“Is it OK to cry?”
“Yes,” I responded, “crying is an emotion and even Jesus Himself cried.”
He said, “When I feel like crying in the unit I try not to because everyone picks on me when I do.” He went on to share that the other boys look at it as a sign of weakness.
“Yes, I can see how that could happen.” I replied, “But I cry too and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Then I began to encourage him by sharing scriptures about that very topic. I told him about Job; how he lost all of his children and for many days he cried. Also, I shared how Job’s friends responded by going to his location. They comforted him initially by just sitting with him and crying. As I shared a Biblical perspective on crying, the young man had a look of relief on his face as if a weight was removed.
I went on to explain that we are told to rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep. This passage in Romans reaffirms our call as believers to relationships with one another which are motivated by compassion, not ridicule nor mocking. So I shared a few more verses to comfort him to let him know that he was not alone with respect to expressing his emotions.
Being angry, crying, and rejoicing are all emotions that are permitted and we are not to feel bad for expressing any of them. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4). I reminded him that the Lord is here with us to comfort us when we need him the most and He is faithful to His word. The young man thanked me for sharing with him and let me know that he felt better.
I want to ask you a question today- what do we tell our boys or young men about expressing their emotions? All too often in residential facilities we see scared boys hiding behind false bravado. Let’s remember to show our young men that our emotion is not strange nor a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
Yes, it’s OK to cry.