“Be strong, be bold, don’t be afraid or frightened of them, for ADONAI your God is going with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deut. 31:6 CJB
I know my explanation below is not a technically accurate translation of this verse. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Sometimes God shows us things we need, an impression, a slightly different take on a verse to show His Heart, His Love.
Don’t be afraid … “of them.” To whom is “of them” referring? Yep. Other nations. War. Take the land. But what if, just for this moment in time, “them” is tears. Society, even the church (little c) to some extent, tells us men don’t cry; emotions are bad, even dangerous. I grew up with that one. Hold them in. Don’t be weak. “They” can’t be trusted.
If that’s true (it’s not), how are we supposed to grieve the things that hurt us? Or, and this one will really bust your chops, CELEBRATE the enormous Grace, Mercy & Love we as humans, but especially we betrayers, have been given?
I addressed this subject of “Tears” in 2018 from a slightly different point of view. I try not to make tears a litmus test of brokenness but the further I go in my 3-R’s (Recovery/Restoration/Redemption) the more I lean that way. If you choose, you can find that post here.
I believe grieving is a prerequisite to being set free, addict or not. It’s where we meet our sinful self. It’s where we meet our regrets. It’s where Holy Spirit changes our heart. When I was first found out, my grief was full of regret. The things I did. The lies I lived and spoke. The pain I inflicted. The family I was losing. The consequences I was feeling. My regrets were overwhelming and I cried. I wept. Often. I measured the quality of my devotional times by the number of Kleenexes required. A five-Kleenex morning was a good morning.
In his New York Times best-selling book, Wild at Heart, John Eldredge says, “A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept (emphasis mine) is a wound that cannot heal.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think God agrees:
• Psalm 56:9 – You put my tears in a bottle. Are they not in Your book?
• Psalm 126:5 – Those who sow in tears will reap with a song of Joy.
• Other Psalms: 6:7 and 42:4;
• Jesus. John 11:35 records this simple verse, “Jesus wept.” He cried a number of times which are recorded;
• Acts 20:19 & 31
• Revelation 7:17 & 21:4
Tears most definitely have a place in our lives. Grief. Brokenness. Regret.
Thankfully, that’s not where God leaves us. It’s only the beginning. That’s where God began His work in me, showing me His enormous, incredible, unfathomable Grace, Mercy and Love. I still measure my devotional times in Kleenexes, but it’s no longer out of regret. My past no longer negatively affects my future. My tears are those of Joy as the Words of Scripture, wise men, struggling men and my Beloved Lynn, sink deeply into the pieces of my “broken and contrite heart.” Until my heart was broken, those words, and even God’s Grace, couldn’t get in and cause lasting change and freedom.
Tears. A litmus test of our brokenness? Of our Joy in Grace? A resounding, “Yes.” And, “No.” I know for me to use “them” as a litmus test of someone else’s heart and contrition is not only unfair but downright wrong. It is true of me and I believe I’ve made a compelling case.
I leave you with this blog and something to think about: “Men don’t cry.” Really. Hmm.
Freedom is a gift from God. It is also His Promise; and He ALWAYS keeps His Promises.