Do Real Men Cry?
(Genesis 46:29 KJV) And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
Weeping is probably one of the more interesting subjects in the Bible. We clearly see where both men and women wept openly and unashamedly when the occasion called for it.
However, somewhere along the way, that part of our emotions (at least for men) was quenched. When I was growing up it was fine (if not expected) for men to express their emotions through anger, whereas women could express their emotions by weeping. Boys were taught to control their emotions, particularly crying because real men did not cry. Girls on the other hand were free to cry as long as they did not take it too far.
I suppose the real question is…why is crying necessary at all? The fact is tears are like perspiration, in that exercising and crying both relieve stress. Tears remove some of the chemicals that built up in one’s body from stress, like the endorphins leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin. The opposite is also true. Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.
The other day I was talking to a lady who told me how easy it was for her husband to weep, particularly when it came to their children. When their daughter went off to college her husband would often look at their daughter’s picture and weep because he missed her so much. I was moved by the fact that he had the privilege of growing up at a time where he felt the freedom to weep as Joseph did in our text.
I have no way of proving this, but it seems to me that “weeping men” weep more than “weeping women.” I understand the part where weeping releases one’s stress level in the natural, but what does it do for us in the spiritual?
I have noticed over the years that Southern Gospel singers seem to weep more easily than other gospel singers. Perhaps it is because they (particularly the older Southern Gospel singers) were always singing about going to heaven. If that is the case, then their kind of weeping is not meant to release stress in the natural but rather to express joy in the spiritual.
In the case of our text it appears that when Joseph wept over his father it was the result of joy and not for stress release.
The point is...weeping serves a great purpose both in the natural and in the spiritual. That means those who weep an unusual amount in the natural probably have a low stress level and need a constant release. Those who weep an unusual amount in the spiritual probably have their minds on the presence of the Lord more and that is good.
Thank you for allowing us to release our emotions by weeping in the natural as a stress release and weeping in the spiritual as a release of joy. Lord help us not to be ashamed of the wonderful gifts of our emotions and particularly that of weeping.