“Christians Cry Too!”
Elder David Green
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"Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep." (Luke 6:21-25).
See also Matthew 5:4, which says "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4).
In my lifetime, I have met a few folks who will say “real men don't cry.” Even among professing Christians, there are those who claim that tears are a sign of little or no faith. Yet what does the Bible say?
Our Lord, while preaching this sermon said "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh..."” Now, if weeping is a sign of little or no faith, then is He saying, "Blessed are ye that [have no faith] now: for ye shall laugh..."? And, if that be true, we have here in this passage our Lord promising blessings to those that sin! This would mean that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, totally contradicted the teachings of the Bible This is an impossibility, so then this idea that the Bible forbids weeping must be wrong. Let us notice what the Bible really says about crying.
TIMES OF WEEPING
"A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
There is a time to weep! And the Bible is full of examples of crying:
"And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her." (Genesis 23:1-2).
Abraham wept and mourned over the death of Sarah his wife. Sure, Abraham had his faults but this was not one of them! Abraham knew of the heavenly country...Hebrews 11 tells us that. He wept over her because he loved her and missed her. Nothing is wrong with that.
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11:8-19).
More is said about Abraham and Sarah in Hebrews 11 than any of the others who are written in there. What a wonderful thing it is to read just to see a name in that chapter, but to read so much about Abraham and Sarah.
"And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep." (1 Samuel 30:1-4).
Here we read of a time when David and his men found the city burned and their wives, sons, and daughters were captured. The Bible says they wept until they had no more power to weep. Have you ever cried that much? I know I have. Did they not believe the Lord was powerful and in control? Of course they believed it! Read David's life. He knew of God's power and sovereignty.
"Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword...And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:...Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel." (2 Samuel 1:11-12, 17, 24).
Here David mourned and wept over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. Verse 17 uses the word lamented. That word means "an expression of sorrow; cry of grief; act of bewailing." In verse 24, he commanded the women to weep over Saul.
Again, David had his faults, but I find no evidence that this was one of them. In fact, notice what God says about David in this passage: "And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will." (Acts 13:22).
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning." (Psalm 137:1-5).
Here was a people seen their temple burned, their city ruined, their wives ravished, and their children slain. They were in a strange land, and they wept. They did not weep because of the cruelities of the Babylonians....they wept because of what they had lost.
"I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust. My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death; Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure. O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God." (Job 16:15-20).
Every one of us has heard of Job. Often, when trouble comes in our lives, we quote Job 1:20-22. But, let us also remember that Job cried. Let us remember that he wished he had never been born (Job 10:18-19)! Someone says "“no wonder he was not in Hebrews 11!"
But notice these passages:
"Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 14:14).
Here Job is numbered with Daniel and Noah. This is also repeated in verses 16 and 20.
"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." (James 5:11).
Here we see him as an example of patience. No doubt about it, friends, Job was a man of faith. Let us not be judgmental to those who weep! Job's friends were very judgmental. They were of no comfort, but God was. So, when Job cried, he poured out tears unto God! And our Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy, even when our earthly friends are not.
V. OUR LORD
"Jesus wept." (John 11:35).
This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but oh what a message it is! In order to get the reason behind it, we must go up to verse 33. He wept when he saw that Mary wept. Our Lord has compassion on us!
"Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" (Psalm 56:8).
not only takes notice of our tears, but He records them. They are kept in a
bottle and recorded in a book. Matthew Henry observed, "(1.) That
he observes them with compassion and tender concern; he is afflicted in their
afflictions, and knows their souls in adversity. As the blood of his saints,
and their deaths, are precious in the sight of the Lord, so are their tears,
not one of them shall fall to the ground.
(2.) That he will remember them and review them, as we do the accounts we have
booked. The tears of God's persecuted people are bottled
up and sealed among God's treasures; and, when these books come to be opened,
they will be found vials of wrath, which will be poured out upon their persecutors,
whom God will surely reckon with for all the tears they have forced from his
people's eyes; and they will be breasts of consolation to God's mourners, whose
sackcloth will be turned into garments of praise. God will comfort his people
according to the time wherein he has afflicted them, and give to those to reap
in joy who sowed in tears. What was sown a tear will come up a pearl."
VI. DEVOUT MEN AT STEPHEN'S BURIAL
"And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him." (Acts 8:2).
Devout men made great lamentation at Stephen's funeral. The word devout means "“yielding a solemn and reverential attention to God.”" These were Godly men who made great lamentation! Folks, there were some tears shed over the death of this martyr!
Someone said we ought not to cry at a funeral. For their proof they use I Thessalonians 4:13, which says, " But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." But that passage does not say it is wrong to sorrow. All someone has to do is just read it to understand the meaning! It says that we are not to sorrow as though we have no hope. I agree with John Gill when he wrote, "...the apostle's view is not to encourage and establish a stoical apathy, a stupid indolence, and a brutal insensibility, which are contrary to the make of human nature, to the practice of the saints, and even of Christ and his apostles, and our apostle himself; but to forbid excessive and immoderate sorrow, and all the extravagant forms of it the Gentiles ran into; who having no notion of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, had no hope of ever seeing their friends more, but looked upon them as entirely lost, as no longer in being, and never more to be met with, seen, and enjoyed; this drove them to extravagant actions..." To use this passage to say that mourning and weeping are forbidden is quite contrary to the teaching of God's Word! As Matthew Poole wrote in his commentary, "...he doth not condemn their sorrow, but the excess of it. Grace destroys not nature, but regulates it; nor reason, but rectifies it; nor takes away the affections, but moderates them....And to mourn for the dead, especially the dead in the Lord is a duty that both nature and grace teach, and God requireth..."
Let us never forget the second part to this verse. It is easy to rejoice with them that rejoice, but we also need to be compassionate to those who weep. Never let anyone tell you that the Bible forbids the Christian from weeping. In this article, we have read of such mighty men as Abraham, David, and Job all crying. We even read that our Lord wept while on this earth. These were all Godly men who believed without a doubt in the sovereignty of God, yet we have read of these men crying because of loss, tragedy, death, and sorrow. The Bible certainly does not forbid it. And God help us if our religion should become one that forbids any signs of outward sorrow! But praise the Lord we do have a time to look foward to when "... God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4).
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