Tears

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One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?
I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven– for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then he (Peter) began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Only four incidences out of many in the Bible where someone cries. The unnamed woman is very unhappy in her life. She knows that things are not right. Her life is filled with sin. She fills trapped and wants to be free. She cries for herself and her desire for forgiveness.

Peter, knew better because he had been warned. Peter betrayed Jesus, not once, but three times! Sin is always a betrayal, and we know that pain every time we sin. When the rooster crows, Peter cries, he has failed. Failure hurts.

On the Mount of Olives Jesus looks out over the city and cries. They are not listening to His message. He loves them so much but no one seems to care.
He is being rejected!

Now he goes into a small village to find that Lazarus, a dear friend, is dead. He does a very human thing, He cries.

We stand in amazement of God’s creation. This human body so designed to even heal itself. Part of the healing process is the ability to cry. It is no doubt an emotional release but it is also a physical release.

There was a young man who served his country during the Vietnam War. He was the lead man on a jungle patrol: the one responsible for looking for land mines, booby traps, and ambushes. With every step he risked death, and if he made a mistake, his entire unit would be in danger. When the war was finally over, he couldn’t believe that he was still alive while all his friends were dead. He often felt he would have been better off if he HAD died. He was haunted constantly by nightmares of his friends dying. Slowly his spirit was robbed of life. He saw many doctors and had many tests, but no one could come up with a cure for his myriad of ills. One day he went and visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. Tears flowed freely as he touched the names of his friends etched in the hard black stone. He looked for and found every name he remembered except one. Back and forth he walked, touching the wall, looking for the one last name. He looked in the book that listed all the names and told where to find them on the wall. He asked the attendant, but the attendant couldn’t find the name either. “Are you sure that’s the right name?” the attendant asked him. “Yes,” the man replied, “It’s my name.” The attendant looked at him and said softly, “Your name isn’t here. You must be alive. Go home and get on with your life.” And that was the word the man needed. He was alive! And he instantly became a better man, a better husband, a better father.

Everybody knows the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept”, but few understand human tears. Men try to refrain, children are encouraged not to, and it’s somewhat expected of women. In 1964, a 16-year-old boy named William Frey saved the life of a 2-year-old girl. He was traumatized by the event but didn’t cry. That experience began Frey’s journey toward becoming an expert on crying and stress. He is one of the world’s leading proponents of the theory that men die younger than women in part because they don’t deal well with emotions. Women average 5.3 crying episodes per month, men just 1.4. Men’s eyes tear up, women’s tears run down their face. Tears for emotional reasons are chemically different from tears caused by eye irritation. 85% of women and 73% of men report feeling better after they have cried about a stressful situation. Boys and girls under the age of 12 cry the same amount. The difference begins developing in puberty. Human tears contain a unique mix of chemicals. They have 30 times more manganese than human blood; Endorphin hormones which provide a natural lift to the body; Prolactin which is a hormone that helps nursing mothers produce milk. “The only physiological mechanism we have to alleviate stress that is different from every other animal is the ability to cry emotional tears.”

On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 suddenly exploded just minutes after take-off.
Although much of the jet’s wreckage has been recovered, the cause of the explosion is still unknown. Initially, there was strong belief that a terroristic act downed the large 747. The senior chaplain for the New York police department told the heartbroken families, “This is not an act of God. This is what happens when people have no God.”

Whatever causes the grief, the difficulty, the pain, God has provided the means to deal with it.

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