If looks could kill, I would have been a master assassin! Some of you know “the look”, the “sister girl”, the “evil eye”, or “mean mugging” that you inherited from your culture (translation = generational sin). It’s not exclusive to my inherited culture but to the cultures of many nations. Regardless of earthly culture, “the look” is not typically used to spread joy or be hospitable. It is usually used to show disapproval, disdain, or judgment. I recall now over a decade ago some stranger asking me “Girl, why don’t you ever smile?” I either thought or quipped in my best attitudinal “look”: “What is there to smile about?!” Yikes, that stranger could have been an angel unawares (Hebrews 13:2) and I bombed that hospitality test big time. The joy of the Eternal Papa had not gotten hold of me yet and would not for many more years.
It wasn’t until five or six years ago that a friend mentor, Pearl, would explain to me what “ the look” really meant. Pearl knew “the look” very well first hand. She was the recipient of “the look” for two decades. She knew the feeling of being shamed and criticized by what I dismissed as an innocent “look” and she explained that “the look” was not walking in Kingdom love. Yes, one could technically say they were not saying anything harmful but my countenance was effectively shaming and criticizing others without words and pushing others away from the Kingdom I professed to know. “How could this be? Generations in my culture have done this and it’s normal. Right?” Hmmm….Pearl was lovingly and gently challenging me with God’s Word on countenance. That seemingly simple “look” or countenance was not walking in the love of the Kingdom but displaying a manifestation of the flesh.
Proverbs 15:13 “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
IF LOOKS COULD GIVE LIFE
About ten years ago when I began graduate school I met a wonderful lady named Lisa. Lisa was my school’s leader of the African Diaspora branch of Cru. She was an incredibly beautiful Believer with this unusual amount of never ending joy and glow. She was curious to me, as I could only recall a few women in that season of life that had that same beauty that was far beyond the physical. She never had a scowl and always had these great kind words to draw people out. She was phenomenal in reaching students for the Kingdom. When I met her daughters who were not much younger than I, I was even more amazed. They too along with Lisa’s husband had this inherited beauty that extended far beyond their natural prettiness by human standards. I was frankly puzzled. As silly as this sounds, I could not figure out how they could just be so joyful. It would take me almost a decade to finally figure out where their joyfulness came from: spiritual fruits. I remember reading over these fruits in Galatians 5 but never had I truly embodied them in my person. There were hints of them that would be displayed during convenient times for specific situations or people but their display was not consistent. December 2010, Eternal Papa leveled with me in gigantic proportions. He unveiled to me my true nature and it was not a Kingdom nature. I was not like Abba who is not a respecter of persons (I had favorites). I did not extend grace freely, kept running tallies of others transgressions, and used my countenance to shame and criticize others.
Abba began removing the old feisty flesh and brought forward a new fiercely faithful woman for the Kingdom. He imparted a joy within me that I could not explain in words. My heart felt uncontrollably merry and I could not help but smile persistently. I became a Church greeter and felt for the first time in life like I could share the same joy that Lisa and Pearl knew of. I even began to enjoy singing songs to the Lord and worshipping Him in my free time…alone. The joy of Eternal Papa had gotten a hold of me! What I have learned is that serving others is a tremendous honor and a smiling face is an easy way to bring others to the door of the Kingdom. There is nothing canned in a Kingdom smile but a purity of the Lord. It is a smile that lights up the room and warms the environment. It is a smile that both children and adults are drawn to. It is a smile that reflects the beauty of our Eternal Papa. It does not scowl, shame, or criticize. It is a smile that makes both Believers and the world wonder, “What makes that person so joyful?” I encourage each of us to consider our countenance and ask two questions. Do we give the “look that could kill”? Or do we give the “look of life”?
Abba, please reveal to me anything in my outward temple that does not reflect your joy. Change my heart so that I can show an unconditional joy and attract others to the Kingdom. – Amen
*Real names of friends have been changed
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