Apparently, real men do cry. When the manly Apostle Paul was headed for Jerusalem, he stopped in Ephesus on his way. Paul preached for hours to the church he had established there, and everyone understood this just might the last time they all saw each other. Paul remembered that he had served the Lord among them and admonished each person “with tears” (vv. 19, 31). Paul departed from Ephesus for the last time and “there was much weeping on the part of all” (v. 37).
Paul did not shrink from declaring all the will of God to the church. Neither did he hold back the tears and was not afraid to allow his emotions to be an integral part of his ministry. One of the unfortunate philosophical hangovers from the Enlightenment project of sheer intellectual rationalism is that over the past several centuries we in the West have tended to view ourselves as brains on a stick. The thinking goes that if we clearly and objectively educate people, providing them the correct information, they will have everything they need and do the right thing. Try telling that to Paul.
Christianity that does not include the vital element of the emotions is a truncated spirituality that desperately needs some tears in order to connect with Jesus Christ. So, let’s all have a good cry today. Weep over the lost persons who are in need of salvation; shed some tears about believers who are not growing in their faith; bawl and let our eyes be red in missing those friends and mentors who have moved on and/or passed away; and, cry over a broken world that has not experienced the grace of God. Indeed, slow down enough to feel the pain and find the mercy of God.
Gracious God, you have created us all in your image. Help me so to connect with your emotional self that I will not be stifled in my faith, but will go on to maturity in Christ with your whole church. Amen.