Real Men Cry
by Joseph Franks
I try not to tear up. Believe me, I have no desire to be known as a sappy sentimentalist. However, truth be known, I cry quite often, and as I am getting older it seems my eyes leak more than ever. I tear up when I watch certain movies. At times, my eyes get moist when my my church looks dysfunctional. When my family enjoys either great prosperity or intense pain, I weep. The same is true when someone comes to know and proclaim Jesus Christ to be their Savior. Yes, tears flow at funerals; they also flow at weddings. And quite often, in the midst of congregational singing on the Lord’s Day, I am forced to wipe away moisture from the corners of my eyes.
However, in my devotional reading this morning, I came across the following verse, and I found myself convicted. No, I was not convicted to the degree that I wept, but perhaps I should have. Listen to the Psalmist:
My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. Psalm 119:136
How often do I cry over my own sin?
How often do I cry over the sin in my family?
How often do I cry over the sin in my church?
How often do I cry over the sin in my neighborhood?
Oh friends, I do not want to try to cry over sin, I just want it to happen. I want tears to sneak up on me and leak out due to sin. I do not try to cry at funerals, weddings, and worship services; it just happens. My insides are touched, and they begin to erupt with emotions. My heart strings are tugged and tears show up. And this is what I desire — I want to weep more in regards to sin.
In my personal life, I do not merely want to avoid sin. No, I want to hate sin, and I want to cry when I prove to be less like Jesus and more like Lucifer. I don’t have to do better in order to win the affection of my Heavenly Father, but I want to have such intense affection for him that I tear up when I fail.
I do not merely want to coach my family to sin less, avoid pain, and look good. No, I want to love them so much that I mourn over sin and its disastrous consequences. I want to teach my family with tears in my eyes. I want to disciple and discipline them with godly sorrow. I want to enjoy Gospel-grace with my them and grant them forgiveness and reconciliation, and I want to do so with moisture in my eyes.
I do not merely want to be an elder, offer forth congregational prayers of repentance, and pass along wisdom on the counseling couch. No, I want to gather with like minded brothers and sisters and weep over the lawlessness in our souls, our individual families, and in our shared church family. Then, while remembering and presenting Christ and all his gracious benefits, I want to smile, hug, and weep again.
And in regards to evangelism and external ministry, I do not merely want to preach at my neighbors. In addition, I am not happy merely passing along money, food, and education. Sure, I do want them to hear the Gospel and be converted. Yes, I do want to assist in solving some of their temporal issues. However, I do not want to be cold in my soul. No, I want my self-centered heart to be touched by the plague of sin in my community and around the world. I want to feel deep emotions as I love my neighbor as myself.
Oh friends, the Psalmist cried. Jesus cried. I want to cry too. What about you?
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing me my sin and saving my soul. Thank you for all you have done to make me righteous — positionally, progressively, and perfectly.
Now today, I look forward to walking like you, talking like you, thinking like you, and feeling like you. Yes, I look forward to loving righteousness, hating sin, and tearing up over people — including myself — who keep not your Law. However, to feel this from the inside out, I need your Spirit’s assistance.
Would you help me trust you more?
Would you help me love your Word?
Would you teach me to loath sin?
Would you cause me to weep when I and others disbelieve and disobey you?
Would you awaken my apathetic heart? Would you make me a man with a deep chest? Please give me again a tender conscience accompanied by moist eyes. I know I will then be more inclined to walk in holiness, disciple my family and friends, pray for those about me, and shower them with Gospel grace.
Lord Jesus, real men cry, and I want to be a real, godly man. Awaken my soul.