Where is That Smell Coming From?

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For awhile we had noticed an occasional bad smell in the kitchen , like a sewer smell. We couldn’t find the source when we looked around the kitchen. We thought the sink might be clogged . We tried pouring vinegar down the sink . We cleaned the trash can. We looked for hidden cat poop.

But we had to trace it to the source . It was actually coming from the yard. The pipe was plugged up with mud and then the food scraps got clogged and made a nasty odor. Only when my husband cleared out the blockages and the rotting yuck did the smell go away.

People can have the same problem. They might be very smelly , as in their personality may be offensive or unpleasant to be around. We can make quick judgments about why they’re like that .

We can assume they are “bad” people or selfish or mentally ill or simply call them sinners. We can blame their parents, their genes , their environment, the school, the Internet.

But only if we dig deeper and find the source of the smell can we better understand what makes them act that way.

Like our kitchen smell which did come from a clogged drain, but further out than we thought; we may be partially right about our assumption of why they act that way.

It may be true that this person had a bad environment or has mental health challenges or genetic differences.

But if you dig deeper you may discover that the true reason for their stinking thinking or odoriferous behavior lies in the coping skills they’ve adopted to protect themselves from judgmental people.

You may find a truly wounded soul hiding under that offensive outer shell. A grieving child in an adult body. A betrayed spirit who needed help, but never got it.

Defensive behavior often looks like anger, cynicism, or abrasiveness .

Or you may be interacting with someone who truly doesn’t know how to handle social situations. Rather than admit their social anxiety and reveal their vulnerability, they put up a stinky smell like a skunk or shoot quills like a porcupine.

In conclusion, before you make a snap judgment when someone acts skunky , stop and remember that you probably don’t really know what’s causing that smell .

If you give someone a chance , you may discover they are a very different person than you thought.

You may be the first person they meet who doesn’t respond in anger to them. A little grace, a little patience, a little compassion can change a persons life, or even save it.

Give grace, just like you want grace.

That means you don’t respond with anger or rejection to unpleasant people . You give them a chance. First impressions can be wrong , especially with people who have been hurt.

Of course , you have a right and a duty to protect yourself if you give them a chance , but you find that someone has a persistent anger problem or is just extremely negative.

This post is not about putting up with abuse or ignoring bad behavior. It’s about not making snap judgments.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

5 comments

  1. I’ve been smelling a low key bad smell at my house. My husband had a gas guy come check…nothing. I haven’t yet found the source. I know that’s not what your post was about. I just thought it was a weird coincidence. And I admit I’ve been abrasive in my life, too. I doubt I have a good excuse, though.

    • I hope you find it. Maybe a dead mouse or something. Hopefully not leaking pipes like ours. I’m sure you do have a reason . I doubt any of us choose to be miserable. I’ve been like this since I was a kid, stressed and/or depressed most of the time. I became critical and sarcastic to cope . Now I’m just tired .

  2. Excellent Post and Really True! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many, many people are children inside but their bodies have grown older. We really don’t know what we are really looking at when we interact with them.

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