My two children and a friend of theirs recently made up a game that they coaxed me and their daddy into playing. It’s basically a glorified version of hide-and-seek in the dark, so they appropriately named it … “Dark.” By popular demand of the two youngest members of our family, Dark is becoming a household name these days. Here’s how you play it:
One person is “it” and is tasked with the job of finding all other players hidden somewhere around the room. The person who is “it” waits in the closet while the other players hide. After all are hidden, the player closest to the light switch turns out the lights both in the room and in the closet. “It” counts to 10, opens the closet door, and starts to search in the darkness for the hidden players. He must find two of them before the round is over. But that’s not all. When “it” finds a hidden player, he beats the player mercilessly with a stuffed crocodile until the found player surrenders and screams “dead.” This must happen twice before the lights are turned back on and before the first player that was found becomes “it.” We do this over and over and over until we are too tired to play anymore. It’s innocent family fun unless the “crocodile beating” gets a little out of hand, which sometimes prompts us to end the game prematurely.
Now I know what some of you are probably thinking: That’s a little violent. That’s morbid. Why would you let your kids make up such a game and then play it with them? Isn’t that a little inhumane to use a stuffed crocodile to hit another person?
Honestly, it’s nothing more than a game of hide-and-go-seek in the dark that ends with a pillow fight. So I will leave it at that and get to the point.
During one of the rounds of Dark that we were playing, my 8-year-old daughter was “it.” I was hiding under some pillows at the head of a bed. She climbed on the bed and started feeling around. She sensed someone was there, but it was dark, of course, so she didn’t know who or where. Giggling, she felt around until she touched me. At first, she thought it was her daddy, and she screamed, “I found Daddy!” But she quickly realized it wasn’t her daddy.
She climbed a little closer to me, put her arms around me, and took a big sniff. She immediately screamed, “It’s not Daddy. It’s Mommy! … You smell like Mommy! I found Mommy!”
In the darkness of the room, she identified me because of my scent.
Scientific studies show the power of a mother’s scent. According to some medical experts, “[B]abies start to recognize their mother’s scent before they are even born, and that ability serves a very important purpose.” This purpose includes calming and soothing an upset infant as well as helping the infant adjust socially to his or her environment.
While my daughter is far from an infant now, she still knows and smells my scent. Not in the same way that she did as a baby, but she still recognizes the scent of her mother, and it evokes emotions within her.
As her mother, that is pleasing to my soul. To know that she still needs me, is drawn to me, and, at her age, is still dependent upon me.
As I was lying there behind the pillows and listening to my daughter’s excitement after “sniffing me out,” I was quickly reminded of how important it is for believers to be the aroma, or the fragrance, of Christ.
Second Corinthians 2:15-16 says,
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
In these verses, Paul is “powerfully describing Christians as the aroma of Christ on earth,” according to Bibleref.com. The site goes on to explain Paul’s words as follows:
“Christians are the aroma of Christ in the world. In a very real sense, believers make Christ present on earth, as He is in them. Everywhere they travel, they symbolically ‘give off the smell’ of the Savior to the fellow Christians and unbelievers alike. It’s an aroma that is received differently depending on one’s eternal status. This attitude greatly differs between ‘those who are being saved’ and forgiven for sin in Christ, versus ‘those who are perishing’ in sin without forgiveness because they lack faith in Christ.”
So I can’t help but ask? Do you smell like the Savior? Do I smell like Christ? When both believers and unbelievers encounter us on a daily basis, do we give off an aroma that points them to our Savior, a fragrance that reminds them of the beauty of Christ? And when they do smell us, does our scent reveal who we really are?
Just like my scent made me easily identifiable to my daughter in a dark room, does our scent make us easily identifiable as followers of Christ in a dark and dying world?