What’s behind your smile?

| June 9, 2015
Lakeya Stewart

The Rev. Lakeya Stewart

By the Rev. Lakeya Stewart

In many cultures, including American culture, a smile can say a lot.  I have seen angry individuals, and I mean angry, melt down and begin to cry in response to a genuine smile from someone who had once been classified as an enemy to them. I wonder what that was all about.

It has been my experience that church folks often hide behind their smile. Have you ever done that? You could have just lost a child and someone asks you, “How are you?” How many of us would smile and say “I’m great, and you?” I mean, it just seems right to say. This is great, but what happens when things aren’t great and your smile is only a façade.

All too often, smiles have been used to mask hurt. Friends and family members sometimes say the wrong things causing our feelings to be hurt and instead of confronting these people in love, we hide behind our smiles.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not every smile is an attempt to cover up hurt. Smiling in American culture is also a sign of joy and happiness. I remember seeing the smile on my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle to become his wife. His smile said more than any words could convey. His actions thereafter have suggested that the smile that I saw on that September day was a smile of peace in knowing that God had brought us together.

So, why are you writing all of this, Lakeya? Glad that you asked! I really believe that we all should take an introspective look into our own lives. I wonder what a smile means for you. If you smiled today, was it because you are genuinely happy about something, or was it to hide the hurt you have been feeling inside? If it is hurt that you are hiding, how can you find comfort in God?

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 17:22 ESV that “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Reconciling with the hurt that we feel and more specifically with the people that have wronged us whether in actuality or by perception can only benefit us. At the end of the day, or week, or even year, the person that has wronged us has continued on with their lives often times with no remorse and we are left to deal with our hurts.

Hiding behind a smile can be difficult. There comes a point when we realize that our smile is fake and we can no longer live life unhappy. It is when this happens, that we allow God to be God and we demote the people that have hurt us from the place of Him in our lives. Anything that consumes all of your thoughts and your emotions is your God. For some people it is money. For others, it is their children. As children of God, we should strive to keep God as God of our lives! No other person or thing is deserving of that rank in our lives.

On this week, I challenge you to consider what your smile really means. In fact, take the time to pray for others if you sense their smile isn’t genuine. Ask the Lord to give you discernment and ask Him to restore their joy. On this week, God wants to know if you are willing to be used by Him. Will you allow Him to use you to bring a smile to someone else’s face? God bless.

—Rev. Stewart

For questions or further correspondence concerning future topics or speaking engagements, please email a tRevStewartSpeaks@outlook.com.

The Rev. Dr. Lakeya Stewart, M.Div. D.Min., ABD attended Berea College and the Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky and earned a double major B.A. degree in Sociology and in African & African American Studies as well as the Master of Divinity Degree. The Rev. Stewart currently serves as the director of spirituality/chaplain for Signature Healthcare in Bluffton, Ind. The Rev. Stewart is currently writing a dissertation on pastoral leadership through Regent University.

 

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Category: Spiritual Matters

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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