In a world of facebook, face-time, and facial recognition it seems like the human face is pretty important to our culture. Encyclopedia.com describes it this way, “The human face is commonly seen as the key to identifying individuals.” This fact is no more evident then when someone is arrested. Two things happen right away: they are finger printed and a picture of their face or a “mug” shot is taken.
It’s written all over your face
Wikipedia also says, “The face is a central organ of sense and is also very central in the expression of emotion among humans….”
As a younger Christian, I had a serious face problem. My face was like a billboard for my emotions. If I didn’t agree with something a preacher said from the pulpit, my face would surely show it. While in Church, my husband would regularly poke me in the side and say, “Control your face.” I can’t even tell you how mad that made me. My face always got me into trouble because I couldn’t control it. Thankfully, I’ve grown up in recent years and have more of a handle on what I allow my face to project.
The countenance reflects the heart
The Lord of creation has something to say about the face, too. In the book of Genesis, God spoke to Cain before he killed his brother, Abel. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” You see, the murder had already taken place in Cain’s heart before he ever killed his brother. The angry look on Cain’s face gave the evil intention of his heart away. The face can also project ongoing, secret sin: “The north wind brings rain and a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.” (Proverbs 25:23)
The face can and will reflect our sin, but it can also reflect a life lived right and that’s where the power of the smile comes in.
Turn that frown upside down
I noticed some time ago that I default to a frown when I drive. When I realized this was happening I was distressed because that frown is not how I feel on the inside. Since I gave my life to Jesus some 30 years ago, my heart has been healing, so I’m no longer sad on a regular basis. Of course I have a bad day here and there, but as a general rule, I’m a pretty happy person. I want my face to reflect that joy, so, I decided to smile on purpose when I drive. I’ve been doing this for about three years now, so, if you happen to see me driving down the road with a big smile on my face, it’s not because I just robbed a bank and got away with it. It’s just me making my face get in line with my spirit.
The power of a smile
I was in an airport recently and had to go through the body scanner. Of course I was “flagged” and had to go to the side; that almost always happens to me at bigger airports. For some reason, they feel it necessary to check my hair for weapons. Seriously. The TSA guy said that my smile must have flagged the machine. I chuckled and thought he was joking, but as I looked back at the monitor, I saw something very interesting. If you have a piece of paper, or change, or anything in your pockets, it will show up on the monitor as white light. I’m not exaggerating. I glanced back at the monitor after I had gone through the scanner I saw that my mouth was filled with white light on the diagram. Cool!
Let’s face it, our faces are super important in our world. As Christians, a smile might just be the easiest and most effective tool we have to witness of the true light of Jesus and His love for people. Who knows, the Lord might just use our friendly faces to open a dialogue that will bring someone to Jesus. Perhaps our smile could actually save a life.
I leave you with this blessing from Numbers 6:26:
“The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance (smile) on you, and give you peace.”