A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.Proverbs 15:13 (NLT)
We’ve all seen them. They lurk everywhere. Whether it’s a mall, the neighborhood street, or even in churches, you can find them. The look they give says volumes. Without words they convey a sense of condemnation and fear. I call them, “Prune Faces.”
What is a Prune Face? It is someone who has a semi-permanent scowl on their face. It is someone that you’ve never really seen smile, or could even imagine smiling.
So, what causes one to be a Prune Face? Well, this verse sums it up. If a glad heart makes a happy face, then a broken heart produces the opposite. In other words, the look on their face can speak volumes about the condition of their heart. The word ‘broken’ here can also mean ill, not functioning correctly, abnormal. This is not a medical term, but a state of being. When we are full of anger, hatred, and disgust, it shows. When we have internal struggles about things in life, it shows. When we are self-righteous, it shows.
The unfortunate reality is that generally Prune Faces aren’t OK with just having misery inside of them. They often cause misery in others. The look, and often the words, say it all. But, we should realize something about Prune Faces. This truth comes from comes from an old adage: “Hurt people, hurt people.” The pain they carry inside causes them to project, or inflict, pain in others.
When we realize that the people in our communities and churches are hurting inside, it should fundamentally change the way we approach them. It’s easy enough to try and avoid contact with people that are routinely grumpy, but Jesus didn’t run from the hurting, and neither should we. So, what do we do? We love. When you encounter a Prune Face, pray for them. No, not their face, but that God will heal whatever they have inside that is causing them pain. Pray that God will let you see them the way He sees them. Pray that God will use you to minister to them. And, here’s the hard one, get to know them. Jesus has shown us, and I have witnessed firsthand, that the cure for Prune Faces is love. So, when confronted with a scowl, respond with love.