Many media outlets released a story on 5/18/22 about a young woman in New York who consulted her physician about a health issue. It was a rare problem with few solutions, so, in her hopelessness she began to weep in that office.
Her doctor was sensitive and did not interrupt her sorrow, BUT she was later billed for the outburst. It appeared on the statement as BRIEF EMOTIONAL / BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT – $40.00.
There were no questions asked, no counselor summoned, no consolation offered, no screening to speak of. Just a bill for emoting in the doc’s office.
This is so crazy it makes me want to laugh, but I am afraid I might get billed for it!
$40 bucks is a lot for a few tears, but the cost of stuffing our sorrow is far greater.
In an article from the HARVARD HEALTH BLOG (3/1/2021), Leo Newhouse gives a few clinical reasons why we should let the waterworks flow.
– Crying is an emotional pressure release.
Studies indicate that those who repress their tears have a less effective immune system, more cardiovascular disease, hypertension. It also breeds mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
– Crying builds bridges.
When we cry, we encourage closeness, empathy, and support from friends and family. Who can’t do with a lot more of that?
– Crying flushes our system
Tears cleanse stress hormones and other toxins out of our system.
– Crying makes us feel better.
It releases endorphins in our systems. These pain relievers help ease both physical and emotional discomfort. Most of us would agree, there is nothing like a good cry to make us feel better.
“No way!” you say. “I am a Christian and crying exposes a weakness in my faith.”
Not true! To cry is a privilege. It is part of what it means to be created in the image of God. Here is a biblical theology of tears:
– Crying is natural: Solomon wrote “there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4. Weeping is perfectly appropriate at times.
– Crying is encouraged: Jesus urged the women of Jerusalem to weep for themselves. (Luke 23:28)
– Crying is not just for women and children: Peter wept after denying Jesus. (Matthew 14:72) Paul evidently cried often in the course of his ministry (Acts 20:19 & 31) I was surprised to read in the Harvard article that, “on average, American women cry 3.5 times each month, while American men cry about 1.9 times each month.”
– Crying is commanded: Paul wrote, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15.
– Those who cry are blessed: Didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed are you who weep?” (Luke 6:21)
– Crying was practiced by Jesus Himself. In Luke19:41 He wept over the soon to come destruction of Jerusalem. He also stood beside Mary of Bethany and grieved her brother’s death, “Jesus wept.” (Luke 11:35) He came to show us how to live and included, were a few lessons on how to cry.
As I have gotten older, I have found (as many men have) that it has become easier to shed a tear. This is due in part to the receding tide of testosterone and a lifetime that has tenderized me and helped me analyze less and feel more.
And yet, there is still that macho mechanism in me that tries to stifle the occasional sniffle.
I am pretty sure all of us would be better off to recognize that God created us with the capacity to cry and we need to use it as needed. To do less is to jeopardize our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical stability.
And my, my! There is so much today that merits a tear.
A PRAYER: Lord I want to be like You in every way. Free me to weep as you wept!
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.