Don’t Forget the Tears
JUNE 24, 2019
Lately, I’ve been giving a good deal of thought to how we relate to the world. We don’t live in Kansas anymore and therein is the problem.
We’re right and they’re wrong. That would be a freestanding and true statement except for the implications. It’s dangerous to be on the wrong side of truth when it comes to biblical issues. It, of course, has eternal implications, but it also has very destructive implications to a nation and a culture.
I’m a cynical, old preacher and street fighter who loves to take no prisoners. In fact, if I had been in Jerusalem when Jesus entered the temple and kicked out the money-changers, calling them a “den of thieves,” I would have cheered and shouted out, “You go, Jesus! It’s about time to kick some pagan posteriors!”
But then, puzzled, I would have noticed Jesus’ tears. What’s with that? What’s with the tears?
After much thought on and a good degree of shame and guilt over the issue, I’ve discovered something. It’s very dangerous to be right.
Jesus knew that.
When we became Christians a whole lot changed, slowly (sometimes very slowly) we started caring about what Jesus cares about, loving what he loves, hating what he hates, and weeping where he weeps.
Sometimes we forget about the tears. What was it with his tears?
Jesus showed mercy…mingled with his tears.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! [You should be judged. You will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. You will get what you deserve. But no…] How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).
We show mercy too; but when the tears are lacking, it isn’t mercy. It’s a two-point lie. First, we need to weep because we, more than anybody else, need mercy. And second, mercy without tears is shallow, moralistic, do-good altruism…that isn’t Christian.
There is a significant difference between our tears and Jesus’ tears. His came from a heart of grace and mercy. Ours come from a heart that needs grace and mercy.
The best gift you have is your sin…when you know it. The most dangerous place in your life is your obedience (even when showing mercy is a part of that)…when you know it.
I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere we got lost. We went from beggars telling other beggars where we found bread…to former beggars telling present beggars where we found bread…to people who were never beggars looking down at beggars and offering to get them a job.
The difference is the tears. The prayer of a Christian should not be that we show acts of mercy, but that we, as it were, weep while we’re doing it…weep for their sins and our own.
Jesus spoke truth…mingled with his tears.
“…the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!” (Matthew 23:17). “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers” (Luke 19:46).
When we speak our truth without tears for ourselves and for those to whom we speak truth, it isn’t truth. It’s self-righteousness.
Truth is so important. And we have been given revealed truth about salvation, heaven, standards, abortion, and it goes on and on.
If we speak our truth without tears, it’s self-righteousness, and all we will ever see are heels and elbows as the world runs in the opposite direction.
Jesus went to the cross and gave himself.
After Jesus showed mercy and spoke truth, both mingled with tears, he went to the cross. That is the clearest manifestation of God’s tears in all of history.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). So Jesus walked from the hill outside of Jerusalem to a hill in the shape of a skull…and gave himself.
When we give of ourselves and there are no tears, it isn’t sacrifice. It’s arrogance.
We live in a bad world—an incredibly bad world—and we’re a part of it.
We’re here for them. Jesus was here for us. He walked our dirty road…and we should walk their dirty roads. He washed feet…and we must wash feet too. He healed broken hearts and was a great physician…and we’re called to heal broken hearts.
And in our sacrifice, we must not forget the tears—tears that affirm that life is hard, messy and painful for all of us. The tears are the secret.
Life is hard for everybody—believer and unbeliever alike—so it is important that we be kind. Real kindness is a kindness expressed with tears that reflect our hearts…the heart of Jesus.
Time to Draw Away
Read Luke 19:41-46 & John 13:1-20, 34-35
What brings you to tears? Where does your heart reflect Jesus’ heart? Mercy and love are not something you can drum up on your own. They start with Jesus. The principle is this: You can’t love until you’ve been loved, and then only to the degree to which you’ve been loved. Once we’ve been loved then we can share love and truth…mingled with our tears. It’s all grace.
Read more from Steve Brown here