“A glad heart makes a cheerful face.” (Proverbs 15:13, ESV)
I discovered something today. The word smile is not in the Bible, or at least not in the King James Version. It does appear a few times in other versions, but usually in supplication for God to smile (shine) upon us.
What caused this sudden interest in smiling? I saw a short clip online of an experiment in which someone would smile at a stranger on the street and wish them a good day. As you can imagine, some of the “smiled at” viewed the smiler with suspicion, while others quickly scurried away from this weird person. However, several gave a big smile of their own and seemed cheered by the encounter. After watching the video, I decided the one who may have benefited most from the experiment was the person offering the smiles. They confessed it boosted their spirits and made them want to give even more smiles.
Smiles are healthy. Yes, really. They lift our mood, lower stress, reduce pain, and even increases our productivity. Although Proverbs 17:22 doesn’t use the word smile, I think the verse is applicable.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (ESV).
A joyful heart often shows itself as a smile.
One of the things I’ve really missed during the past two years of wearing masks is being able to smile at someone and to see their smile in return. Sometimes I see crinkles around their eyes, and I’m sure they are smiling behind their mask. I hope they see my smile crinkles too. A simple smile may change that person’s day. And mine.
You may ask, “How can we smile when life is tough?” I’m not recommending you “fake it” and plaster on a smile anyway. I would suggest that you take time to consider God’s innumerable blessings in your life. As Psalm 68:19 reminds us, He “daily loads us with benefits.” As we fill our hearts with gratitude, we will realize we have many reason to smile. This does not ignore our struggles, but it does acknowledge how God faithfully cares for us.
While the actual word smile may not be in the Bible, the concept certainly is. A smile says, I see you and care about you. You are valuable in God’s sight and mine. Smiles welcome, encourage, include. It lets the person know they matter. And it only takes a second or two to do all that!
A smile is a powerful thing, especially when offered with love, kindness, and acceptance. Touch someone’s life today–give them a smile. You will both benefit.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia