Do you use air freshener at your house?  I know we do.  I think my wife mainly buys Febreze for use on my gym clothes, the trash, and the never-ending pile of diapers my children so generously provide.  And boy, does that stuff work miracles.  Apparently, it not only covers up the scent, but it actually removes the odor from the room.  Yeah, right.

Yes, it does make whatever stench that is in your home more manageable.  But it does not completely remedy the situation.  Actually, using air freshener has a deeper impact than most people realize. 

As you may know, our memory is very closely linked to our sense of smell.  Tapping into our olfactory sense can take us to hidden memories that we have tucked far away.  It can also cause us to associate certain smells with situations or feelings that we had.

Unfortunately, many of the Febreze scents are based on my favorite smells:  fresh laundry, apple cinnamon, etc.  I feel like, from now on, these scents that I love so much will cause my mind to form associations that I don’t want.  For example, every time I get a whiff of Apple Cinnamon, my mind automatically starts thinking about gross gym clothes.  And every time I get some wonderfully fresh laundry out of the dryer, I remember what it is like to change dirty diapers.

Many of my favorite scents, thanks to the associations my mind has created with air freshener, have been eternally ruined.  It would take a lot of work to undo the damage that has been done.

Unfortunately, this is the same effect many people have experienced with Christianity.  Somewhere along the line, they have experienced a hateful person, a hypocrite, someone condemning them, or just a person having a bad day that happened to be a Christian.  Now they associate all Christians with the way that they felt during that encounter.

While this is unfortunate, it is extremely common.  And since none of us are perfect, this is something that we should all be aware of at all times.  We need to be conscious of the fact that our interactions with others, no matter how brief or insignificant they may be to us, can have a lasting impact on their opinion of not only us, but Jesus Christ. 

We all have bad days and there are times when we may struggle to be salt and light.  But we need to constantly remind ourselves that we represent Christ in every situation and interaction.  To some, we are the only sample on which they base their opinion of Him. 

As much as humanly possible, we need to make sure that we are giving people a good first impression of Jesus.  The last thing that we want to do is give them a chance to associate our flaws with His perfection.  We need to keep our stench out of the way so that the aroma of His love is never tainted, but remains heavenly and pure.

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