He slept on the couch. For real. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, my husband dragged himself out of bed, trudged down the hallway to the living room, tossed a blanket on the couch and slept there the whole long, chilly night—all by his lonesome.
We weren’t fighting. He left me for a different reason.
I smelled bad.
Or so he said.
“Why are you out here?” I stood over the couch at dawn, wrinkling my eyebrows at my disheveled prince.
“I couldn’t stay in our room.” He pulled his blanket up to his chin and blinked. “I’m sorry.”
“What do you mean? What’s the matter?” Perhaps I should’ve realized he was evading the question to spare my feelings, but in true wifely fashion I hounded him until he spilled.
“It’s your lotion, honey. I just can’t stand it.”
Whaaat? My lotion? You mean the stuff I slathered on my hands and inhaled peacefully just before climbing under the covers last night? “What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s just… blech.” My husband grimaced and shivered as if I’d just stuck a plate of worms under his nose for breakfast.
“You don’t like my lotion?”
“I’m sorry. But it makes me gag.”
Ugh. Blame it on Bath and Body Works. My mother-in-law (HIS mother, mind you), had gifted me a bottle of Spiced Gingerbread Swirl—a seasonal best-seller. It’s warm and welcoming and sweet and spicy smelling. I loooove it. My daughters love it. Everybody loves it except, apparently, my husband.
And I can’t understand why.
“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)
Do you ever wonder how it’s possible we can know and love a thing so much, yet others somehow manage to disagree? This for me is one of the greatest conundrums of the Christian life. How can we trust and adore Jesus so much—experiencing firsthand the freedom, peace, power and wisdom of living with and for Him—and yet other people around us don’t see it? Or worse, they do—and they don’t care. They outright reject Him anyway.
If we’re doing our job as evangelists then there’s no way our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers can avoid the Jesus perfume emanating from our pores. The heartache is they sniff it—and hate it. They want nothing to do with it.
They don’t like the way we smell.
And that hurts. Because for those of us who know Jesus on a personal level, rejection of Him feels like rejection of us—a direct stab to the heart, because He is our heart.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV)
So how should we respond when people reject our Jesus?
Like we do in all circumstances, whether wrapped in pain or joy.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV)
Everyone on this earth has the potential to be saved. It’s what God wants for all. So let’s not park our hearts in frustration or criticism over those who are lost. Instead, let’s remember we were lost once, too, then keep praying as only believers can. We know something the skeptics do not—God can break through to anyone. No soul is beyond His reach.
He captured mine.
He captured yours.
And we will testify, praise the Lord.
But let’s leave the rest up to God.
“How’s this one?” I waved my hand in front of my husband’s face. To preempt another bedtime exodus, I was subjecting him to a scent test of all the lotions in my nightstand. Acceptable options so far were Honeysuckle, Coconut, and Cherry Cheer. My hubby took a whiff of my knuckles, paused a moment, then shrugged.
“Oh, good.” I grinned. “It’s Gingerbread Swirl.”
There is hope for everyone, amen?
What to Read Next: Should Christians Hang Out With Sinners?