Wednesday, February 10, 2010

His Undying Smile

I smelled him before I saw him. His putrid body odor caused me to pause from writing my grocery check and glance behind me. He smiled through caked yellow teeth; a big, broad, open smile. Morsels of several past meals remained pasted in his ragged beard. Weeks -perhaps months had passed since his hair last saw a comb. Not one square inch of his clothing was clean. Even a scrub brush could not have removed the layers of dirt from his hands.

Repulsed, I turned back to my check writing and hurried to get out of the store, away from that disgusting man.

His smile pursued me. It followed me home. It haunted me. Even now, as I type, it peers back from my computer screen.

The following day I sang with my preschoolers, “When I’m kind to you, I’m kind to God. When I smile at you, it’s shared by two…”

Such a simple gift a smile is, such a basic pleasantry. I teach my three and four year olds to always return a smile. But I didn’t. I denied the scraggly man in the grocery store his one request. In offering his smile to me, he invited my response, and I looked the other way. What would a smile have cost me? Half of a second; the minutest exertion of energy; a quick prayer; a major shift in attitude? This price I stubbornly refused to pay, like the rich ruler who clung to his riches; only what I refused to give up was a simple smile.

Now here I sit, thinking about what it means to love like Jesus loves, his smile is all I see; not Jesus’ smile, but the smile of the man I snubbed in the grocery store. He reminds me that I still have a long way to go to truly love like Jesus loves.

The love of Jesus is free. It does not discriminate. It isn't always convenient, or pretty, or fun; but it is often humbling. The love of Jesus is unaffected by dirt, grime, and odor. How do I know? Because when I was still a filthy, smelly sinner, more repulsive to God than that man in the grocery store was to me, Jesus did more than smile. He died for me.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

I come to You ashamed today, Lord. Please forgive me for my selfishness and hypocrisy. Rid me of the pride so firmly implanted in my heart. I want to be like you, Jesus -to love like you, no matter what the cost. Let me learn by Your example to give freely to others what You have so freely offered to me. Amen

Today I’m participating in Walk With Him Wednesday. Please visit Ann Voskamp’s blog for links to more posts on “Loving Like Jesus.”


  1. Don't you just want to kick yourself in the butt when look back and know you missed an opportunity...?? I know I sure do when it happens to me!
    Hugs, andrea

  2. You are not alone is having missed opportunities to love as Jesus loves.

    Don't beat yourself up too much. Thank you for sharing this lesson with us.


  3. Don't worry, I'm not beating myself up. I know that I'm forgiven. I'm just being honest, and sharing what I'm sure many of us wrestle with at times. Thanks for your encouragement, ladies! :)

  4. Sitka has an award for you at All Gods Creatures.

  5. Excellent post! I'm so thankful for God's grace - for me when I fail to love as He loves, which is a lot. Also thankful He doesn't give up and continues to work on my heart.


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