It’s Contagious!

These days we’ve learned to beware of germs. We’re afraid of Covid-19 because it’s an unseen danger and can infect people quickly. But there are good things that are contagious too, such as a smile. Have you noticed the Americans smiling more this week? Their new president has a wise, caring smile and people have caught it. Those who once looked down with disgust and heartbreak are now looking up with hope and optimism. Solomon wrote, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13).

Lots of research has been done about smiling. It has been found that when someone walks into a room with a big smile on their face, people automatically mimic it. The whole room will light up with smiles. I’ve noticed that when our church greeters smile and welcome people, just about everybody who walks thorugh the front door gains a smile too. Kids beam, the elderly chuckle, those who are lonely feel better, and those who put up with pain suddenly feel a wave of good feelings. Smiles can pass from one person to the next and can make life feel better. I miss that right now because we can’t meet in the church building, but smiles still radiate even in our Zoom meetings.

When we smile, lots of good things happen. It can boost the immune system, relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and release natural painkillers within us. It lifts the face and makes us look younger. We feel more confident and positive. Isn’t it easier to warm up to someone with a smile than it is to try to endure the presence of someone with a scowl? After God made important promises to Abraham, He told him to “be a blessing” (Gen.12:2). One simple way to do that is to smile at people.

Someone might say, “How can I smile when I feel awful inside?” That’s a good question. But offering someone a smile is something we can do despite the way we feel. In fact, the people you smile at may need it more than you. And you might just find yourself feeling better.

Offer a smile and watch people catch it.

– Tim Johnson