18. Weep - James 4:8-10
James 4:8-10 - Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Like a lot of men, I put up a wall to defend my emotions. I try not to talk about my feelings. You can't change the past and the future is still ahead. So I try to live in a peaceful spot somewhere between my hypothalamus, hippocampus and the amygdala. Besides, "Big boys don't cry."
But every now and again there is a crack in my wall and the lymphatic goo oozes out and I feel my cheeks burn as the warm, salty drops of liquid flow down. (Usually this happens when I am watching the Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer... It's sad... no reindeer games...just a misfit. And Santa was rather cruel.)
It’s OK to lament, weep, cry, sob, snivel, wail, moan, groan, grieve, or even mewl. It is not unmanly to show emotions. In fact, it is healthy and appropriate for us to show emotion in given situations. You would expect a man to cry at the funeral of his mother. You would expect him to cheer and laugh when his favorite team intercepts the ball and runs 60 yards for a touchdown. And you would expect a man to turn to putty when he first holds his newborn child after the birth.
It's appropriate to show emotion when you read the word of God too. When the Bible is praising the Lord we are filled with joy and awe. But the Word of God is also filled with injustice, gloom, sorrow, defeat, war, murder, and other stuff that can be hard to read. It’s okay to cry and lament over the condition of the world, the sins of people, the wrath of God, and those who are outside of Christ. It’s even okay to cry over our own circumstances and sinfulness.
Lamenting serves a purpose in the scripture. It shows our helplessness and drives us to cry in repentance to God for forgiveness and help. It helps us to see the need for God. It clears our vision to the mission and purpose that resulted in the death of Jesus Christ. It helps us to embrace the hope that comes from his resurrection and being with him someday in heaven. Yes, weeping over the Scriptures is not only important... it is essential.
If you want a good example of this read 2 Samuel 12 and Psalm 51. David was judged and found guilty of sin. He wept and would not eat as he prayed and called out to God. He wrote of his experience, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me."
May God bless you my friends as you experience the joy and the sorrow that is contained in God's word.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Oh Holy God; You are most excellent and your word is perfect and pure. Break down my walls that I have built with my pride. Humble me with your word and help me see the errors of my ways. Forgive me of my iniquity. I cry that you will restore me and put me on the path of righteousness. Thank you for Jesus, the sacrifice for my sin. It is because of his death and resurrection the I can come to you. In Jesus' name, AMEN!