I Can’t Smell

Josh Scheiderer   -  

So a number of weeks back I was sick, and I lost my senses of taste and smell. I recovered after about ten days and have been tasting food and drinks ever since. But smell is another matter. It’s hardly there. This has made me think about the sense of smell, and I’ve noticed some aspects of smell to which I’d never given much thought previously.

Not being able to smell actually can be dangerous. It’s by smell that we notice a gas or propane leak. A musty odor in the basement could be something much worse. Sometimes you first notice a problem with your car by a bad smell coming from the engine or the brakes.

And then there’s the reality that I’m clueless about how I smell to other people. I may have b.o., and I’d never know it! Yes, I’ve been practicing good hygiene, but tell me that you haven’t pulled out a shirt you thought was clean only to discover that you were woefully mistaken. I could do that, and I’d be totally delusional about how awful I smell.

And finally life without the sense of smell has been a little dull for almost a month. I haven’t been able to take in the aroma of a crisp autumn morning yet. I see that candles are lit in my home, but I don’t smell a thing. I’ve brewed coffee every day since recovering, but I haven’t smelled a single cup. The other day I walked into the house to the aroma of bacon frying. “It’s back!”, I thought. Alas, it seems that aromas have to be very strong for me to smell them because today I don’t really smell anything.

As I thought about how important the sense of smell is, it occurred to me that the sickness of sin does the same thing to my soul. Sin takes away a different “sense of smell” so that

  • I’m not aware when I’m in spiritual danger
  • I’m deluded about how good I am
  • and this wonderful life seems dull to me.

Naturally, I don’t think that my sin puts me in mortal danger. I mean it’s not ideal, but everyone’s doing it and if you keep it under control… I don’t smell the rot of gossip or notice when my sexuality has curdled. My emotions may be on fire, but I never smell the smoke.

Naturally, I don’t realize that the filthy rags of my morality reek, and I’m a stench to the people around me. I assume that problem is with them. I take a quick whiff, and I smell fine to me. “What’s their problem?!”, I wonder.

Naturally, I don’t realize how wonderful life can be. The aromas of good friends and family support are lost on me. The beauties of nature are simply commonplace. The change of seasons is just the vicious cycle we’re all trapped in.

Unfortunately the sickness of sin does not go away in ten days or two weeks. I am in need of the Great Physician to do more than give me medicine for my symptoms. I need Him to make me a new person animated by the Spirit of God. With this newness of life I can “smell” again. I can live

  • safely
  • self-aware
  • and vibrant.