In my Amarillo High School Bible class the last two days we wrapped up our study of Joseph in Genesis 45-50. I had forgotten that the writer tells of seven times Joseph cried or wept from the time his brothers went to Egypt for their second visit until their father’s death years later.
I then thought of some well-known expressions that discourage crying. Boys are sometimes told “don’t be a sissy” when they cry or tear up. There is also the number one hit by the Four Seasons in the 1960s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” And then there is the oft repeated observation from Tom Hanks in the film A League of their Own “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Is it ok to cry? My answer is yes.
Let me underscore five “Personal Reflections” to consider from Gene Getz in his 1983 book Joseph: From Prison to Palace with added observations from me.
- God created human beings with the capacity to weep. (Which in and of itself doesn’t automatically make it ok.)
- Weeping is not necessarily a sign of weakness. (For men, boys, women, or girls.)
- There is a time and place to weep and it’s to be done with proper motives. (Which suggests weeping can be done with an improper motive–like manipulation.)
- Weeping often clears the way for objective communication. (Honesty often is the result of crying.)
- Weeping can be a true test of our motives. (See #3.)
I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a person who cries from time to time in a variety of situations. Crying for me is often a release of emotion: stress, relief, gratitude, sorrow, guilt, or joy. Sometimes a song induces a few tears. And sometimes anger and its aftermath brings some tears.
It’s not just babies who cry; and I would hope we never call someone who weeps a crybaby. Some cry more easily and more often than others, but my sense is all of us should be open to crying from time to time and do not need to apologize for it.
I conclude with the two questions Getz asked in his “Personal Challenge” to stimulate our thinking:
- When was the last time you wept?
- Why have you wept?
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I’m a man and i admit it, I cry. The death of an animal or friend, seeing someone hurt, the abuse of the elderly and yes commercials or movies.
Very thoughtful. And encouraging. My mom passed nearly 60 years ago, but there are times when a wave of grief rises and the tears flow. I find a quiet corner, let the tears fall as I remember and then get back to work. Tears are good cleansing for the heart and the soul. Appreciate your good words.
Thanks for sharing this Pastor Bob. Blessings.
I remember the first and maybe the only time you taught the Women’s study back in the day when we first got in the building at Moreno Valley Christian Church. The title of the book you lead us through was called the Feminine Journey. We discussed this very subject and you were curious how it made us feel as women and when we were little girls to see our husband’s and our Dad’s cry if we had seen them at all. I was in my early twenties and at that time I had already seen my dad cry once at the loss of my sister and when he did it scared me and made me think all was not well in the world if Daddy is crying. At that time I had only seen Hugh cry or tear up at the births of our babies. That of course was sweet. Now at 55 I’ve seen both the men in my life cry and it doesn’t scare me now. To cry is human. It’s such a sweet release when the crying’s is Done.
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Thank you Bob Mink! I’m one that cries at times. I wholeheartedly support and agree with what you wrote.
I believe God gave us that as a way to cleanse and release nus of all those reasons you mentioned! Awesome 👏🏼 reading!!❤️ Miss you both!
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I loved your observations about crying. There was a time in my life when just going into the Hallmark store and reading cards would make me cry. However, as I’ve gotten older I find I cry less. Sometimes I wish I could still cry as easily as in the past because it can be such a release.
The last time I cried was this past Monday; the first anniversary of Nehemiah’s birth since his death in March. I cried because his death leaves such a hole in our lives but also as I savored some sweet memories of him.
I thank the Lord for giving us the capacity to express emotion through our tears.