“Hot, humid and sweaty again. Yuck!” Carl complained as he repacked his suitcase at the hotel.

There was no doubt that five days of sweaty activities shared with his brother, friends and family was a real outdoor experience for Carl. Hiking, exploring, biking, kayaking, in-line skating, boating, fishing—there was hardly time left for Carl to dress for his part as best man at his brother’s wedding.

All that activity resulted in stinky clothes that did not make it to the hotel laundry. Every moment he could enjoy before the wedding with his soon-to-be-married brother, Carl did. Now it was time for Carl to repack his duffle bags and suitcase.

Three days of travel were ahead: an overnight ferry trip to the mainland and two days on the highway before getting back to his cabin.  The young man was jamming wadded up dirty clothes on top of the folded clean ones in his suitcase. His dirty clothes would smell up the whole suitcase.

“Do you want a bag for the dirty ones?” his mom offered as she poked her head in the doorway.  “That way, all you have to do is pull out the bag and wash those clothes.”

“No,” Carl replied. “I can tell the dirty clothes just by the smell.”

Sin is the same way. The odor permeates and affects everything else in our life. Once we know what God considers right and wrong, we need to act on it and make changes. Then something beautiful happens: God gives us a brand-new chance. He extends and gives us the gifts of forgiveness and compassion—and expects us to show it to others.

When the Pharisees and teachers of the law brought an adulterous woman to Jesus, they wanted to trap him with his opinion of the Law of Moses and what to do with her. All knew the penalty was for her and her lover to be stoned to death. But the man involved was nowhere to be found. Jesus just wrote in the dust, then challenged them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  The crowd disappeared.

Jesus didn’t stop with forgiving her. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She affirmed none. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” [John 8:6, 9, 11]

Leaving behind a bad habit and avoiding bad choices  may mean ending relationships or cutting time with friends involved in activities that are wrong for us or our families. In his goodness, God has chosen us. We can choose good.

Sin is gone. The suitcase doesn’t smell anymore. And the best thing of all is the close friend you have in Jesus.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and her recent Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. She is author of several other books, including new release Bring on the Blessings of Baskets ~ Easy, Fast, Personalized and Outreach Ministry Gifts. Amazon . Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

Feeling Blue?

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How Do I Count My Blessings When the Toilet is Overflowing?

The Choice We Have Between a Dead Egg and a Live Savior

Never Give Up!

Can Kermit and Miss Piggy Marry and Live Happily Ever After?