This is a picture of me crying.
There are three reasons I generally might cry:
- I drink a lot of caffeine, and for some reason, when it wears off, I start yawning and tearing.
- I’m now in allergy season, and my allergies give me watery eyes.
- I’m sad.
Frequently I’ll have people asking me why I’m crying, and it’s admittedly a little embarrassing to have to explain why I’m tearing up. (Usually 1 or 2)
I’m not the only enigmatic crier.
In John, chapter 11, we hear about the death of Lazarus. Jesus arrives at the tomb several days late, and encounters a distraught Mary and Martha, as well as other Jews gathered there. This is where we hear the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.”
But why was he crying?
- Because he missed Lazarus and was sorry he was dead.
- Because he was sad at the lack of faith of the people gathered there.
- Because he felt sorry for the grieving Mary and Martha.
People have made arguments for each possibility down through the ages. Which one do you think? My guess is #3, but there’s probably no way of knowing. Just like me, Jesus has multiple reasons to shed tears.
And we’re not the only ones. Crying isn’t always a straightforward activity. From time to time you will encounter someone who is sad or even tearing up and you may not know why. What do you do?
- Politely ignore the tears and hope all is well
- Ask what’s wrong.
Those could both work. My personal favorite, however, is…
3. Hand them a tissue.
No matter the reason for the tears, passing a Kleenex seems to say “Whatever you’ve got going on, I care about you”. It’s a direct, physical action that invites but doesn’t require further conversation.
I guess they didn’t have Kleenex in Jesus’ time, but if I’d been next to Lazarus’ grave when Jesus wept, I would like to think I would have offered him a sleeve to wipe his eyes on…
and maybe he’d have offered more than a two word explanation!
Have a great week,