take somebody/something at face value
take (someone or something) at face value
To accept that something or someone is as it seems based only on an initial or outward appearance, without further verifying or investigating. Why some people take what that pundit says at face value is beyond me. He clearly has an ulterior motive. You're right to be wary, but, in this case, I think we can take John at face value. He's just trying to help.
take someone or something at face value
to accept someone or something just as it appears; to believe that the way things appear is the way they really are. He means what he says. You have to take him at face value. I take everything he says at face value.
take something at face value
to accept something exactly the way it appears to be. I don't know whether I can take her story at face value, but I will assume that she is not lying. The committee took the report at face value and approved the suggested changes.