Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

What is it with men and tears?

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 18, 2009


Last night I was watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  This is never a good idea for me because I usually start tearing up 5 minutes into the show and don’t stop until it’s over. Unfortunately for me, it was a 2-hour special.

To be honest, I am a very emotional person.  I trend in my emotions toward an empathetic style of emotion because I feel people’s pains and joys.  This stems from a mindset that is very “visually” oriented.  I can look at a single photo and draw out a thousand emotions; on the flip-side, I can read a book and only get a couple. This might explain why I got more out of comics than books growing up and why I can watch silent movies and enjoy them.

Usually when I start my tearfest during a show, my kids start making their typical comments that begin with the question, “Dad, are you crying again?”

I have come to accept my emotional side as a fact of my life, and after two hours flowing tears last night, and with the burning sensation on my cheeks from the salt, I got to thinking, “Why do men have such a problem with crying?  And why is it that so many people can’t place ‘manliness’ and’crying’ in the same person?”

Don’t get me wrong; there are a handful of times that men are allowed to cry without diminishing their “manhood”… the birth of child, the death of family member and the championship victory of their favorite sports team, so why are other male displays of tearful emotion taboo?

I am at a point in my life where I am no longer ashamed of my tears and instead find myself defending my empathetic emotion.  I know that in the “old days” it wasn’t “manly” to cry at all, but I can show you that in even older days, empathetic tears were honorable.

Take King David for example.  This man of God… a man God called a person “after God’s own heart” cried constantly.  His songs we call psalms, dug deep into his emotional side and revealed a heart that is full of passion, joy, anger, love, despair and humility.  In fact, when you look at his life, the more humble he was, the more tears he shed. 

Humility is a dimension of the human psyche where the barriers to protect one’s own self are broken down and there is open access to the innermost being.  God wants this from his people because it allows him access to who we are, not the false facade we throw up in front of mankind.

Jesus wept several times.  If Jesus can weep, it is obviously a manly expression.  He wept for a city that rejected him; he wept for a family that lost their son (Lazarus); he wept in the garden for his own life and the ordeal he was about to go through on the Cross for our very salvation. Weeping is a connection to the soul of man.

So men, next time you feel that swelling of emotion that can bring forth a tear, don’t hold it back.  Use it as a teaching moment. Your children may laugh now, but one day they will look back and see that you, sir, are an emotional being that can be humble and exposed and still be a man.

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One Response to “What is it with men and tears?”

  1. Donna Howse said

    I don’t remember when or where it came about that men shouldn’t cry. Men have emotions the same as women, we just haven’t been told “big boys or men don’t cry”. It is a shame and I don’t think any less of a man when he shows his emotions, to me it shows he is a caring person.

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