I was ten years old in the front row in the movie theatre. My best friend beside me. We had just finished watching Benji the hunted. (A movie about a little dog if you aren’t familiar with 80’s kid's movies.) As I looked at my friend and we wiped the tears from our eyes, we knew we had a problem. Men aren’t supposed to cry, especially in front of other men. We were only ten but already knew this wasn’t acceptable. So we made a pact, "This is just between us. We won't sell each other out. No one has to know we cried."
I am a grown man now, not just a boy pretending to be one. I am comfortable with my masculinity. I am not ashamed of it. I don’t hide it. I spit & fart. I sometimes stink after working. I have hair growing seemingly everywhere. I carry a pocket knife. I own guns. I like westerns and metal. I am physically strong. I have lots of scars. And guess what. I cry sometimes.
I am not a very emotional person. I don’t have “a feminine side.” I don’t like talking about feelings. But there are a few things that I am VERY passionate about, and they stir up in me deep emotion. And I will tell you that I am NEVER ashamed to cry about any of these three things.
Family: A mother nurturing her son. A father protecting his little girls. A husband's sacrificial love of his wife. A grandparent teaching their grandbabies.
These are supposed to be strong bonds and meaningful relationships. When familial love is profoundly demonstrated, it should stir emotion within you. To see that love or connection withheld it should break your heart.
Now, I don’t cry at every youtube video of a military reunion or touching family moment I see, but every once in a while something hits me just right, and my throat catches. It reminds me of the way things are supposed to be, and it inspires me to love deeply and makes me want to be a better father, husband, and son.
The Cross: The person who I love the most in this life is Jesus Christ. Because He saved me from a life that would have been unbearable and He gave me purpose. He took all the terrible things I have done and the selfish person I am from me and made me new. Or maybe I should say, He is making me new.
But the thought of Him suffering and dying because of my sinful desires, selfish heart, and poor decisions just crushes me. I am overwhelmed by his unconditional love for me. I am touched by his pursuit of my purity.
Anytime I see the crucifixion portrayed,
if I sit and think of his death,
if I read about the cross,
or even if I am speaking about his resurrection
I promise you there will be tears.
After almost 30 years of walking with Jesus, I still cry when I think of what he did for me, and I’m not ashamed of that.
The Lost: After knowing Christ and the peace that he has brought to my life, the thought that there are people out there who do not even have access to the story of Jesus profoundly affects me. The injustice that I see when I know that a vast majority of the Christians in the world live in peace and comfort while there are people who are suffering and needing Jesus, but there is no one coming to tell them. How can we enjoy our freedoms while completely ignoring the command of Jesus to GO?!
I hurt for the Muslims, who don’t know about the love of God and that they can find truth and freedom in Christ,
I ache for those enslaved to spirit worship and fear,
my heart weeps for those who are devoted to an empty religion but have never had an encounter with the risen Christ.
I cry because I desperately want them to know Jesus, but mostly I cry because I am ashamed that we the people of God are not going.
There are things that we as the men of God should be deeply affected by. On several occasions, we know that Jesus cried or even wept. So don’t be ashamed to let people see that tear run down your face. Just be sure that your tears are not wasted on things that are not worthy. Put your passions in the right place, and the rest will follow.
Let me close by saying, I still think it is okay for a man to shed a tear in a dog movie (be it Benji, Ol Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows) but only if the dog dies.