morning as I opened the kitchen door to enter into the laundry room that remains open to the outside via a sliding glass door, I was immediately assaulted by a vile smell.  It was fragrant.  It was pungent.  And it became all too clear to me that there was a skunk (whether dead or alive I could not tell) in the near vicinity.  I did not need to see him to know he was near.  His stink preceded him.

What did amaze me, however, was how oblivious I was to the skunk's presence before I opened the door.  Despite the powerful force of his stink, his odor did not reach me until I opened the door and allowed it inside.  At that point, I couldn't close the door fast enough, but unfortunately, the damage had already been done.  In that few seconds, that putrid smell filled the entire kitchen.  Breakfast, anyone?  I think not!

I have to wonder, though, how often we make the same mistake with our stinky attitudes.  Lying beneath the surface, they remain unknown to those around us.  While they have permeated our hearts and minds, they have yet to make their way out into the open. . . that is, until we open the door (aka, our mouths).  Once that door is open, the pungent scent of our attitudes becomes all too obvious, and despite our effort to "shut the door quickly," the damage has already been done.  We've already stunk up the place with our vile-smelling attitudes.

Luke 6:45 says, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

In other words, whatever is rolling around in our heads and our hearts is bound to make its way out of our mouths.  We cannot keep it hidden forever.  Someone is bound to open the door, and when they do, heaven help us all.  So, unless we intend to never open our mouths again (which is doubtful), we need to get to the heart of the problem. . . literally.  I could spend all day spraying deodorizer around the house, but until the skunk is gone, the smell will remain.  The same can be said for our stinky attitudes.  Until we deal with the cause, the odor will linger.

The process involves digging deep into the recesses of our hearts and minds and discovering what's amiss.  It entails asking the Lord to show us the seeds of bitterness that have taken root in our souls.  It is an unpleasant and even tedious task, but as we've already discussed, it is a necessary one.  After all, the longer the skunk lingers, the worse the smell will become, eventually driving everyone away from the area.  The attitude is the same way, and I don't know about you, but I'd hate to think that I'm driving people away because of the stink that comes out of my mouth (and I'm not talking about my breath, thank you).

In the animated movie, Bambi, the character Thumper reveals this old adage taught by his parents:  "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."  If we were to live by this philosophy, how many of us would spend our days in complete silence?  Yet, isn't that exactly what Paul admonishes us to do in Philippians 4:8? Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  If we're only thinking good things, we'll only say good things, and the air around us will remain fresh and odor-free. . . unless, that is, another skunk wanders by.

Whew!  Talk about stinkin' thinkin'!

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