Smelly people...what to do!?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Carolyn Dee, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. Carolyn Dee

    Carolyn Dee
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    Right off, let me say that this individual has some mental illness but her mind is very lucid and she is able to understand things really well. With that said...her personal hygiene is severely lacking. I mean...BAD. She smells SO bad that people LITERALLY sit far from her in church :rolleyes: .

    She is not a member but rather someone who might typically come along and see what he/she can juice out of a church, if you know what I mean (food pantry, free rides, money) :eek: . She comes pretty regularly.

    Ok, some of you are straining to ask: so what has been done about it already? Well, the preacher approached me and asked me to take the woman aside and talk to her (with another women present). The woman was not thrilled at being told she needed a bath, shampoo and a few trips to the laundromat. Anyway, she was provided with free personal products and sent off with admonishments. I do NOT want to tell her that she is not welcome - I don't want that on my conscience before God.

    Oh yes, to date (after several months of her continuing antics), she still smells. Obviously, she has not changed her habits. When I was in church last night, several individuals (including me) moved from their regular spots to sit elsewhere. I almost got up to leave altogether!

    Any suggestions (besides ganging up on her and tossing her into a Tide-laced baptistry) ????????? :( :( :(
     
  2. john6:63

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    Well that’s a tough question to answer. The church my family and I attend has a bus route that goes and picks up kids at a youth mission down town. Their clothes are soiled and smell, b/c their home life is distressing and they can’t fend for themselves. We show them all good Christian love and we leave the middle pews open just for them (not b/c they smell, but b/c we feel they need a front row seat to hear the gospel preached.)

    I have an aunt and uncle who both are mentally handicapped. They both are able to understand to a point, but they still need 24-hr care. I don’t know what this lady you’re mentioning home life is like, but I will say this though, Jesus taught love, compassion and humility to name a few. If she’s coming to church just for food, free rides or money, maybe a few women at your church should ‘adopt’ her and assist her in employment, money management, maybe she needs to be shown how to do certain things and not told and just show this lady love and compassion and not shun her.

    I hope I don’t sound mean, but you never know, she could be an angle of the Lord and how you treat this lady is a result of what your learning about how we should live and treat others. Church shouldn’t be a social gathering or a social club with little clicks, not saying your church is, but sadly some are.
     
  3. Precepts

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    Yeah, give her your testimony of when you got saved, you are saved aren't you? If the answer is yes, then you have something to tell her, if not start asking God to save you, then you can help meet her real need.

    I am saying this because, even though she has this problem, it won't do her any good to "clean-up" and not be saved.

    Don't forget, the poor and needy God will always take care of, and He uses His people to do it. the poor and needy are the fatherless, those still under satan's control, the "adopted" are rich beyond all measure, and that includes me!

    I know too well that people do take advantage of churches in this manner, but all they are doing is crying out for spiritual help, if all we meet is their material needs, we've failed. So get busy!

    It's the "spiritual" inclination to get "clean" after salvation, I shaved off my 15 year old mustache'! and that was just the beginnning, not limited to shaving.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    There is not much you can do to the person. You mentioned she has some sort of mental problem, and surely this suggests she doesn't comprehend what is happening.

    Something that has come to my mind with people who wear perfumes to church is to carry a hand spray and neutralize the zone. Have the ushers direct her to a certain pew where you have planted a hangup deodorizer in the hymn book rack.

    I do know that some diseases cause a body odour which is not pleasant to others. One such malady is Diabetes. The body gives off an obnoxious odour despite bathing and basic cleanliness.

    One church in Ottawa, placed a ban on the wearing of perfumes, aftershave lotions and such in the sanctuary. They actually forbid people to enter.

    Oh, the sweet smell of the gospel and how lovely are the feet of those who preach the gospel.

    Cheers, and best wishes,

    Jim
     
  5. Carolyn Dee

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    From Tea Time: the woman in question professes to be saved (I have observed her taking communion but that does not a clincher make). It would be a good idea for me to discuss the matter of salvation to her - good suggestion - perhaps she can hear something from my own testimony. As to her home, I would imagine it is not very clean. As for the suggestion of helping her find a job, she claims disability and politely rejects suggestions of easy employment (she can physically get around).

    Jim1999, as you say, there is probably not much can be done in the case of such a person. All my fellow parishioners and I can do is work with the situation and pray as we go along.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Darn, that was going to be my suggestion.

    Do you think this person might buy it if you explained that your church practices at-home self-administered baptism prior to attending every church funtion?
     
  7. dianetavegia

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    We have a mentally challenged woman in our church who was coming to church with body odor and singing in the large choir. Someone was asked to speak to her and found out that she and her husband were then living in a travel trailer with no bath facilities. I picked her up for S/S, she used the shower up in the Baptistry area (we provided soap, towels, dusting powder, deoderant) and dressed there until they got into govt. housing. People made a big deal of 'oh how nice you look' or 'aren't you all fancied up today'!

    BTW... I've been in her govt. home now many times and her place is spotless. I do mean spotless!

    Diane
     
  8. BillyMac

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    A persistent body odor could be caused by a failed deordorant. Changing to another doesn't always solve the problem as I have learned myself. In women that failure can be caused by changing hormones or so I am told by one in my family who has gone through that. That of course is an underarm problem. Women's feminine hygiene can also cause problems. One such lady in our church was plagued by this overpowering odor. Personally I think it had to do with the old wives tale about not washing during that time of the month. I don't know how that problem ever got resolved but it didn't happen all the time month to month.

    It is a fact that people to stink. Imagine what it was like 2,000 years ago when Christ was on this earth. By today's standards it must have been horrendous. Yet too, anyone who avoids sitting next to someone who is in this condition in church is too good to be there themselves. I look with skepticism at those who think that they are better than those who are the less fortunate of our society. The one person who will win that lady to Christ will be the one who sits next to her and befriends her despite her odor and her lack of cleanliness. Ask yourself "What Would Jesus Do?" if he was attending your services. Would He think of her: "Oh she looks like one of those who has come here to 'juice the church if you know what I mean'."??? Would He prejudge her that way, do you think??? Would Jesus speak of that woman and preface his comments to others in the church with: "She has 'some mental illness'..."??? Do you really think that Jesus would do that??? Do you think that Jesus would send this woman "off with admonishments"??? Can you honestly picture Jesus Christ doing such a thing as this???

    I am so mad right now I could spit. How can so-called Christians have this kind of inner attitude about PEOPLE and still say that they love Jesus??? There are people in our churches who do not reflect Jesus and who alienate others from accepting Jesus by their prejudicial attitudes towards the less fortunate. Excuse me while I go puke.
     
  9. Carolyn Dee

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    MAC When I said that this woman had a "mental illness," I was laying the ground in her defense in case anyone reading my first post wondered about her mental state. Of course Jesus would have welcomed and loved her with open arms anyway - that's why I had stated I would NEVER be a party to any suggestion that she leave.

    When I said "sent her off with admonishments," I should have said "sent her off with encouragements." I and another lady had spoken to her privately in a calm and respectful manner after giving her a gift basket of personal products. She was NOT lectured or scolded - pains were taken to put her at ease. We stressed to this sweet woman that we did not want to embarass her or make her feel rejected. Since that meeting, she is still coming pretty regularly to church so she is hardly feeling rejected. The people in my church are really kind towards her and I have seen women put their arms around her and talk to her.

    But in the meantime, I heard what you are trying to say - that we ought to love all who come equally and without partiality. It is my prayer that the Lord will steer my mind and heart in the right direction in regards to this woman. After all, as one respondent already said in her, this woman could be an angel is disguise. [​IMG]
     
  10. cooncreekers

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    as one who reads these posts daily, but rarely posts myself, all i can say is AMEN mac [​IMG]
     
  11. Dina

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    Tea Time, this post is NOT to antagonize, just to bring up food for thought.

    &gt;&gt;Right off, let me say that this individual has some mental illness but her mind is very lucid and she is able to understand things really well.&lt;&lt;

    Are you sure, she understands? I have a mentally handicapped child, sometimes it SEEMS he understands things perfectly well. Later, we realize he didn't. His understanding of concepts, especially new ones, is never assumed.


    &gt;&gt;The woman was not thrilled at being told she needed a bath, shampoo and a few trips to the laundromat.&lt;&lt;

    Perhaps the reason she was not thrilled is because she is already doing those things???????

    &gt;&gt;Oh yes, to date (after several months of her continuing antics), she still smells. Obviously, she has not changed her habits.&lt;&lt;

    Do you know this for a fact?? Pehaps she was and is still practicing good hygenics. And how do you know they are "continuing antics"??

    A little real life anecdote for the situation. My dh is a former Marine. He knew a guy in the Corp that showered several times a day, with de-odorant soap, wore some of "the best colognes and aftershaves", yet 5 min after emerging out of the bathroom still smelled like he just finished a 20 mile hike, with full packs, in the summer.

    Perhaps, she has a body chemistry disorder?
    Perhaps, she has never been shown "how to wash"?
    Perhaps, she has been shown, does it regularly, and still has this issue??
     
  12. HankD

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    I like mac's response.

    Smelling "good" is a cultural thing.

    I remember a missionary saying that he and a fellow American preacher picked up a national on a lonely rode to give him a ride.

    It wasn't long before everybody had their heads out the window.

    They couldn't handle his "BO" and he couldn't handle the "good smell" of their after-shave.

    And yes mac, I suppose after a long hot August day walking and preaching in Israel, Jesus and the apostles would not pass our social correctness aroma tests.

    But, that was then and this is now. [​IMG]

    HankD
     
  13. donnA

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    Unless you know for a fact she isn't bathing and the smell isn't casued by something else, mind your own business. Some medicines and some illnesses casue body odor, no matter how much the person baths. Actually they can be cleaner then you and still have an odor. Would you want to hurt this woman by telling her she smells, and then find it it's due to some medical condition. We are to love and accept people as they are, we don't tell them to go get scleaned up and we'll love and acept you and talk to you fellowship with you. God didn't do that to us, we were stinking with sin, remember the good works as filthy rags, remember while we were yet in our sins Christ died for the ungodly, He didn't tell us to clean up and come to Him. He loves and acdepts us as we are, He even loves the filthiest person immaginable. Although the smell may be uncomfortable no one has the right to treat her asshe is being treated. For goodness sakes, people need to act chritian toward her, unearned, unmerited love and acceptance instead of clean up and earn love and accpetance.
    Which sounds more christian, earned or unearned acceptance and love?
    All thses people moving away from her need to repent and treat her like they do anyone else in the church.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    I think Teatime has stated the case, and some are being very judgemental here. She has addressed the situation and ruled out certain causes. The question remains, the question she asked, what would you do?

    Frankly, I can't stand perfumes, and would rather have the body odour. At least it is natural. The perfumes are just obnoxious and rude.


    I like that hymn: Just as I am.....that is how we come to Jesus, and that is how we receive people. This does not negate the unofficial Salvation Army motto: Soup, soap and salvation,,,,,and often in that order.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Helen

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    While I recognize the need to accept people for what they are and that sharing the love of Christ and one's testimony should not be hindered by 'outside' matters, the fact is, folks, that there are some body odors that are so bad dogs won't go near them! If people are moving away from this woman in church, it is not simply a subtle 'bad smell,' but a stinging, harsh, incredibly offensive smell.

    And yes, it could have a number of causes.

    My suggestion would be not to just hug this woman, but to 'walk alongside'. Become her friend. Find out about her. Find out where she lives and such. It may be that she has a severe medical problem and cannot afford to see a doctor, or cannot afford the medicines, or cannot afford any number of things. That can be done by the church. We cannot just 'pray' for people and then 'wish them well.'

    Find out who she is, and the Lord, I am sure, will reveal at the same time what the problem is. Everyone needs friends, this lady included. Hugs at church are not enough. There are six other days in the week this lady must get through. How is she doing it?
     
  16. massdak

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    well, what ever you do if you cannot do it out of love and concern for her soul then do not do anything. it sounds to me the problem is more so of your nose, not the poor womens odor.
     
  17. Carolyn Dee

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    Hello to all. When I wrote that this woman came to church to see what she could "juice" out of it (rides, food, money), that comment was not without merit - she is well known for having traveled between several local churches (some Baptist, some non-Baptist) for the same things (she even carries empty containers in anticipation of obtaining food). Her odor is not due to any kind of a medical condition whatsoever - she was examined by a doctor and pronounced free of any chemical and medical causes. She may seem like a scrounger but she is a survivor in a tough world. She is pretty cognizant, able to speak clearly, walk and write.

    She has apparently settled in my church for the long term and I like to think it's because my fellow members has shown her more kindness and acceptance than anywhere else. Lest anyone think I am completely heartless towards her, I have told her to STAY in my church because of the good doctrine and good Bible preaching.

    Because I am made of flesh ( and a good nose ;) ), I will have to go with it and allow my renewed nature to win out through Christ. I apologize to anyone who thought I spoke flippantly about her - I guess I was trying be humorous about it. Lord, keep a watch before my mouth :D !

    Now that I have justified myself :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: , I think this topic should come to an end.
     

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