Smile - and Be Happy
By Irene C. Taylor
Someone has observed that, in our walk through life, we have two choices: (1) optimistic or (2) pessimistic. For the optimist "the good in life overbalances the bad" while the pessimist holds that the "evils of life overbalance the happiness it affords" (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary).
The Christian has every reason to be an optimist. Our heavenly Father has promised to provide the needs of life if we will put him first (Matt. 6:33). Further, he has promised that he will not allow us to be tempted supernaturally (1 Cor. 10:13).
Christians have the hope of an eternal home with God in return for a life of faithful service here. Man may take our life, but he cannot destroy our soul (Matt. 10:28).
It is sad, indeed, to see one, especially a Christian, go through life viewing only the bad and dwelling on the problems which come his way. By so doing, he misses all the beauty God has placed upon the earth. Some folks seem to be endowed with an overdose of the objective, kickative mood. They look for only the bad and fail to see good in anything or anyone. They major in finding fault and complaining. Such folks miss out on happiness and spread gloom wherever they go.
The Bible extols the virtues of a happy heart. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Prov. 17:22). "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance" (Prov. 15:13). It has been estimated that it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 muscles to frown. Smile! It is good for you. A smile is a universal language that brings joy both to the giver and the receiver.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 reveals there is "a time to weep, and a time to laugh." There are times when laughter is out of place. We are to "bear one another's burdens" and "weep with them that weep." We are also to "rejoice with them that do rejoice" (Gal. 6:2; Rom. 12:15).
The joy of Christianity should radiate in the countenance of the Christian. "In no other religion and in no other literature is joy so conspicuous as in Christianity and in the Bible. Physically and psychologically speaking, it is the criterion of health whereby all the powers and affections are enriched and harmonized. [sic] So in religion it denotes the satisfaction of the soul at attaining its desire; and Christianity stands firm so long as men who have it are invested with joy" (Biblical Encyclopedia Concordance, KJV, The World Publishing Co., p. 222).
Paul reveals that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17).
The psalmist declares:
Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.... But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law cloth he meditate day and night (Psa. 1:1-2). Yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord (Psa. 144:15b).
There is a song in many of our hymnals which goes something like this: "Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done." If we spent more time being thankful for the many blessings which God daily showers on us, we would have less time to be sad and disgruntled.
Who among us does not prefer the company of one who is happy and cheerful in outlook to the one who has a black outlook on life? Christians should reflect the joy that inheres the Christian life. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" (Matt. 5:12). Cast your cares upon the Lord and smile.
Published August 1996