Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It is OK to Cry!

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

RevRayWhen I was a child and fell down – my parents never gave me macho comments like – don’t cry – boys don’t cryget up and act like a man.  Too many boys who later became men are suffering from the macho image of boys and men not feeling emotion – not crying.  Too many wives come into pastor’s offices and therapist’s offices complaining of husbands who cannot express themselves emotionally.  I want to blame parents who try to get their little boys to stifle their emotions – their tears.

Now – too much emotion is not great either.  My emotions for instance can tend to get the best of me at times.  For instance – my first funeral I asked my father to the service so that he could take over if my emotions got the best of me.  I have been known to cry during funerals.  Some say I empathize with those who have lost loved ones – and to a degree that might be OK.  But at times I feel like my emotions are over the top.

An example of my emotions getting the best of me – I tear up watching Boy Meets World reruns from time to time.  I tear up watching Jimmy Stewart movies.  I had tears in my eyes watching the devastation in Oklahoma recently.

The area I feel least capable – funerals – my emotions have allowed me to have empathy for the families and people respond to it.  The hardest funeral I ever had to celebrate was my brother’s father-in-law’s funeral.  He died suddenly the week of my brother’s wedding.  I did more than tear up! But God got me through it.  Another difficult funeral (and all of them are tough for me) was the funeral for a toddler who drowned off the family pier.

I share my emotions with you because it is OK to have emotions.  For a long time I wished I was more like those who could face almost anything and not show emotions – until I reread this passage – Jesus wept.

This is the story of Lazarus dying and Jesus going to his tomb.  Here it is in partial context.

John 11:1-35 – 1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. 7 Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. 10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” 28 And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept.

Much speculation has been made about why Jesus wept – why he got emotional.  Was it the pain Mary and Martha – not to mention Lazarus – faced for this moment?  Was it merely a moment of empathy for the pain of others?  Was it the realization that in order to show God’s power Lazarus would have to face death again?  The answer may not be important.  The point that hit home with me – Jesus – even knowing that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead – that He had the power to alter life and death – He was the resurrection and life – showed His emotions.  It wasn’t a sign of weakness.  It wasn’t a sign of weak faith?  It was merely human emotion pouring out at that moment in time.

Of course Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the grave – yet He still showed His emotions.  Here is the rest of the story if you’ve never read it before.  John 11:38-44 – 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

It is OK to cry.  Real mean sing real loud (a Promise Keeper’s slogan) and real men show emotion.

I also found out that it is healthy to show our emotions – in an acceptable way.  Releasing built up pain – physical – emotional or spiritual – can help to cleanse us and help keep us from developing ulcers.

I’m not suggesting that all men should tear up when watching Boy Meets World – but – showing emotions can be helpful in our relationships and for our health.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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June 3, 2013 - Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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