Facial Expressions Transmit JOY

by | Jul 2, 2023 | 2023, Musings | 0 comments

For the past forty years or so, I have loved working with children. And one of my favorite observations is to note when a kid offers you his or her “full face.” What I mean by that is, when the child trusts you, when they are comfortable with your relationship and can see themselves speaking truth with you, they will offer you a “full face.”

I was intrigued the other day to see this concept discussed in the book called The Other Half of Church: Christian Community and Brain Science by Wilder and Hendricks. It is their contention that joy, real sustaining joy is found in the face of God…literally in His face.

They write, “Joy is both misunderstood and neglected in the modern church. One reason for the lack of a coherent theology of joy is the word choices translators make in some Bible versions. An example is Psalm 89:15 where the NIV translates this verse, ‘Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.’ In the Hebrew, ‘in the light of your presence” is literally “in the light of your face.’”

They go on to say, “In Psalm 16:11, ‘In your presence is fullness of joy’ (NASB), but the original Hebrew renders this verse, ‘abundance of joy with your face.’ In Psalm 21, the blessings of the God for the king of Israel are listed. In verse 6, it reads, ‘You make him joyful with gladness in your presence’(NASB). But a word for word translation of the Hebrew is: ‘You make him happy with joy with your face.’”

Wilder and Hendricks are convinced that we often miss the joyous value of the full face of God and by extension, we regularly miss it with each other. When we neglect to express the real happiness that reigns in our heart by spreading it across our face, we cheat our friends and family out of some sustaining joy.

A child lets you know what his mind and heart are thinking in a very practical way. They paint those sentiments across their face in neon. And so should we.

So, this week, let’s all work extra hard to express the deep sentiments of our heart with our face. Let’s anticipate who is coming into our purview and greet them with a huge smile. Let’s spread God’s joy through our facial expressions. Let’s let our eyes tell a story of love. It is easy to do and will have a profound effect on them and us!