Can you show love with only a glance? Much of literature says, “yes!” Countless love stories, movies, poems, and songs all agree.
But can we actually minister to someone with a look, a smile, or a glance? Can it really make a difference? According to Proverbs 15:30, it can.
“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart . . .” Proverbs 15:30
The opposite is surely true. When someone gives us the stink eye, the sideways glance, the raise of eye brows, we react. If a child looks up from her play and sees her mother give her a slight frown, the child knows something is wrong. If her mother smiles, the child continues to play without a worry.
I sometimes wonder what my face looks like throughout the day. It’s probably not always great. While I try to smile at the people I meet and look pleasant, I also know I’m quick to frown, quick to roll my eyes, quick to pull a face. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves; I wear mine on my face.
Truth is, a cheerful look can invite people to open up, feel welcome, and relax. A smile can encourage someone to keep trying. And it’s not just pop psychology or good vibes; it’s theology!
It’s kind of cool to think that we can minister to other people with just our facial muscles. Even the most shy and introverted people can give a friendly smile to say hello.
Here are some ways we can bring joy to the hearts around us:
- Your Husband: Our husbands tend to get the bulk of our grouchy moods, our disappointments, our sorrows, even our anger. Smiling at your husband when he comes in the door or into a room can lighten the mood and bring him joy.
- Your Children: If you have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or work with younger people in any capacity, you are probably busy giving advice, teaching, training, and correcting much of the time. I know my face is quick to settle into a tight jaw and furrowed brows. My kids brighten up when I give them an encouraging smile. It’s like magic.
- Your colleagues: Regardless of who you spend time with—either at work, at church, at your children’s school, or in your women’s ministry, we all interact with other people. Interacting with cheerful people is just the best. Make it your goal to be the person who has a cheerful countenance.
- Your extended family: It’s easy to get stressed out, anxious, or even emotional around relatives. Sometimes it’s a wonderful experience. Sometimes it’s not. Saying a quick prayer and putting on a kind smile in a family gathering might make more of a difference than you realize—for you and for your loved ones.
- Other women: This is a big one. I meet women who are friendly and smiley, but I also meet a lot of women who give the stare and then look away. That tempts me to shut down and step back. On the other hand, I LOVE meeting women who smile as though they want to know me. I bet Jesus smiled at new people. Let’s be the first one to smile and say hello.
- Your cashier: You can bring so much joy to the people you meet at the store. Smiling at your cashier can be the best way you open up communication. I make it my goal to make sure my cashier is laughing by the time I am done paying. It’s also a great time to share about my faith because I’m usually buying something that I’m going to cook or take to a church-related event.
- That Young Mom: I saw a young mom the other night at a children’s ballet performance. She looked like she needed about a week’s worth of sleep, so I smiled at her, cooed at her baby, and asked her if she was okay. She said she was tired and her baby wouldn’t sleep. I smiled and empathized. She didn’t want to talk and left soon after, but I took her home in my heart and prayed for her and her baby.
- Strangers: While you might not want to give an encouraging smile to every stranger you meet, I find that there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who smile and are friendly and those who aren’t. I really like meeting people around town who make a point of putting on a friendly face. Don’t you?
And the benefits of smiling don’t just go one way. Science even backs up this eternal truth: When your brain feels happy, it makes you smile, and when you smile, it tells your brain you’re happy. So it’s a win-win all around.
It all starts with a smile. When you actively pull your facial muscles upward, allowing a smile to spread to your cheeks and a twinkle to spark in your eyes, you bring joy to others.
To read more articles about my faith and the goodness of God’s Word, click here!