The Warner Brothers animated skunk Peppy Le Pew was one of my favorite cartoon characters as a kid. You couldn’t help but laugh at the irony and feel a little sorry for the object of Peppy’s affection, a black and white female feline. For obvious reasons, the cat wasn’t thrilled about getting too cozy with the skunk. Oddly enough, I notice a lot of Christians who would never have a skunk for a pet have no problem living their lives with a skunky attitude. Skunk or skunky attitude, the result is the same – people just don’t want to be around you…and who can blame them?
Peppy Le Pew with his unmistakable stench visited Hope Harbor today. The origin of the aroma, powerful enough to knock you down upon entering the church office suite, was probably outside, but we could not rule out the possibility that the critter was somewhere in the building. After a little investigation, a staff member (kudos to Rodney, aka “Skunk Man” – after all we are in Kentucky) discovered a dead skunk right next to one of our air conditioning units (the unit feeding the office complex). The unit repeatedly sucked up and dispersed the skunk smell throughout the office every time it kicked on.
Our attitude is a lot like the skunk odor. First, like the skunk, individuals with a bad attitude rarely notice they are the source of the smell. Second, people with bad attitudes fail to understand how easily it is to fill the air around them with negativity and pessimism. Like the skunk, it’s amazing how much pollution can come from one person with a lousy attitude. Third, once in the air, the foul smell is difficult to eliminate. It’s always much wiser to prevent the skunk from spraying than to deal with the stink once it comes out.
We should monitor our lives daily for the condition of our attitudes. Do you stink? Are you the source of the smell? Are you bombing others with your pungent attitude? Are you stinking things up at work, in your home, or in your church? The Apostle Paul said, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14, NIV). We can’t perpetuate the fragrance of Christ wherever we go if we are suppressing His essence with the foul odor of a bad attitude.
Let me encourage you to “deskunk” your attitude on a daily basis. First, skunk experts say bathing in tomato juice will neutralize the skunk smell. As Christians, we know the key to removing any stench and stain is the blood of Jesus. The moment you smell something coming from your heart that doesn’t belong there like bitterness, resentment, or sarcasm, be quick to repent and apply the blood to your life. Like the skunk smell, there is not enough perfume to cover up the smell of a sinful attitude. Second, dip your heart daily in God’s presence. In the fullness of God’s presence is joy, not belligerence (Psalm 16:11). The believer who fails to seek God often manifests that prayerlessness through a lousy attitude. Third, wash your mind daily in the Word of God. Saturating your thinking to line up with God’s Word is central to maintaining a godly and positive attitude and outlook on life. Watch and see how much more attractive you’ll be when you smell like Jesus instead of Peppy!