Lately my wife and I have been binge-watching a show on Netflix called “Lie to Me.” It’s about an expert in facial expressions, Dr. Cal Lightman, who according to the show, can tell if a person is lying by the reactions and “micro-expressions” on their faces.
The show has opened my eyes to all the different expression – all the faces we make – to express our emotions and thoughts: happiness, sadness, resentment, fear, etc. Your face says a lot about what’s in your head and heart.
Last week I wrote about what’s called the “Aaronic Blessing,” the blessing God commanded Aaron to speak to the Israelites whenever they gathered together: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look on you with his favor and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
One phrase of that blessing has always stood out for me: “The Lord make his face shine on you.” What does it mean that God’s face shines on you? It simply means that he looks on you favorably. When God looks at you, he smiles.
But that’s not the facial expression we deserve from God. So often we look at our own sins as if they were no big deal. “Sure, I drink a little too much sometimes, I maybe cuss a little at work, I maybe tell a little white lie every so often or join in some harmless gossip, but at least I haven’t killed anybody.”
God hates every sin. Every sin infuriates him. Just look at the anger on God’s face as he punished Jesus on the cross for those sins you say are no big deal. They cost Jesus his life. Because of them, he suffered complete separation from God – pure punishment – to the point that he cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God the Father scowled at Jesus. He rejected him because of all those sins you consider no big deal.
We don’t deserve God’s smile. We deserve his scowl. We deserve to see his face burn with anger. But, as Aaron’s blessing says, he has been gracious to us. Because of Jesus, God forgives us. When God looks at you, there is no scowl, only an enormous, accepting smile.
And that truth changes the look on our faces. We don’t have to come into God’s presence with fear in our eyes as if he were a judge who was going to punish us. He forgives us because of Jesus.
We don’t have to go through life with bitterness or worry on our faces. God’s face is always turned toward us. He is always watching over us with love and concern in his eyes.
So smile. Smile as you see the blessings God showers on you day after day. Smile, remembering his amazing grace which forgives all the dumb and hurtful things you do. Smile every time you hear Aaron’s blessing at the end of worship.
Smile with the confidence that God is smiling down on you.