The Problem with Smiles

Joker_smile_by_fading_innocence

Smile and the world smiles back at you – Stanley Gordon West

You will find that life is still worthwile, if you just smile – Charlie Chaplin

You can go a long way with a smile.  You can go alot farther with a smile and a gun. – Al Capone

What is it about smiling that people love?  Why do we associate smiling with happiness and having no expression with sadness?

My natural look is not a smiley one.  I don’t think I ever even noticed this until I was well into student ministry.  People would comment about being unapproachable if you didn’t smile.  I always wondered if Jesus smiled all of the time.  He says so many harsh statements that it is hard to believe He delivered those with a smile.  I’m sure smiling was part of His character, but maybe not to the level that Westerners value.

I write this because I hear one of the smilest people I know may have taken their own life this past week.  This person brought such great joy to a room with her personality and her smile.  I don’t know any of the details, but from what I’ve read it may be that those smiles were for us and did not represent what was truly going on in her life.  What we believed made her approachable and represented joy, was really just masking what was going on in her life.

I wish this was an anomaly, but I had another friend take his own life a few years ago.  Always smiling and kind when I saw him at the gym.  No one had any idea it was just a mask to hide behind.

Is smiling wrong?  Nope.  Smiing is awesome.  I am trying to smile and encourage people more each day.  However, let’s not put too much stock in what a smile means.  Facial expressions don’t always tell the story of what is really going on.  The sad looking person may just be thinking about something.  That smiley friend may have some horrible things going on in their life, but trying to put on a smile for you.

As believers let’s stop juding others by their facial expressions and begin getting to know their stories.  God might use you to change someone’s life.

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