Dead People Stink…

…and they walk among us. Their words fill the air with a thick  blue fog of foul odor; through their actions it’s not uncommon for them to leave behind bits of “rotted flesh.” Their grave clothes leave them bound and helpless to do anything about their condition.

It’s not uncommon to be flipped off, told off, or put down by complete strangers anymore – or even by people you know. I see this happen frequently. On occasion I’m the recipient. It used to really bug me when people were ill-mannered and self-centered.

One day I came to see that these people do not know Jesus. According to the Bible they are dead in their trespasses and sin.

Duh! Dead people stink. They can’t help it.

Should this insight give me a sense of superiority to them? Hardly. If it wasn’t for Jesus, I would still be just like them.

Once we are made “alive in Christ,” though, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Consider Lazarus.

He was dead as they come – four days in the tomb. I love how the King James records Martha’s response when they were told to take away the stone that covered his grave, “Lord, by this time he stinketh!”

There is no stench like a rotting carcass. Stick your nose in a bag with a pork roast that’s been left too long in the refrigerator, if you doubt this. I made this mistake once and gagged all the way to the dumpster!

Fortunately for Lazarus, the grave was opened. Then Jesus called him by name. (Good thing He did. Had Jesus said, “Come forth” without specifically naming Lazarus, there would have been a lot more excitement that day! ;))

Once Lazarus made his way out of the tomb, Jesus instructed those present to loose him. It is interesting that Jesus didn’t do it Himself. He was the epitome of servanthood. I doubt Jesus thought this was “beneath” Him; but rather, handled it this way as an example for us to follow.

A newly “resurrected” person, made alive in Christ is still bound in his grave clothes…addictions, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes. They’re still very smelly. Unless this person gets help from the “living” (other believers), he or she will be unable to remove the things that bind. We are called to come alongside their stinky, newly alive frames and assist in the unwrapping. For instance, Lazarus’ arms were bound to begin with – and rendered the fellow helpless in getting loose on his own.

Once this person has been thoroughly bathed by the washing of the water with the Word, he begins to be less “aromatic.” In time, he will learn to wear his new robe of righteousness – and be ready to assist someone else in the process.

And it is a process!

When I grasped this, I began to navigate life with more grace. I can (but don’t always – sorry, Lord) have compassion for those who are still dead, and pray for their release from death. I now mourn over their condition.

And once they’re truly alive, I have the joy of being invited to participate in the process of setting them free. It will be stinky for a while, but before long they will become “the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

They must be unwrapped gently, though. There’s brand new baby skin under those grave clothes!

In the meantime, they stink and they can’t help it. Let’s not content ourselves with criticism for their rotten behavior, or judge them.

With this in mind, when you find your co-worker or the person in line at the store stinking up the joint, just remember: They’re dead; they can’t help it!

(Originally posted at on 4/25/13.)


5 thoughts on “Dead People Stink…”

  1. Love, Love, Love this!!! Girl you have the anointing of BOLDNESS all over you, praise God!!! I praise the Lord for planting you right here with your willingness to deliver your DYNOMITE messages……I am ready to see the dead raised up, the stink extinguished and the sweet aroma of Jesus penetrate the earth and a BOLD spirit is where it begins!!! Glory to God!!!

    1. Not bad for a “chicken”! Your gravatar would more accurately portray ME, I think!

      To think about the “creepy” people I run into in this way helps me to be much more empathetic and compassionate. I’m thankful that Jesus showed me their true condition. He’s awesome that way. 🙂


      1. Yes Tami, this is something I have struggled with myself. I have had to remind myself that I used to be chief of the stink and I still stink in some areas of life. God has been patient with me as I have had a tendency to be the stink police but He has taught me and reminded me that all the stink of the whole world is His business and gets deodorized on His time table and at His choosing even when I am the vessel He uses as the deodorant…….Yes, far too often I am the dumpster – YUCK!!! But then, I am the one that asked the Lord to take my life and do something good with it. How much more good can it be than to give life to the stench of rottenness? It is a stinky job, but someone has to do it!! 🙂

  2. I still struggle with a judgmental attitude, and I have no explanation for it, since I am fully aware of the grace by which I am saved. This is a great picture from one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. Thanks!

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