“Stop smiling!” DMV photographers in Virginia, Arkansas, Nevada, and Indiana are among the states requiring grin-free pictures on residents’ drivers licenses. Apparently, face-recognition software is thrown off by curled up kissers. The objective is to curtail fraudulent drivers licenses. So, by rule, there will be no smiling when the photographer says “cheese.”
Like you, I know a great many people who need no such rule–whether at a DMV or any one of a million other locations. They are perpetually miserable, and their faces show it. Incredibly, too many of those I know like this claim to be Christians. They sport their sour dispositions and spread thunder clouds and downpours wherever they go. To borrow Paul’s words on more than one occasion, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”
“Happiness” is synonymous with “Christianity.” The Christian’s life is far from problem-, stress-, or trouble-free, but the greatest problem (sin) is solved, the greatest stress (earthly concerns) is benign, and the greatest trouble (death) is surmountable. People hurt us, betray us, offend us, and undermine us, but we are heaven bound! We can be happy because “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). Isn’t it hard to obey commands like “be thankful” (Col. 3:15), “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4), “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (Matt. 5:12; Luke’s account says, “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy”–6:23), or similar injunctions with a sour face and a permanent frown?
Matthew Hite was eight years old when he took his first missionary trip to Tanzania. While there, he made up a little game he called “Sweet And Sour.” He would smile at all the pedestrians walking down the road. If they smiled, he counted it as a “sweet.” If they scowled or simply failed to smile, he counted it as a “sour.” Almost everyone of the impoverished people of that nation were “sweets.” Are you a “sweet” or a “sour”? If you are a Christian, remember that God has not imposed a “no smile rule” on you. If anything, He’s done the opposite!