Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2 (NIV)
In our community a new gas tax substantially increased the cost of purchasing gasoline, but this story is not about rising gas prices. If you are one of those people who do not like hearing about bodily functions, skip this essay. I don’t know why, but I am having a terrible problem with gas these days. Perhaps it is age. After all, I have heard the stories about the old ladies who walk through the mall making offensive noises as they go. I suspect it is because I am trying to eat healthy things in my quest to lose weight. Whole grains, fresh fruit, lean meats and yogurt all seem to be harder for my system to process than the fatty, sugary intake I used to give it. Fortunately, much of my day is spent outside or in the solitary confines of my office. Then, I can just let loose with what often surprises even me with its stench. But, many times, when I feel the pressure build, I am with others. What is the polite thing to do? It is a real dilemma. My husband used to have a loud southern talking friend who had the same problem, and he was very vocal about it. “Whooee!” he would exclaim. “That was a ripe one.” Then, he would fan himself with great exuberance. In the car, when confronted about a suspicious smell, often one of my boys will say, “I’m guilty and proud of it.” I prefer not to be so obvious, yet, with only two people in the room, the other person has to know who did it! Even outside, unless they are upwind, they are going to figure out what happened. Rather than make a joke out of it, I can just stand there and try to ignore it or move the person with me to another part of the room hoping the smell will dissipate. But, nothing really seems satisfactory except to say, “I’m sorry, excuse me.” Which is also as embarrassing, but at least acknowledges some harm has been done. Passing gas is a sure fire reminder that I am human. Perhaps, God is using it to keep me humble these days. The same thing happens when I am wrong. As much as I would like people to believe that I am perfect, I am only human and prone to err. When I am wrong, I have similar choices to make. Ignore it and hope others will as well. Cover up my mistake thinking that they will not trace it back to me. Make a joke out of it. Or simply say, “I am sorry.” How do you react when you make a mistake? Be truthful. Don’t be afraid to show your humanity or say you are sorry. God is willing to forgive and in most cases, so are the people around us. Unless of course, we pollute the air they breathe. Then, a little air freshener along with our apology might be in order.