Love stinks. No kidding; it really does.
Victorian sweethearts worked this to their advantage. A love-struck lad would peel an apple and cup it under his arm until the fruit had soaked up the bracing scent of—armpit. Then he would send his “Love Apple” to his beloved for her to sniff at leisure.
But love started stinking long before the Victorians. The world’s first sweethearts, Adam and Eve, trashed God’s love when they bit into a forbidden piece of fruit. Sin oozed into the world. Love began to smell fishy. Not of BO, but of something worse: ego.
Ever since, selfishness has scribbled me-firsts over God’s script. Love is patient . . . when I’m first in line for the bathroom. Love is kind . . . to my coworker’s face. Love is not easily angered . . . as long as my kids stop whining, like—NOW.
The love I offer up is more odor than ardor. It stinks. But instead of sluicing his world clean of me and other reeking sinners, God turned the fire hose of his anger on his Son. In so doing, God redefined love. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Though I reeked of sin, Jesus lived for me. Though I served my ego, Jesus died for me. Though I stumble in love, Jesus forgives me. And so he enables me to serve and forgive others.
That’s Christ’s love.
How sweet it smells.