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The Necessity of Shedding Tears

The Necessity of Shedding Tears

How many times in life have you resisted the urge to cry? Whether it be because we are in a public place, or surrounded by the watching eyes of loved ones, we often feel embarrassed to shed tears, or even that it is inappropriate to do so, when in fact, it is quite essential to our health and healing. Not only are tears a sign of healthy grieving, they are a way to rid our body of stress.

“[Stress] tightens muscles and heightens tension, so when you cry you release some of that,” said Dr. Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D, in a webMD article that examines the “health benefits of tears.”

Crying is encouraged not only by doctors, but even by God. Lamentations 2:18–19 reads, “Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite!… Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord.”

In the book For All Who Grieve: Navigating the Valley of Sorrow and Loss(10Publishing, 2020), Colin S. Smith acknowledges this throughout Chapter 1, writing that “tears are the shuddering of the body at the pain of the soul.” He highlights how we all grieve in different ways; some prefer to cry in private, while others are able to weep openly and share their emotions much more easily. However we choose to grieve and heal, the necessity of shedding tears is evident.

“Crying activates the body in a healthy way,” says Dr. Sideroff. “Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and [crying] is a very positive, healthy thing. […] That process of opening into yourself… it’s like a lock and key.”

Colin points to others in the Bible who have cried, such as the people in the book of Lamentations, and even Jesus. When Lazarus died, Colin observes, Jesus mourned his death and wept alongside Mary and Martha, even though He was to resurrect Lazarus himself.

In light of all we have learned about the effects of tears, and from what we have read in the Bible, we can conclude that crying and lamenting are not something of which we should be ashamed. Crying does far more good for us––physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually––than suppressing tears. Remind yourself and others of this. Lament to God in your grief and sorrow; cry out to Him.

“Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5 ESV


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