How to be a better person #3


The second characteristic of a good attitude is joy (Galatians 5:22). When it becomes active, it spreads cheers. Jesus made this statement, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Joy can be a door that keeps out the obstacles the world throws at us. And when we dare to spread some cheer in spite of our trials and tribulations then even the world begins to bow at our attitude. It is difficult to look at a cheerful countenance without mellowing and reciprocating in some manner. Joy originates in the heart and then puts a smile on the face (Proverbs 15:13). “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). “It takes sixty-four muscles of the face to make a frown and only thirteen to make a smile” (Wa. 2190). Why not try smiling for fun?

Cheer is not a quality we are born with. We must develop it early and make it part of our attitude. The older we get the harder it becomes to acquire a favorable disposition. The earlier we teach our children, the sooner they shall display a more cheerful attitude (Deuteronomy 4:10). Without some guidance, none of us will learn how to behave under unfavorable circumstances. There are times when we must turn the other cheek and walk an additional mile with a smile on our face (Matthew 5:39-41). It is not just Christians that have to be cheerful, but also people that render service for profit. Customers are not likely to return to a place where they are being served by long faces, slouched bodies and in sloppy clothes. They are not as forgiving as parents that neglect to teach their children to be cheerful when they perform their duties. I have learned long ago that my failures and shortcomings were due to my own misguided disposition. My ancestors had a saying that a man with his hat in his hand had a better chance to cross the land.

Our attitude has to be saturated with joy before it can smile. It is not an easy chore to foster an attitude that displays consistently a cheerful face. It may require some closet work where we shed disappointments, resentments or any other ill feeling toward those that may despise us (Matthew 6:5-15). Some times we need a bit of artificial help to look our best in public. A little makeup can do wonders (Matthew 6:16-17). Clothes that fit our personality will elevate a cheerful face. There are experts that can help us match our physical makeup with our character. Makeup and clothes can make or unmake a person. They can enhance or hide our smile. “Life is like a mirror — if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile, it returns the greeting” (Proch. P.9). Looking in a mirror is a simple test and may help us face our tasks more cheerfully.

Smiling is a silent and universal language that is understood almost everywhere. Not too long ago, visitors to America were impressed not by what this nation had accomplished but by the way people smiled. They did not need a comedian to exert cheers. There were more happy faces than Sauer pusses. The people were not beleaguered with uncertainties. They had confidence in those that led this nation and neglected to build their own safety net. We have been misled into believing that others can make us happy. We have not been taught to tend to our own happiness. Even when we turn to religion, we find that even God leaves us on our own to create contentment. Instead of turning on a happy face, we show resentment and even hate. We have reached a point when we smile we become suspects of some evil plot. Now we are told, “Wipe that smile of your face or we will do it for you!”

I know how easily we can misread smiles. It took me some time to distinguish between pity and sympathy. Pity left me hopeless and sympathy gave me courage. The pity face felt sorry for what had happened to me. The sympathetic face was more cheerful and was pleased with the progress I was making in my recovery. There were people, I prayed that they would not come back and others I could not wait to see again. Some became life-long friends. I do not think I could have made it without their cheerful dispositions. Two clergymen in particular went out of their way to put joy into my life. Their presence was uplifting. They introduced me to people with happy faces at a time when I was not allowed to look into a mirror. The one minister had a big smile, spoke little, treated we as if I were his son and led me to believe that God had great things in store for me. A third minister helped me find the door that would help me become a minister to make others happy. Am I always cheerful? From time to time I do shed some tears of joy. However, In public, I put on a more wholesome face.

What nugget of wisdom can I pass on? We have only one life to live and if we burden ourselves with worries, we bring on us conditions that impair our health and our ability to smile. Most of the worries we cannot resolve and many are the fabrication of our own fear. I do believe that the Creator has endowed us with the ability to cope with problem when they arise (I Corinthians 10:13). Each day has sufficient ups and downs and we must believe that we can face them in an up mood (Matthew 6:25-34). It is of the essence that we learn to be content in whatsoever circumstances we might find ourselves (Philippians 4:11). It is no big deal to spread cheers when all is well. What does our face tell when we cope with difficulties? Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch had this advice: “I have made it a practice to put all my worries in the bottom of my heart and sit on the lid and smile: (Wa. 2191). “Blessed is she who serves laughter and smiles at every meal, for she shall be blessed with goodness” (Proch. P.10).