I remember visiting Myrtle Beach as a child and walking though the old pavilion where full-length mirrors were configured to distort the image of the ones who took time to pose. The exaggerated images reflected in the carnival mirrors were hilariously funny–extremely tall and skinny, squat and plump, a gargantuan head supported by a pea-size body—all distortions of reality.
Today’s proverb gives us a lesson on matters of the heart and challenges us to take note—a man’s countenance is often a reflection of his heart. Solomon writes:
Proverbs 15:13 – “A merry [glad; joyful] heart maketh a cheerful [pleasing, good] countenance: but by sorrow [hurt, emotional wounds] of the heart [mind, thoughts, emotions] the spirit [breath, courage] is broken [afflicted; wounded].”
I have found family photos, especially when displayed in a succession of years, to be a fascinating study in the dynamics of a family’s life. Old black and white photos bear the image of childhood faces reflecting the purity, trust and innocent abandon of youth. However, that same child in later photographs may reveal a countenance that is altogether different—bright, cheerful eyes replaced by hollow, lifeless eyes. A happy, youthful grin had fallen prey to a sneer and smirking glare. One wonders, what dynamics in that child’s life and family had altered their countenance in so dramatic a form?
Capture the countenance of a man or woman in a sincere, unguarded moment and you will have a proof test of the emotional and spiritual inclination of their heart. A joyful heart will reflect itself in a happy countenance!
The countenance that can be a mirror capable of reflecting a merry heart, can also be a canvas that bears the image of a broken heart, burdened with sin and depression. Sorrows, disappointments and unresolved conflicts weigh heavy on a man’s heart and can break his spirit. An unforgiving spirit can proverbially, “suck the wind out of your sails”.
Ephesians 4:26-32 – “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil…31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith