Grumpy Face

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Laurie Korstanie

Recently, my husband Casey and I were at a small restaurant for lunch. We went for fish and chips. 

We were the only ones in the restaurant and stood at the counter looking up at a blackboard where their menu was written out. 

It included various items, drinks and desserts. On the side wall was another giant blackboard with just the fish and chips selections. 

As Casey was scanning the front menu, he looked puzzled. “Where are the fish and chips listed?” he asked. The counter person and I simultaneously pointed to the giant blackboard to the right. 

“Ahh yes,” said Casey. 

We ordered the same thing, sat and had a nice lunch. 

I was either talking way too much, or he was really hungry. As he laid his napkin down on an empty plate, we both looked at my plate, which was still half full. I hate to be rushed so I enjoyed the rest of my meal but talked a little less. 

We had been the only ones in the restaurant for the entire time of our lunch. Then a woman came in, ordered takeout and sat down to wait. 

She was a slightly older than middle-aged. She looked at us both as we were leaving. 

When we got into the car, I mentioned that I smiled at the lady, and she didn’t smile back and looked grumpy. Casey, on the other hand, said he too had smiled at her and, though she hadn’t smiled back, he thought she looked sad. 

As we drove away, we speculated on why she might have been sad, or angry. We hadn’t heard any complaints while she was placing her order.

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Oh, they look mad, I’ll stay away from them?” Or have you ever looked at someone and thought they looked sad and wondered what could be wrong?

If someone is angry there may be general cues: a furrowed brow, yelling, mumbling or possibly swearing. If someone is sad, we may see tears, or a flushed face or pursed, trembling lips. 

But what if there is no yelling or crying? Can we correctly judge a person’s emotions or situation by strictly looking at their face? Probably not.

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

When we have lived with someone for many years, as Casey and I have—this year we crossed 48 years—we can look at them and quickly sum up their mood. Casey has said he can walk into a room and within a couple of seconds know just how I am by my expression. 

He can feel my anger or my happiness without nary a word being spoken. That is because he has had years of experience reading my emotions.

But what if we haven’t had years of experience with a person, how can we tell how they are, if no words are spoken.

Just like our lady in the restaurant, our interaction with her was brief, and one-sided. We smiled, she didn’t. We quickly made our assumptions and had different conclusions. I thought she looked grumpy and Casey thought she looked sad. Either way, our immediate response was to offer a smile.

We need to remember that we too are being seen and assessed by people on a daily basis. Let our faces show God’s love through us.

Proverbs 27:19 ESV

As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.

1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV

3) Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear—4) but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

We need to be sensitive to the cues we read in someone’s face.

If it is clear that someone is hurting, as a friend, we can reach out to them. Offer them a listening ear. It is not always advice someone is seeking, just a friendly ear. Or if we ourselves are hurting, there is no better ear to hear us then Our Lord.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalms 34:18

The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Let us not forget to also show in our faces, joy. A smile can be infectious and just what someone looking on might need.


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