“And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” (Genesis 4:6)
There are several ways we express ourselves. We express ourselves with facial changes, with the words we say, or the words we write, and, of course, with body language. During the days in which we live, other methods are incorporated and folks call them “self-expression.” I am referring to dress (saggy pants, halter tops, short-shorts, etc.) and also tattoos and body piercings. Though the latter may be nothing more than a passing “fad,” it is still a means of expression. Expressions are nothing more than a method of getting a message out to others.
Not all expressions are negative or harmful. We often use expressions in describing a person, a place or something else. A very common expression we hear quite often is, “I’m tired as a dog.” Certainly they are not describing themselves as a dog, but simply emphasizing the fatigue factor they feel. I personally use the expression “Sweetpea” when I address young ladies, because it describes the innocence and sweetness of the one to whom I am speaking.
But then there are expressions that can be harmful (and are meant to be) when the look is a scowl or the words are with hostility or intended to hurt or embarrass another person. It is not always the intent of the person looking or saying something to injure the other person. Perhaps, to them it is a light thing intended to amuse. But, too often, these things do not have the ending we were expecting and we have to pay the consequences. “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Proverbs 18:19). Nobody likes to be the object of a joke for someone else’s amusement. You need to know the personality of the person that you intend to have fun with. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). So, because we really do not know some people as well as we think, we need to resort to the biblical admonition to consider the repercussions of what our expressions may bring. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
There are ways that men express themselves before God, their Creator, as well, which we saw in our opening text with Cain. Although God knew Cain’s heart, He was surely disappointed that he would come before Him with a scowl and the look of anger. His expressions told the tale of his heart and God reminded him of it quickly. Believers should express themselves with a pleasant countenance—a heart of thanksgiving. The expressions we reveal should always be in accordance with God’s Word and His plan and purpose for our lives. Again, we do express ourselves in a number of ways, i.e., “language, dress, attitude, etc., etc.” In conclusion, do people see a difference in the way you, as a Christian, express yourself? Remember, your expressions do send a message.Pastor H. Preston Parker