Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crying at the Sad Things

"I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil." ~ Gandalf
"A time to weep and a time to laugh" ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4
"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting." ~ Eccl 7:2
"Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart." ~ Eccl 7:3
"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." ~ Eccl 7:4

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." - Paul (Philippians)
How do we reconcile these two words from the Scripture? With all that the Bible tells us to be joyful about where is the place for sorrow? Is Gandalf right?

We actually live in a culture that doesn't know how to weep. When someone dies we try to brush it aside and not think about it. When a tragedy happens we rush to the scene with cameras, but find ourselves doing little more than watching with interest.
Weeping with those who weep is hard, often harder than rejoicing with those who rejoice. Someone who is really happy can bring those around him into that joy, but who wants to be brought down into the sadness of another? Who wants to experience a broken heart that's not even his own?
Weeping is a very important part of the Christian life because it deals with cursed life in this world honestly. If we refuse to weep we refuse to acknowledge that this world is broken and not everything that happens is good.
Weeping is humiliating, perhaps that's why we shy away from it. Who wants to be seen as someone who cries in front of all his friends?
Why did Jesus weep in front of Lazarus' tomb? The gospel writers say it was because He loved him. We weep because we are missing something. Jesus missed Lazarus and even though He was about to raise him in a few moments He was so overcome with the loss of this dear one that He wept.
So as Christians, with out hope of the resurrection, we should not be ashamed or admonish others not to weep for the dead. We should weep freely because separation is real and hurt is deep.
It is often said that the more you love the more you are able to be hurt. So how much you weep actually shows how much you loved, for better or for worse. In that sense it is a glorious thing to see Christians weeping at a tomb because it shows their love for the one passed on.
Our family is not one that has experienced much death in our extended family. The older kids have been to many funerals because our church was an old one with many aged members. All the kids have been to at least one funeral, but for the most part our extended family is still with us.
So our crying at the sad things is mostly in the form of sympathy to others.
However, we don't just weep for the dead, we weep for setbacks for the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom is coming but that doesn't mean it's winning every battle. We weep when wicked men are put in places of authority either in this nation or others. We weep when laws are passed that go directly against God's law. We weep and we groan for the King to finally finish His conquest once and for all and restore this earth to what it was meant to be!
We weep, but we weep in hope. Our grief is real, but we know it cannot last forever.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!"
No matter how long the sadness lasts our God is there weeping beside us and when the joy comes it will out shine the sorrow.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
"Blessed are those who weep, for they shall laugh."

"I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil" but we will say, weep honestly, but in hope.


  1. Beautiful post. I tend to like being somewhat depressed, and I just love good long cries at night (that sounds awful, doesn't it?!) so I often have to push myself to be joyful. But we also have to find a balance - There is a time for mourning, and a time for rejoicing.

  2. It doesn't sound awful. Weeping is a way of relieving sadness and stress. However, if you are really honest I don't think you would really enjoy feeling that way all the time. When it says there will be no tears in heaven I think it means there will be no sadness, not necessarily that we won't have tears of joy and relief.
    True joy cannot be pushed though and I think it is healthiest to let sorrow run it's course. True joy can be "encouraged" by us but the emotion of joy cannot be manufactured.

  3. Yeah, I've often wondered if there will be tears in heaven -- because I cry when I'm happiest.
    And you're right-- I love the joyful moments when I just feel like jumping around and dancing more than the moments of depression and melancholiness.
    But I'm very thankful to God for all my emotions and what flows from my emotions, including sadness and weeping.

  4. I prefer to weep when I am alone in the woods on an early morning. Walking through the woods, talking with God. I feel a peace. Why is it that when we seek God we most often turn to nature, is it because it is the only unhuman thing left? The city is what man has built, the forest by God? I've been wondering that lately.

  5. I think Jesus wept mainly for the friends and family of Lazarus, who believed he was gone for good. Empathy is a gift that is lost on our culture today. We are so self-absorbed that even most Christians fail to truly see the pain and sorrow of those around them, and to embrace it as if it were their own. We might tear up for a moment and say a quick prayer, but the next minute finds us thinking about what we'll eat for lunch. Of course, those in the grip of grief can't think of anything else. We are commanded to bear one another's burdens, and weeping is the simplest and most beautiful way we can show empathy to others. I really loved this post, Isaiah.