This is not a slight on anyone who has a medical condition that causes any part of their bodies to give off offensive odour. l love you and pray you get all the help you need to bring an end to your discomfort. This is for those who are too lazy to cleanup or who believe that poor hygiene is excusable.
Some of the things you’re about to read might be offensive to some of your senses but bare in mind that it’s all for a good cause.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get talking.
On a scale of 1(one) to 10(ten) of personal hygiene, 10 being the highest, anyone who falls below 6(six) in my opinion, has poor personal hygiene or as my Nigerian people will say, “you too dirty.” (it sounds better in pidgin English)
Now l’m going to explain both the Physical and Spiritual aspect of poor personal hygiene. You might be wondering what connection poor hygiene has to your spiritual life. Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
Like I’ve mentioned before, l’m a Christian. l get all my inspiration from the word of God. The word of God is my life manual. There is no issue on this earth that doesn’t have a solution in the word of God.
That been said, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why being dirty is a nuisance.
It is my body and I’ll stink if l want to
I’ve always wondered why some people think that it’s okay to have poor personal hygiene or simply put, to be dirty. If a dirty person doesn’t have to interact with the rest of the world, then that will be perfect because they alone will have to deal with their filth. But since human beings are social creatures, the innocent have to suffer.
The bible says “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Simply put, do unto others as you would have them do to you. So if we know that someone’s mouth or body odour will offend us, we have to maintain good hygiene so that we don’t offend others.
On the other hand, if you happen to be one of those people who thinks “oh please, l don’t care. It’s my body and I’ll smell if I want to”,
you’re right. It’s your body but you don’t have the right to make other people feel uncomfortable with your smell. Everyone has a right to breath clean, fresh air. You infringe on other peoples rights to breath when your smell invades the air around them and that’s wrong. When you get to your house, you can smell all you want. Also, don’t feel bad when people have to stand at least 4(four) feet away from you when you speak or when there are at least 3(three) empty seats between you and your neighbour at any public function.
An unforgettable encounter
l once had a terrible mouth odour encounter n 2010. l can still remember the year it happened, so you can imagine how bad it was.
Back then, l used to be a bit shy. So much so that if my hairdresser gives me a bad hairdo, l just shut up, smile and pay her. Then go home to complain. So even if someone made me feel uncomfortable, l just suffered in silence.
On this faithful day, l was off to somewhere so l took a cab. It wasn’t an Uber arrangement or “a drop” as it’s popularly called in Nigeria, but a general cab where it’s the driver, four strangers and you.
Okay it was nothing like this but I’m sure you understand what I mean by a “general cab.”
Not all that glitters is gold
So l sat behind but between two people. The man sitting to my right was well dressed in a caftan, and he looked like he was on his way to an occasion. He didn’t smell bad either. l could tell from the fragrance of his cologne that it wasn’t expensive but l appreciated the effort he put into his looks and smell. Then his phone rang and he took the call. That was when the battle began!
The odour that hit my nostrils was like a punch. It covered my head like a hood.
l told myself that l could take it, besides there was no way he was going to be on the phone till we arrived at our destination. l was wrong!
This man kept talking loudly, and as the tempo of his voice increased, so did the odour. l knew in my heart that this smell was as a result of not brushing the surface of his tongue properly for days. l wasn’t brave enough to bear the smell any longer. l had to cry out.
l knew that speaking would be a risk because the second l open my mouth, some of that thick smell will rush in and l might swallow it. l had to take the risk because it was either that or l pass out from holding my breath too long. So l raised my voice. l didn’t mean to but l did. l shouted “oga (sir) please stop talking na.”
The man looked at me in shock. l thought he was going to slap me or say something awful to me, or worse still, ignore me and continue with his phone conversation. Surprisingly, he ended his call and there was peace in the land.
That’s not the proper way to handle such situations but it worked that one time. Besides, l was overwhelmed.
Cleanliness is next to godliness
I’ve had so many other encounters after that one. A lot of them, unfortunately were in church. l say unfortunately because the church is the one place you just one to focus and the last thing you need is a distraction in form of body or mouth odour.
l don’t believe anyone has an excuse for bad odour but this most definitely shouldn’t be found among Christian folk. Why? because the bible should be the standard by which we live our lives. Every part of the bible, no cherry picking.
God clearly says in His word that cleanliness is next to godliness. A lot of Christian folk who believe that God is only concerned with our spiritual well being, interpret this scripture to mean that “spiritual” cleanliness is next to godliness. But that’s not what it means. It addresses both spiritual and physical cleanliness.
It’s deeper than we think
There are a few reasons why people let themselves go and fall into the abyss of poor hygiene. It could be as a result of laziness, because let’s face it, it’s easier to be sloppy than to clean up after yourself. It could also be because we under value what we have, so we don’t make the effort to take care of it and keep it clean. There are other reasons but l believe that these two, Laziness and Ingratitude, are the major reasons.
My dear Christian brothers and sisters, do you know that laziness is a sin? If you don’t then you either do not study your bible or you haven’t been paying attention. Which means you don’t know much about God because if you do, you’ll know that He doesn’t tolerate laziness in any form. Laziness in the bible, is also referred to as slothfulness, derived from the word “Sloth”, which happens to be the name of an animal who’s natural state of being, is lazy.
Do you also know that ingratitude is a sin? How? Let me break it down for you. When you do not have value for the things you have, you take them for granted. You don’t take care of them because you either believe that if it goes bad you’ll just get another one or you feel that what you have isn’t good enough, so it doesn’t mean much to you. What better way to express your ingratitude to God than to under value what He has provided for you.
You see, we focus on the more obvious sins that are clearly stated in the bible; adultery, fornication, stealing, idolatry e.t.c What we forget is that these “obvious” sins are also a backdrop for the “less obvious” ones. Most importantly, there are no big or small sins. Sin is sin.
Ingratitude and Poor hygiene
When you can’t be bothered to take a proper bath, clean your home, keep your mouth clean and fresh, or appear neat in public, you’re indirectly telling God that you couldn’t care less about the fact that He has provided a roof over your head, clothes on your back, or a healthy body.
There are thousands of people who are homeless and don’t have a family member or a friend to squat with. So they leave out in the open and take shelter under bridges and store fronts but they’re still exposed to the elements. Some of them have the same level of education or even higher level of education than you and I . So their present living situation isn’t a reflection on their intellect.
It’s all about your Perspective
You and l have been blessed with a roof over our heads, whether large or as tiny as a cubicle, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have shelter. The least we can do to express our gratitude is take good care of it and keep it clean. When we take good care of the things God has blessed us with, whether it’s our bodies, homes or cars, we show God that we do not take Him and His blessings for granted.
I’ve listened to people complain that they don’t have enough and even what they have isn’t working right. 70% of their conversations are complaints. Meanwhile, you can’t even find a place to stand in their homes because everywhere is littered with filth. For people who complain about not having enough, they sure seem to have a lot of waste littered around. I wonder where the waste comes from since they don’t have enough.
The law of seed time and harvest
You might think “it’s not doing anyone harm. It’s my filth after all” but you’re harming yourself. Apart from the fact that poor hygiene is very harmful to your health because it creates the perfect living environment for harmful bacteria and disease pathogens. Have you ever heard the saying “whatever you sow, you will reap”? or “seed time and harvest shall not pass away”?
Well they’re not ordinary sayings. They are all in the bible. The Hindu call it Karma. It also happens to be one of the 3 laws of Newton; “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Can you see why I love the word of God? It is the foundation for everything you’ve seen, you’re seeing, and you will see in life.
My point is, poor hygiene, whether as a result of laziness or ingratitude, has a harvest. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from farming, it is that the harvest is usually greater than the seed. In life, the harvest shows up where and when you least expect. Be careful what you sow.
l have a lot more to say on this topic but l’ll continue next week. So till then, stay clean and God bless you.