I smell a rat! – The Advocate-Messenger


By Judith Victoria Hensley


Years ago, the phrase “I smell a rat” was used to indicate that something was wrong. In old gangster movies, this sometimes referred to someone doing a bad deal or dubbing someone. And sometimes it just referred to an unidentified stench.

After being away for several days, I came home with that disgusting smell of a dead rodent somewhere in my house. I followed my nose to the dead culprit, scooped it up in a paper towel, and put it in the trash. I scrubbed the ground. I have cloroxed it. I sprayed it with disinfectant. I used a deodorant. I expected the problem to go away the next morning when I woke up.

It was late and I didn’t want to take out the trash that night in the dark, assuming the creature was wrapped up and sitting harmlessly in the bag with other trash. When I picked up the bag the next day to take it out, the smell almost blew me away!

After getting rid of the bag and the source of the stench, I realized that the smell was lingering in the trash. So I tried to handle this the same way I had treated the floor the night before. My nose kept picking up the foul smell and I tried to clean the floor and the trash again. I took out a new laundry spray bottle and sprayed the areas with my new heavy-scented spray in addition to the cleaning agents.

Today has been a good week since that incident, and I can still smell where the foul smell was. I keep trying to get rid of it, and it gets smaller over time, but my bloodhound nose is still very aware of the nasty smell. I have company scheduled for the weekend, and I don’t want them to smell anything bad in my house!

When our pastor brought a message over the weekend that mentioned the “stench of sin” in a person’s life, I immediately thought of the dead rodent stench that I had fought in my home. How could a little creature produce such an unpleasant and overwhelming odor?

Sin is like that in a person’s life. They might get used to the smell of their own little sin and rotten habits so much that they get used to the aroma. They may even be convinced that no one else is aware of the deception or bad behavior that is happening in their life. But, just like the lingering smell of the rodent that died on my floor, the stench of sin lingers on.

We can try to hide it, bag it and throw away the evidence, but once our soul is soiled, it will take a lot more than that to get rid of the stench.

I thought about the old song, “What can wash away our sins?” Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make us well? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

These words have enormous meaning for Christ’s followers and the “church crowd” who sometimes forget that people without a Bible or religious education don’t even know what they are talking about.

Jesus spoke in parables. He took common, everyday things and applied them to life to illustrate a point. Maybe it’s the connection in my mind between a dead smelly mouse in my house and the presence of sin in a person’s life.

I know one thing for sure; I don’t want the lingering smell of sin to cling to my life any more than I want the scent of a dead creature hanging on my floor. It’s up to us to clean up the mess and be free from the stench. When we need help with the process, we find out what will clean it up and apply it directly to the problem.

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