I have a pastor friend who is always anxious to wash his hands immediately following the time of shaking hands with the congregants after the service. He says he needs to “wash the fellowship” off his hands. It has always reminded me of another religious bunch who were OCD about hand-washing…the Pharisees.
Seems some folks can’t get “clean” fast enough after being exposed to dirt…or dirty people. Some have such a “dirt phobia” you can’t even get them close to people who may not meet their standard of hygiene.
I’ve never really understood people who are supposed to be followers of Christ, who don’t follow Christ. I mean, Jesus didn’t mind getting up close and personal with those who were considered “unclean.” That went for adulteresses, lepers, Samaritans, tax-collectors, even convicted felons like the thief on the cross. In his book, Nudge, Len Sweet makes the following statement about Jesus:
Does Jesus always smell good? Then something’s wrong. Jesus does not always smell like the Rose of Sharon or Lilies of the Valley. Sometimes Jesus smells bad, not because he himself smells bad, but because he likes to be around “fishy” people and welcomes bad-smelling people. Jesus isn’t afraid to let others’ smells rub off on him. Sometimes Jesus smells like…stables, gyms and locker rooms, dirty diapers, the homeless, smelly feet. Beautiful feet are most often bad-smelling feet (Nudge, page 262).
I read a quote the other day that said, “Good shepherds often smell like their sheep.” I think that’s true of Jesus-followers too. If we don’t smell like those we’re trying to reach, perhaps we’re not spending enough time with them, where they live.
I think Jesus would agree that the smell that offends Him the most is not the smell of sinners, it’s the repugnant smell of self-righteous religious folks whose prayers sound something like that of the Pharisee… “Lord, I thank you that I’m not like this sinner.” Now that stinks!