Biblical Reasons to Cry: Personal Sin

Fallen people sin. We are all fallen people. We all sin. The one who says they don’t sin is lying and the truth is not in him.

When a person with the truth in him pays attention, he sees his own sin. This can’t help but bum you out.

Now, I know, I know, “But Jeff, there’s now no condemnation! Sin shouldn’t bug you!”

That’s stupid. Of course it should bug me, I just violated God’s will. The fact that I won’t be condemned to hell for it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t bother me.

“But Jeff, but Jeff! It’s all grace! Only those under Law need feel guilt over sin.”

I beg to differ. I don’t even beg really, I just differ. If your sin does not bother you, I find it hard to believe you have the Holy Spirit, or that you are a new creation in Christ.

The flesh lusts against the Spirit. We mortify, kill off, the deeds of the flesh. I fail to see how this battle, this wrestling, does not come with feelings of remorse, guilt, and regret.

We should look to the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ in all this. There is an answer to the guilt, remorse, and regret, but I do believe you are in a very bad place if your sin never gets you down.

Here are a number of New Testament examples of people being bummed out by their sin.

*Luke 7 has a woman who is a known sinner crying tears on the feet of Jesus and wiping them with her hair. The Pharisee standing by had no remorse over his sin and cried none at all, thus making him the recipient of a lecture from Jesus.

*After Jesus betrayal and Peter’s thrice denial, Peter is reminded of Jesus’ words about him and immediately busts out crying knowing he had just denied Christ.

*There are a number of times when Jesus talks about a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth by people who failed in life. If you aren’t weeping over your sin on earth, you’ll be weeping over them for eternity.

*Hebrews 12:16,17 relates people doing sin and then feeling like the weeping Esau after selling his birthright. He can’t get it back no matter what he does. Sin can back you into irreversible corners you will regret.

Sin is a bummer. We’re not supposed to do it. When we do, we’re supposed to feel bad. Any doctrine that says otherwise is of the devil, the only one who is happy about your sin.

Again, there is a looking to Christ for forgiveness and future victory, but I fail to see how this eliminates the necessity to weep over our sin, especially when it has real world, painful consequences.

If it’s been a while since your sins have caused you tears, you’re in a very bad place.

Biblical Reasons to Cry: Life Stinks

There are some who maintain that everything that happens on earth is God’s will. Not like His will will but His will. Some have gone so far as to say that things like the Holocaust and child rape are done by God’s divine decree.

I find this to be the height of blasphemy.

Yet the teaching somehow prevails despite my opinion.

Jesus Christ told His followers to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” which clearly shows that God’s will is not being done here.

Adam and Eve brought in sin, and with sin came death. Death entered and creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God.

This earth is filled with pain and misery. This is not God’s will for humanity; this is the result of humanity’s sin. God does not enjoy watching people suffer. Suffering is the result of our choices. Choices God warns us not to make.

We live in a world where even if you make all the right choices, sin and corruption have taken root so much you will still suffer. Ask Jesus Christ.

In fact, the New Testament says if you do Christianity right, you will suffer persecution. Sinners hate light. If you reflect light you will be hated. You’ll also have to fix your septic tank and unclog drains and pay out the nose for health insurance, etc.

Life stinks, especially while fixing your septic tank. It’s why we are to have a desire to depart.

The New Testament shows people weeping over the sad stuff of life. These are things the Bible thinks are fine to cry about.

*Acts 20:19 tells us that Paul cried many tears while being persecuted and beat up on.

*A few verses later the elders of Ephesus cry upon Paul’s departure knowing they will probably never see him again, as he was going to Jerusalem to be arrested.

*In 2 Timothy 1 Paul remembers Timothy’s tears over him, probably also knowing he wouldn’t see Paul, his mentor and father figure, ever again.

*Hebrews 5:7, not an easy verse to interpret, says that priests cry while making intercession.

Life is filled with bad stuff. It hurts. We groan. We cry. This is not our home. It’s OK to feel hurt and cry. Yes, we need to look to the future and the author and finisher of our faith, but a little bit of crying never hurt anyone.

Biblical Reasons to Cry: Death

Crying can be a good thing and it can also be self-pity, wha-wha poor me, I’m not getting my way, wounded pride.

Since it can be a bad thing, perhaps if we look to the Bible (imagine that) to get a sense of what people in there cried about, we can see what it is we should cry about. I limited my look to the New Testament, just because.

The first thing the Bible makes clear is that we should cry about death.

–The shortest verse in the New Testament simply says, “Jesus wept” and it was at a funeral.

–A young girl dies and, as Jesus approaches, many people are crying because it’s sad to see kids die. But Jesus tells them to stop as He raises her back to life.

–Mary cried at the tomb when she found it empty not knowing what happened with the body of Jesus.

–Women gather when Dorcas dies, sharing all the stuff she sewed for them, and they weep after losing such a great saint.

These are some of the examples of crying about death.

Many believers use “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” to convince themselves that crying over the dead is wrong. It isn’t.

The context shows that Paul is not saying to stifle tears at funerals, he’s talking about resurrection. The context shows that the sorrow relates to what will happen to the dead, will they be with God or not? Don’t worry about the dead, God has them under His care too. Being dead cannot separate them from the love of God.

The verse doesn’t mean we aren’t sad when others die. It means we aren’t sad that the dead are out there somewhere floating around aimlessly with no future.

Some Christians have been quite rude with this, telling mourning people to “get over it.” “Move on.” Etc. Not good.

The Old Testament seems to show that a good month should be taken to mourn, and many Jews believe there should be a year of mourning for the death of one close to you, like a parent.

There is plenty of crying in the Bible over loved ones dying. It’s a good thing. Don’t buy the argument that believers should be all smiles at funerals. Weep. Weep with those who weep. It’s good for you.

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Blessed Are You Who Weep Now

Just as laughter is the physical manifestation of happiness, tears manifest sadness.

Many of the tears we have shed in life are pure selfishness.

When you were born you cried all the time. You cried when you were hungry, when you were tired, when you were “over tired,” and whenever you wanted something different.

As you grew up you began to hurt yourself. You cried when you were in pain and continued to cry over your selfish desires not being met.

Eventually you reached (hopefully) an age where sympathy comes in. Perhaps, maybe a couple times you cried because someone else was, or because someone else was sad, or maybe a movie made you cry.

Crying is sometimes nothing more than self-pity because we didn’t get our way.

Tears are mentioned in the Bible quite a bit. The Bible is a book about reality and reality is sad. This world is not what it was supposed to be. Sin brings in nasty effects and those effects are sad.

Jesus Christ, the man of sorrow acquainted with grief, once said, “blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh.”

We’re supposed to be weeping now. Our laughter comes in eternity.

A. W. Tozer said it best,

The soldier does not seek to be happy in the field; he seeks rather to get the fighting over with, to win the war and get back to his loved ones. There he may enjoy himself to the full; but while the war is on, his most pressing job is to be a good soldier, to acquit himself like a man, regardless of how he feels.

The world we live in now is a battlefield. It’s a grueling race to be run. You don’t laugh through that.

But, when it’s over, watch out! That is when our true joy will be experienced in its fullness and laughter will mark our eternity.

Knowing and Feeling

Although we were created as rational beings, we also are emotional beings. Emotions are not always rational.

There is a battle in you between what you know and what you feel.

Although you may know you are eternally secure, you may not feel like it.

Although you may know God loves you, you may not always feel like it.

Although you know you are not alone in the faith, you may feel alone.

What do we do when what we know doesn’t match what we feel?

The first step is to examine yourself. It could be your feelings are warning you. Maybe they are pointing out that you are fooling yourself. The reason you don’t feel secure is because you know the truth about who you are.

The second step would be to find a resolution to the conflict. Find out which one is wrong. Do you know wrong things, or perhaps not really know things and you’ve just been lying to yourself? Or are your feelings distracting you from truth due to some temporal experience? Are you feeling wrong things or knowing wrong things?

Feelings are fleeting whereas truth is eternal. Although current life may not be good, this does not mean God does not love you.

We get in trouble when we assume feelings = knowing. Many religious gatherings are primarily based on feeling. They want to fill you with an emotion whether you know anything or not. As long as you experience the desired feeling, you call it good, til next time you “need a hit.”

I believe the church should focus on teaching so that people might know things. When we know right things, our feelings will follow. Feelings and knowing are not mutually exclusive.

Feelings can often spur you to right knowledge. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” No doubt that fear of God feels like something!

But at the same time, why do you fear God? Probably because you know something about Him. “Our God is a consuming fire.” This we know and this should create an emotional response.

It is easier to demonstrate your feelings than it is to demonstrate your knowledge. Knowledge usually requires work. Feelings require being alive. I think we lose when we make emotions our primary concern.

It doesn’t matter what you feel really, but it does matter what you know.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints

Surely, if you knew these things, you’d feel pretty good! But, no doubt, life will make you feel bad even though you still know these things. Grab on to knowing the truth that lasts, and don’t settle for the pottage of feeling right while being wrong.

Prince of the Prince of Peace?

The artist formerly known as Prince is one of the creepiest music guys I’ve ever come across. I don’t like his music, nor do I think he’s a musical genius. But that’s mostly because I just absolutely don’t care for his “music.”

I don’t care for organic food either, but apparently many others do. If you like the artist formerly known as Prince, great. Keep him to yourself before God.

Anyway, the artist formerly known as Prince enjoys being weird and his latest weirdness is doing a cover of a song by  “Christian artist,” Nichole Nordeman, formerly known as Nichole Nordeman.

Part of the lyrics go like so:

What if you pick apart the logic and begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more than folklore that must be told and retold

But what if you’re wrong? What if there’s more?
What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?

I don’t think the artist formerly known as Prince is going through a “Christian phase” like many aging rockers do, I think he’s just making waves.

Nichole Nordeman is thrilled that the artist formerly known as Prince is covering her song and considers it to be an honor. Also larger checks.

There is a rumor that the artist formerly known as Prince converted to Jehovah’s Witness a number of years ago after being raised in a Seventh Day Adventist home.

The guy seems fairly confused, but I hope he does indeed come to the truth and repent of his sins and his style of music.