Jesus didn’t just cry a tear or two—he wept.
He wept is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet so powerful!
Jesus wept. John 11:35 (ESV)
Was Almighty God displaying weakness? No. Rather, he felt deep compassion for his friends, whose brother Lazarus had died.
Why Cry? Part 1
Is crying a sign of weakness? Did God give us tears to display our frailty?
No, tears are given to express emotion. Tears provide a healthy outlet for how we feel inside. (However, sometimes tears are used wrongly to manipulate people or to get oneʼs own way—this is controlling and ungodly behavior.)
The Bible says God keeps our tears in a bottle as if they are precious to Him.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8 (ESV)
Jesus appreciated honest emotion. He could have told Mary to stop the foolishness of washing his feet with her tears. Instead he commended her.
The daughters of Jerusalem wept as Jesus was being led to the Cross. Jesus told them not to cry for Him, but for themselves and others.
Why Cry? Part 2
Did you know we’re actually commanded to cry?
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (ESV)
Also, you are blessed when you weep because soon you will laugh (Luke 6:21). Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Some appropriate occasions to cry:
- Grief and mourning (Genesis 23:2, 2 Samuel 1:12)
- Sadness, a natural outpouring of sorrow (1 Samuel 30:4)
- Regret, sorrow for sin (Matthew 26:75, James 4:9)
- Asking God to answer a prayer (Isaiah 38:5, 1 Samuel 1:7, 8)
- Pouring out your heart to God (Psalm 42:3, Psalm 6:6)
- Tears of joy (Genesis 50:1)
Do Real Men Really Cry?
Many think it is fine for a woman to cry, but not men. Really?
Jesus cried in compassion for His friends and in grief over the city of Jerusalem.
Paul was a bold man, a former leader among persecutors of Christians, someone who withstood beatings, imprisonments, and shipwrecks. However, in several passages he shed tears as he wrote to the churches and served the Lord.
Joseph, a man of great leadership in Egypt, wept when he faced his brothers.
Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet.
Mordecai cried with a bitter cry for his nation.
Crying: Is It Good for You?
Scientific evidence indicates that when we cry emotional tears, the body releases stress-relieving endorphins. These chemicals help us feel better and stabilize our moods. Tears also release built-up toxins from emotional stress. Suppressed pain can contribute to stress-related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.
Sometimes those who have experienced abuse or trauma donʼt feel it is safe to cry. They stuff their thoughts and feelings, becoming like a pressure cooker ready to explode, exhibiting depression, anger, or anxiety.
Crying is a way to release the building tension, a way to cleanse the emotion that is otherwise stuck inside without expression.
Tears can be a sign of a breakthrough, a conviction of sin, or an expression of hurt, anger, or sorrow. Tears open up an opportunity to discuss what is going on in the personʼs heart.
No Crying in Heaven
Your tears are only for a time and season while we are here on earth. God will wipe away all our tears for eternity. They are not needed in Heaven.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,and he will guide them to springs of living water,and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 (ESV)
Until then, there is an appropriate time to cry.