This weekend I was out of town with my family. We visited our framily (friend family) in Wisconsin and celebrated the union between a man and a woman, both our friends, in marriage. It was a hootin’ hollerin’ good time.
I was up there next to the groom and the other members of the wedding party on that great and glorious afternoon. There I was, standing at attention, and the music plays and the bride walks down the aisle with her father to be given over to her groom, glowing. A couple tears were shed on my part, to be sure. Scriptures were read, sermon delivered, vows taken, rings exchanged, praise given. All of this was piling on glory and grace on top of glory and grace and the Lord of Life was honored and the Gospel made known and my emotions were bubbling up. Then, just then, another friend sang this song, here backed by a violin. When her voice was lifted up in that moment to give glory to Jesus for His love and grace and goodness with a bride and groom covenanting together everlastingly, I admit, I was a blubbering mess with rivers of salty water pouring down my face into my scraggly beard. I stood unashamed (not that anyone was looking at me!).
All this to say, men should cry and not waver. Men should cry for the right reasons, to be sure, but men should cry. We should not cry simply because our feelings were hurt or life is hard, for example. Tough up you sissy, God gave you broad shoulders for a reason!
We, men, should cry over death, that terrible conquered enemy. We should cry in grief at the loss of relationships and love. We should cry at the giving of life, through birth or adoption or marriage. We should cry at goodness and beauty in art, music, literature, and creation. When godly men are confronted with the utter goodness of God on full display, really tears of joy and shouts of praise are the only things we can offer, and men should not be ashamed of it.
Practically speaking, our emotions need to match the mind of God. If your response to God’s goodness is to weep with joy, then your heart is in the right place. If you refuse to emote in accord with God’s design and will remaining stoic in the face of grace, your heart is hardened and you, o man, have a false sense of manhood. Being a man is not about machismo. Jesus had His face set to Golgotha to slay the Dragon and overcome the grave, and yet He wept at the tomb of His friend. Nay, brothers, being a man is chasing after God’s heart. So, real men work hard and harder still, fight the enemy until they are consumed in the dust, dance with their girl until her legs ache, drink merrily to gladden hearts and redden cheeks, raise children with songs on their lips, laugh so everyone can hear, and yes, real men shed tears of joy over the mercy of their heavenly Father.
Men should let their beards glisten with tears because God is that good.