ODJ: gift of your smile

February 25, 2014 

READ: 1 John 4:7-12 

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (v.12).

The late film director Krzysztof Kieslowski was once interviewing actors for a film. During an interview, a young actress described to him how she’d go out and walk the streets of Paris when she felt sad.

As Kieslowski probed further he learned that 6 years earlier the actress had been close to a breakdown. One day she went out onto the street where she caught sight of the famous French mime artist Marcel Marceau—now a very old man. The actress walked past him, then stopped and turned to give him another glance. Marceau also stopped and turned. He then gave her a big smile lasting several seconds. “He saved me then,” the actress said. Kieslowski and the actress pondered whether all the performances Marceau had ever given could compare with to the fact that he helped save a young actress with his smile.

Like that actress, millions in our communities walk through life wondering if they matter to anyone. You can reassure them. The apostle John tells us to put our love into action (1 John 3:18). What simpler act of love is there than smiling at someone you pass on the street? While others avoid eye contact, showing indifference, you can imitate the God who is love (4:7-8). His giving love is revealed through our loving acts (vv.9-12). The gift of your smile shows that you care enough to acknowledge their existence and their great value.

Drive-through restaurants and self-service checkout lanes go against friendliness. Things like these make it easy to live without looking anyone in the eye. As an act of discipleship, let’s go out of our way to meet people and smile at them. You never know—someone in crisis might just taste God’s grace because of it. —Sheridan Voysey

Read Acts 10:38 and note why Jesus was able to do good and brighten the lives of others. 
How will you apply the simple act of smiling at others today? In some cultures, eye contact is considered confrontational. What’s a good alternative?