I have a hard time keeping my house clean. It isn't that I don't try, but my house, as long as there are kids, cats, and projects, will never be spotless.Sometimes I leave the house, and then come back, and when I walk through the door, there will be a strong, really bad odor, like something is rotten.
Why didn't I smell it before? And where is it coming from? I'll spray room freshener to try to help, and it might a little, but I still have to find the stench. I will start a search that doesn't stop until I find the stinky culprit. It is often a bag of potatoes that has turned bad, or garbage that didn't get taken out when I asked somebody to do it, or the garbage disposal needing a little attention. Once it was Andy's coat. He had gone fishing, and stuck a bag of raw shrimp in his coat pocket and forgotten about it....and set it next to the heater where it remained for a couple of days. THAT WAS DISGUSTING.
Sometimes our life, or for those of us involved with a church, will go through this, too. Something becomes rotten, and we don't realize it at first, because we are around it so much that we just get used to it. Maybe it is an attitude, a way of doing things, a relationship, or a situation that needs to be addressed, but nothing is addressed or dealt with. Sometimes it is something that we used a lot or found useful or beneficial in some way, but didn't to take care of it, so it began to stink. Sometimes it requires stepping back or removing ourselves from the situation in order to realize something stinks.
Just recognizing that something has gone bad, does not fix it. We could end up spending years knowing something stinks but we don't know what exactly it is. If you don't figure out what is rotten, where it is, and remove it or clean it up, guess what? The smell ain't gonna get any better! It is going to spread, and continue rotting.
We might try to cover it up for a while, and it may fool some people, but the stink is still there. It will get to a point where we think we are fooling others with our sweet smelling sprays and candles, but we are only fooling ourselves. The foulness is still there. We have to seek it out. Identify it. Remove it or clean it up. This might mean removing a habit from your life, something that has become an idol or obsession, a relationship, or like in a church, a way of thinking, a common attitude or viewpoint, or a person causing harm in the position in which they have been placed.
Sometimes we are so used to the stink that we don't realize it is there and it requires somebody else telling us about it. This requires being open to accountability to someone else. We all need this, because none of us are perfect and we have our blind spots. We need someone to come alongside us and show us what we have missed, that really needs our attention, and others need that from us.
Looking for stink isn't something that we have to deal with just once in our lives. It must be a regular habit. Things get overlooked or neglected and will become a problem. We have to be aware of what can possibly turn bad and deal with it as soon as we recognize it. Or better yet, deal with it before it goes bad.
So I ask, what stinks in your life? And what are you going to do about it? "Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind." Psalm 26:2 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10