|Douglas Frank Photo|
Do you smile easily? Some think smiling can be disingenuous and can’t be trusted. I had a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Supervisor for chaplain training who would admonish people for smiling too much. She had been a nun for 27 years and perhaps was angry at life and others who really were positive about it. I could tell much more about my journey for two years with her as boss. She felt that I was very tentative as a candidate because I had been an executive for 30 years before I was led by God to enter into full-time ministry. Trusting others was very difficult for her. I agree, sometimes we can laugh or smile too easily perhaps hiding a frightened or even dark heart. I think you need to know someone quite well to judge if they are cheery to hide something.
I just read a Pastor Charles Swindoll devotional speaking of “Smiling Faces.” He was talking about a can-do kind of confidence that is visible on a person’s face. In his story about then President Jefferson, people saw a confident face that earnestly smiled and therefore could be trusted. We all make quick reads in first impressions about people, sometimes way off base.
God wants His people to be filled with the Holy Spirit and it’s fruit, which includes, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faith, goodness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle of Philippians often called the Book of Joy. Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe wrote on it, Be Joyful. Some 20 times Paul, who was in prison, wrote sentiments like, “Rejoice, I say it again, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). He “rejoiced greatly” when at last someone came to visit him. He wants believers to “shine like lights in the universe.” I like that admonition that we should hold fast to hope with joy in our hearts and on our face as we await Christ’s soon return. Some 242 times the word “joy”appears in Scripture with “joyful”another 30 times. God love’s a cheerful heart and giver that smiles with a heart of joy.
If your smile is one of integrity, don’t let the joy stealers or aura suckers get you down, keep smiling. We live in a disgruntled world of general incivility and lack of trust toward one another. God is very clear about one another. We are to love, honor, accept, live in harmony and stop passing judgment on one another. This requires a person joyfully submitted to God’s commandments of obedience. The actual word “smile” only occurs three times in Scripture and those in the Book of Job as he grumbles about how fast life is speeding by. “If I say, “‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile’” (Job 9:27). Take this thought from a man who suffered much and consider smiling at one another. It takes fewer muscles to smile than frown.