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.