Five senses—to see, hear, taste, touch— and about this time of year the last reminds us that we are not alone.
A skunk smells. But what? Itself? Grubbs? Danger?
I recently read the words of someone who understood our human inclination to call out the wrongs of others—while giving ourselves a pass, a passing grade, or a get out of jail free card. Sensing the confusingly tiresome effect of endless disapproval and disagreement, this person said something like, “I’ve come to see the importance of the sniff test. Does it smell like Jesus? May sound a bit subjective. It is. But when we spend enough time around him it almost becomes natural.”
Too simplistic? If so, we can make it more complicated. When the issue is whether we ourselves are approaching Christ-likeness, we could use all five senses to imagine what Jesus-like behavior looks like, what the tone of his Spirit sounds like; what the bread of his shared suffering tastes like, what the touch of his presence feels like; and what the fragrance of his love smells like.
But to keep it simple—who among us hasn’t been given the sense to smell the difference between a love that is patient, kind, and without envy… and “a love for goodness sake” that isn’t?