Is it okay for men to cry? Jesus did, as we see in the famed Lazarus story of John 11. But what about men in today’s culture?

In this month’s episode of Manly Monday, I talk about crying over the death of a dog and the death of a car and how it’s okay for men to have a more sensitive side. Even if it’s the only side.

What’s the last thing you cried or wept over? If you describe yourself as sensitive, do you feel shame in this as a man?

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  • Thanks for the video…and I listened intently. First of all, was the play you saw at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster Tom? I’ve been there a number of times myself.
    I so love that story about Jesus and Lazarus. To me at least, it shows the compassion of Jesus. And, I love that verse in the Psalms that says, “He puts our tears in a bottle” (Psalm 56). I see a number of references in the Bible to tears and crying. I take great encouragement from Revelation when it says there will be no more crying. All of us were given feelings…of joy and sadness…of laughter and tears.
    I remember when I was working for the Christian Service organization…things were not going well and some days were filled with tension and strife. One awful day, 2 people had a big confrontation in the office and, I started to cry…actually a big dam broke and I was weeping my heart out. As I walked down the street to get the subway, I couldn’t keep it in and I don’t know what people thought, but I was in such a state I didn’t care. “Weeping my endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” as it says in another Psalm. The next day I was able to feel a little better…
    I am thankful for the “gift” of tears and know from many times, a good cry is a God-given blessing for me. Thanks for this!

    • That’s the one. A fantastic production.
      Thanks for sharing some of your dam-breaking story, Dave. I’m grateful for these gifts of tears. For the depth of meaning that flows from every tear that falls.

  • Good video Tom, and I’m with you on crying when your dog dies or you have to put them down. It’s the worst. How is it when people see a kid in tears they know he’s hurting and want to help, but it’s super awkward if a guy is crying in public and people don’t know what to do? Like Jon, I remember sitting in a Sunday nite church service in my 20s and for absolutely no reason, tears start flowing. It wasn’t the message or music and I wasn’t sad, and I couldn’t stop. At least it was quiet tears and there was no bawling. I was the only one in the pew but others around looked over and probably wondered what’s up, but no one came up to me after, which is good. God bless them, It was probably really awkward for them.
    I think it’s one of the lies we believe that tears are weak. They may be the most honest and rational response to suffering in this world, others’ or our own. You could even argue that with all the pain there is in this world, that we don’t cry more shows what we lack. I saw this video where Chinese believers were crying while praying because others weren’t saved, and was convicted. It’s not only tears that come from pain, there’s tears that come from longing. You watch videos of soldiers returning home and the tears of their family, and you realize there’s joy that makes you cry. I’ve had tears in the presence of something pure and true and beautiful, tears of longing.
    There’s another verse about Jesus crying I keep. Hebrews 5 says, “During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.” There’s a crying that comes from faith. With faith tho, tears are never the last word.

    • It’s hard to let go of that notion: that tears are weak. Especially as I seek legitimate, healthy integration among men. I’m striving to give and take — holding back incessant tears when not necessary, but letting go when opportunities for genuineness avail themselves.

      • The tears that come from hurting, yeah, those I keep to myself. But the ones that are a response to things outside me, maybe it’s a little embarrassing but I’m ok with it.
        Have you heard of Jim Valvano? A college bball coach, he’s known for his underdog team winning the national championship as well as for his heart fighting cancer. He had this philosphy that every day of your life you should do 3 things. You should do something that gets you to laugh. 2nd, you should think. And 3rd, you should have enough emotion to cry. He says you’ve had a good day if you’ve laughed, thought & cried. It’s pretty simple but I like that.

      • Hey, I wrote stuff like I’ve figured out tears but yeah, no. Most times I get lost dealing with the havoc emotions cause in the soul dealing with ssa and faith, and don’t know what to do with tears that come from places I don’t understand.
        There’s real healing found in Christ and the love of God, but sometimes this world just screws with you. Those times it’s Psalm 30: “O LORD my God, I cried out to you for help, and you healed me.”

  • Like you, Tom, I cry relatively often, but rarely in front of anyone else.
    Yesterday I remember crying twice. Once was when I drove past the cemetery where my friend was buried a year and a half ago. Another time was when I heard a clip from a funeral on You Tube.
    The last time I cried in front of someone else was a few weeks ago when a friend and I hugged after resolving a conflict. They were tears of joy. I actually nearly fainted from the intensity of emotion.

  • Of course it’s OK for men to cry. Crying is human just as much as any other emotion. Men are made in the image of God and just as God feels emotions we do too. Are we any greater than out Creator? Heaven forbid! How can you go through this world without crying, without a mere tear running down you cheek? This world is full of sin, pain and death. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is “a time to WEEP, and a time to laugh; a time to MOURN, and a time to dance.” It’s more than OK for a man to cry. Men, WEEP! Weep at the injustice of abortion, weep at death, sin, and corruption and . . . .weep at that film with its sad poignant ending. Men, crying doesn’t make you feminine or weak, it makes you HUMAN. But a man doesn’t stay down; he needs to rise from the place of weeping, show strength and move on.

  • Oh, brothers, I cry all of the time! Well, okay, not all of the time, but a goodly amount. Thankfully, the men in my fellowship have got the tears thing right, so there is no judgmental attitude toward a brother who cries. They weep with those who weep.
    In the throes of my depression several years ago, I wept uncontrollably in and outside of church services. I had the most tender responses from the other men. I cannot tell you what life-giving solace and comfort of heart this was to me.
    Brothers, if you seen another brother cry, don’t leave them in their tears alone. Reach out to them. If they are tears of joy, rejoice with them. If they are of sorrow, let them know you are there for them. You may not know what to say exactly, but you can bear their burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

  • Tom, seriously, you nearly had me cry as I listened to your losing your car. Your loss was so real and sentiment earnest…I wanted to hug you but you’re not here! The thing is, I’m always close to tears because I hate seeing anyone in any kind of pain. I prayed years ago, Jesus I want your heart for my neighbour. Maybe my tears are the answer to that prayer or maybe it’s just old age. I struggled two Sunday’s ago wanting to bawl through my sermon. No one knew. Someone suggested I lighten up but my heart was so sore with longing for Jesus to come back and heal all the brokenness I see/hear every day in ministry. I wonder at the verse in Isaiah…Jesus, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. I think I get that but I’m sure no one needed to tell Jesus to lighten up? So I’m glad I cry. I’m not ashamed. But I also know I need to laugh more than I do. Thanks for raising the subject Tom.

    • “Sore with longing.”
      Yes. I feel that deeply. For whatever reason, I think God blesses (curses?) certain people with this insatiable longing. No means of “lightening up” will ever quite alleviate the longing. And I suppose it’s better that way. Always yearning for that truest form of pleasure and satisfaction and fulfillment, what will never die out. May we — may I — never grow ashamed of this longing. Thanks, Brian.

    • I cannot tell you how precious that description of Christ by Isaiah has become to me in recent years. In the emotional madness of my depression, the one single consolation I could find was in reflecting on how Jesus perfectly understands where I am, because He has been there before. He offered strong prayers and crying to God. He felt forsaken by God on the cross. The tears, brother, the tears. Those tears! The tears of feeling forsaken and in utter, unspeakable despair. I cried those tears, my brother. I felt that way. It is bottomless, a horribly dark chasm of unreasonable fear and emotion. He was the Man of Sorrows, and He knows what it feels like. And He cried, too. I remember lifting up my voice to Him, sobbing uncontrollably, “Lord Jesus, you know what it feels like. You felt forsaken by God, too!”
      Of, the beautiful words, wonderful words of life that sustain us in the deepest and darkest places of our lives.

  • For those who know me well enough, I’m a very moody guy. I tend to cry if circumstances cause me to spiral downward. Usually work related events I wasn’t able to resolve cause me to beat myself up with internal negative dialogue. Getting criticized by my boss doesn’t help matters either. I take all this rather personally because I tend to rate myself as a person by how well I perform as an employee. This is a very misguided mindset for me, I know that. There are days that are bad and I cry myself to sleep hoping once again the rest will replenish my serotonin levels. When I awake, my mind and body will have me in a better mood.
    From the outside looking in, I see no shame in men who cry. It shows to me that they have feelings, empathy, compassion and are, for lack of a better word, real. While at the same time, there is a time and place for such a outpouring of grief.

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