What Does the Bible Say About Smiling?

Smiling is an expression of joy, happiness, and positivity that can lift our own spirits and brighten the lives of others. But what does the Bible say about smiling? There are many verses that encourage and instruct us to have joy, spread joy, choose joy, and let our joy shine through our faces. Smiling is one tangible way we can outwardly express inner joy and positivity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Smiling is linked to joy, cheerfulness, laughter, and gladness in the Bible.
  • We are instructed to choose joy and spread joy to others.
  • Smiling at others demonstrates love.
  • Smiling should come from internal joy, not false pretense.
  • God smiles at and takes joy in His people.
What Does the Bible Say About Smiling?

Smiling Reflects Inner Joy

Smiling is often a natural response when we experience joy and happiness on the inside. Biblically, joy is linked closely with cheerfulness, laughter, gladness, pleasure, and smiling faces. Here are some verses that make these connections:

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful…” (Proverbs 15:13 NKJV)

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV)

“You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” (Acts 2:28 NKJV)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NKJV)

These verses show us that inner joy is meant to be expressed outwardly through a cheerful, smiling face. As Psalm 126:2 (NKJV) says, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.”

We Are Instructed to Choose Joy

The Bible doesn’t instruct us to smile, specifically. But it does command us to choose joy, spread joy, walk in joy, increase our joy, and rejoice always. Choosing joy – even in difficult circumstances – is an act of faith and obedience. Here are some verses that instruct us regarding joy:

“Rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NKJV)

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NKJV)

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV)

“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” (James 1:2 NKJV)

Smiling is one way to tangibly walk in joy and spread it to others. As Isaiah 35:10 (NKJV) says, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Smiling Demonstrates Love

Smiling at others is a way to demonstrate the love of Christ without saying a word. Smiles convey warmth, care, acceptance, kindness, patience, compassion, understanding, empathy, and love. Smiling uplifts others and acknowledges their value and worth. Here are some verses that link love and smiling:

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face…” (Proverbs 15:13 NKJV)

“A glad heart makes a happy face…” (Proverbs 15:30 NKJV)

“Let love be without hypocrisy.” (Romans 12:9 NKJV)

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” (Romans 12:10 NKJV)

“Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” (Proverbs 27:9 NKJV)

Smiling at strangers, neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends is a way to share Christ’s love through a simple facial expression. It costs nothing and benefits much.

Smiling Should Reflect Genuine Joy

However, the Bible warns against fake or false smiles that do not reflect genuine inner joy. We should not smile just for show or pretend we are happy when we are not. Forced or fake smiles are not biblically encouraged. Here are some relevant verses:

“Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.” (Proverbs 14:13 NKJV)

“A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14 NKJV)

“I will not come with you, but I will smile when you are destroyed.” (Psalm 52:6 NKJV)

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.” (Psalm 55:12-14 NKJV)

As Christians, we want to walk in truth and transparency, not fake pretense. Our smiles should genuinely reflect the joy in our hearts. As 2 Corinthians 6:10 (NKJV) says, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…”

God Smiles Upon His People

One beautiful truth is that God Himself smiles upon us. He looks upon His children with joy, delight, rejoicing, singing, and gladness. When we please the Father, He responds with joy.

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7 NKJV)

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” (Psalm 149:4 NKJV)

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)

What an encouragement that God Himself smiles over us. He is pleased with our faith, obedience, and devotion. His pleasure is not dependent on perfect behavior, but on humble hearts surrendered to Him.

Choosing to Smile

Given all these biblical truths and instructions, we can see why choosing to smile is wisdom and obedience according to God’s Word. Here are some final encouragements about smiling:

  • Smile at strangers, friends, family, and particularly those who are lonely or struggling. A smile can brighten the darkest day.
  • Practice smiling even when you don’t feel like it, as an act of faith. “The joy of the LORD is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV).
  • Smile in the face of adversity and difficulty. Consider it “all joy” (James 1:2 NKJV).
  • Let your smile reflect the genuine joy of Christ in your heart. People can sense when a smile isn’t real.
  • Look for reasons to smile: God’s blessings, promises, salvation, grace, comfort, and daily joys.

The Bible links smiling closely with joy, love, laughter, and gladness. While we shouldn’t fake smiles, we should choose joy and spread it through natural, cheerful smiles that uplift others and reflect God’s light. Smile often and spread the love of Christ!

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