Tears are the enemy of the devil…

I am not the best sleeper. Thos of you who receive an email from me at 2  or 3 in the morning will realize that. I am not sure why my mind is so busy sometimes but truthfully, it is. Some say that it sis the sign of a guilty conscience. Others have told me that I worry too much. Corrie Ten Boom says that “Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.” I happen to think that she is right and I also believe that I am a victim like so many others of ‘inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.    The very opposite of fear is love. I have been trying to channel my evening energy into the ways of loving better. I am praying nightly to find more efficient ways to love those who are in my life today and the people who will come into my life tomorrow. All of that got me focused on how we emote and what we are prepared to admit about ourselves or not!  


Many of you have heard me say over the years that my Grandmother would tell me that “tears are the enemy of the devil…so go ahead and cry.”  I think of that expression of hers often. I’m not sure what that means about my life. I really am not the ‘veil of tears’ kind of guy, but I must say that when the time seems appropriate I have no problem summoning tears, especially lately.  I fell upon this quote tonight that reminded me of Nan’s words; There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” Those words are from Washington Irving. I think the idea of knowing sacredness in the emotion of tears is really profound.


I have offered y grandmother’s advice to countless people. I often tell a congregation assembled for a funeral that “tears are the enemy of the devil…”  Irving was right. Tears are not a mark of weakness but power. Indeed the weak are not characterized by their tears, but by their inability to get in touch with their emotions. There is no weaker picture than a person who is so determined to avoid emotion or any situation that may evoke emotion.


John’s gospel tells us that Jesus of Nazareth displayed in his life a sense of emotion. I think we all would refrain from seeing Jesus as weak. Yet, at the death of his friend Lazarus and seeing his family’s grief, “Jesus wept.”  Since we strive to reflect to imitate Jesus of Nazareth, we too ought to be in touch with our emotion.  This is as true for joy as it is for sorrow.  It doesn’t matter the motion as much as the courage to allow ourselves to go to that place. We should know that we can go to those places safely as God is with is in the midst of all of it.


Oops – look at the time – it’s after midnight. I need to go to bed and say some prayers for efficiency in love and the courage to be myself and turn away from fear! Goodnight!  

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