I love to smile. After all, smiling actually requires less muscle than frowning (call me lazy). 🙂
But have you ever smiled at someone just to have them look away? I have lived in a couple different areas of the United States and I have to admit, this happens everywhere.
There are many reasons someone may “diss” a smile. Whatever their reason, it can have the affect of making us regret the effort.
I agree, not every situation is appropriate to expect a smile. But what about the cases when a smile is not out of line, not awkward, and even arguably appropriate?
So what are we to do? The options include not smiling anymore, harassing the person until they acknowledge us, or choosing to continue to bless others with the validation of a smile regardless of their response. The latter choice is the one I believe Jesus would ask us to make.
For one, it’s not about us.
Smiling without any expectation of reciprocation is a humble act. Humility is a loving response to adversity. When we smile we are reflecting the love of God in our hearts. Love doesn’t expect anything in return (Luke 6:35).
On the other hand, it is about us.
Did you know you can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time? If a smile is a reflection of God’s love in our hearts, our smile has the affect of literally casting out fear (1 John 4:18). The choice to smile has the physiological affect of lifting our spirits. Regardless of whether anyone ever reciprocates, we are reinforcing the love of God in our own hearts and others’ when we choose to smile.
Ok, it’s about them.
Sometimes others don’t smile because they fear rejection, they want to maintain an image of not needing social validation, or they just didn’t notice you. If our motivation is to love then we give them the benefit of the doubt. We don’t fall into the trap of making ourselves look good or of thinking about ourselves at all. We even stand a chance of defrosting the hearts of those who have grown cold to human affection. We consider them better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Have you been in a situation where your choice to smile changed you or another person?