Jesus wept. John 11:35 (NASB)
This is the shortest verse in the entire Bible, yet it is a very powerful one. This verse is a good reminder to me that tears are not a sign of weakness or failure. Tears result from sorrow and pain and sometimes out of sheer frustration for lack of anything else to do with the emotions.
Our Lord left a good example in every area of life. When he met Mary and Martha in Bethany they were grieving hard and confused as to why Jesus didn’t come in time to save their brother Lazarus. When he beheld their grief he cried along with them.
This was a very good reminder for me this week. This has been a tough week in the ministry and I found myself very burdened and weighed down the other night. It has been unusual in that there has been a lot of sorrow in the lives of my counselee’s and I hurt for them. Romans 12:15 tells us to weep with those who weep and the Bible further comforts us with the knowledge that our sorrows matter to God; He keeps all our tears in a bottle (Ps. 56:8).
So often when a woman sits down and begins to tell me her story the tears begin to flow and invariably she apologizes for them as she reaches for the tissue and tries to stem the flow. I want my counselee’s to know that my office is a safe place to shed some tears.
Tears do not make a person weak; they make them compassionate and loving. It is alright that I cry with and for my counselee’s when their lives are blown apart, their children are very ill, and life has been turned upside down. Our tears are indicators that we have feelings, and our feelings are a part of the emotional package God gives to each of us.
It is not good or healthy to pretend we do not need to cry from time to time. Crying can actually make a person feel better physically from release of various chemicals into the body. It can be harmful to suppress tears and the emotions that provoke them over the long term. Many who stuff their emotions are afflicted with various health problems and seek out other harmful and risky behaviors to deal with those emotions.
There is a careful balance that must be observed in expression of our emotions; too much emoting is as unhealthy as none at all. We must be cautious not to live in our emotions or allow them to control us and take over our lives. When we are sad, it is sometimes very easy to focus exclusively on our sorrow and misery and give ourselves permission to let our emotions dictate what we do and don’t do.
Filter your emotions through the Word of God, and be sure you are talking with someone who will walk with you as you process your pain. Let your tears flow…and remember that joy comes with the morning (Ps. 30:5).