Cry; Don't Slap!
Crying is often seen as a sign of weakness. By the time we become adults, we have been encouraged to toughen up or show ourselves strong. Crying is communication. Crying releases emotions for primary triggers such as anger, embarrassment, frustration, or sometimes happiness and gratitude. Suppression of tears can increase anger and lead to either physical or verbal aggression.
Emotions are often misunderstood by observers. I am guilty of being an unsympathetic observer even after I experienced crying on the job. I reverted to my pattern of thinking that public crying is unacceptable. A biblical account of the wrong interpretation of emotion is Eli's observation of Hannah. One of the two Elkanah wives, Hannah, longed for a child with her husband. Eli, the priest, scolded Hannah, who bitterly wept as she prayed for a child. When the priest Eli saw Hannah, he did not see her circumstances. He thought Hannah was drunk (1 Samuel 1:12-14).
Tears are Grace
Hannah's interpersonal skills were impeccable! Hannah regained composure when the priest made a false accusation and explained her countenance. The other wife, Peninnah, provoked Hannah yearly into depression. Adding injury to insult, Hannah's husband did not understand. He questioned Hannah's need for a child as ingratitude for his love and care for her. However, Hannah did not slap Peninnah across the face or cuss her husband for not validating her feelings. To endure barrenness during this cultural time and the ridicule, Hannah must have had plenty of intimate talks with God.
Crying is so essential that even the Bible gives us examples of Jesus expressing His emotions through tears. John 11: 33 shows how Jesus was moved in compassion for Lazarus' sisters. " When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Jesus wept" after asking for the location of Lazarus. Jesus cried in a public setting. We are His disciples and we are extended the same grace.
When I cried during certain situations in I Ate the Cake: A Journey for Justice, the underlying trigger was hurt from deceit, mistreatment in the workplace, and injustice practices. Crying released the anger and frustration. Crying stopped me from pulling off my earrings and shoes and assaulting my bosses. Crying wrapped its arms holding me while the preparators smiled, attempting to provoke. Crying released emotions and opened my spiritual eyes. I could not fight this battle with regular warfare. Crying led me to prayer to seek direction and the comfort of my Father. I maintained my morals and values through tears. Tears are grace!
Allow your tears to help you acknowledge your pain. Once you identify the trigger, you can pray to God to soothe what needs healing. God's healing will help you refocus and get back to Kingdom business. Once Hannah pleaded with God, she returned; trusting in God for a response. Hannah went back to being a wife and became a mother. Her tears were not without purpose. She did not allow the circumstances to dictate her actions.
Your Divine purpose is to serve Him in the capacity of where you are and what He has invested in you. Psalm 30, one of the most known scriptures penned by King David, reminds us of God's faithfulness to our tears. The second part of verse 5 states, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." We do not know the length of time God considers a night, but David further shares that God's favor is for life! God's grace is sufficient. You can endure by the grace of God through the Helper and Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Father, we pray that You will continue to help us allow your grace to flow through our tears. Pour out Your strength in us so that we can model Your love in our relationships and with ourselves. Teach us to balance our emotions and retreat as needed, but get back up. Help us to understand that You see and will respond to our tears. Give us the same resolve of Christ: walk in Your will despite our emotions. May your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven through us.