Day 17: Sour
When we talk about the sense of smell, we must inevitably acknowledge the many unpleasant smells that accost our nostrils—and one of those sickening smells to me is “sour.” You know what smell I am referring to? Sour—as in sour milk or cottage cheese; sour towels; and sour from the odor of vomit. It is by far one of the most off-putting smells. And right now, sour is lingering on my sofa!
On Monday morning, our dear sweet pup, Bongo, decided to help himself to a tub of butter when I wasn’t looking. I had just opened it—of course. So, he consumed about 8 ounces of real butter with canola oil and then proceeded to vomit, spontaneously with out any warning, for the next 48 hours. (And you know what comes after vomit…) One of the places he projectiled was at the end of a sofa in our family room.
I immediately tried to remove the contents and smell by washing it with baking soda and water. No improvement. Then I took the cover off (it is at the dry cleaners) and washed the inside of the cushion with all-purpose cleaner. Still only a little improvement. Today, I will try again, though I’m not sure I know what product I will use. Any suggestions?
Sour. A putrid smell develops because of something going bad — staying too long in a refrigerator, a closed hamper or a living being’s stomach. But what about stuff that stays too long inside our hearts? As I ponder this smell and am guided by the Spirit to let this sense teach me, I think of how certain attitudes sour within me and when I vomit them, they smell vile.
Anger stuffed inside comes out sour and accusing. It often has a rancid smell as it brews in my heart and turns rank. Bitterness and resentment has the same shelf life—it doesn’t take long when left inside, closed up in the dark recesses of my heart, to turn bile-like. A critical spirit is another attitude that just this week the Spirit opened my eyes to, a souring disposition stewing inside me that in a matter of time will explode.
Attitudes turn sour because they are kept bottled up until they erupt like vomit, often onto the nearest person we can find to blame. The secret to keeping these feelings from turning noxious is to confess them to God before they turn sour. No matter how awful they are, whom they are directed toward or what language through which they are spoken--honest, ruthlessly raw confession is the best anecdote for removing sour smells from our own heart. In the presence of God, we have a Gentle Counselor who listens without judgment, glad that we trust him enough to share our rank, stinky thoughts before they spoil.
So, what feelings have you stuffed inside that are about to turn sour? Take some time to write in your journal or take a prayer walk and come clean before God.