Lacrimation is science’s fancy word for crying. Did you know that almost all mammals shed tears, but humans are the only creatures on this earth that shed tears because of emotion? Our culture tells us that “big girls don’t cry” and that crying is for sissies, not men, but that’s not what Scripture teaches.

Science says that the shedding of tears is beneficial. Doctors say that tears are cleansing—providing an exit for your body’s toxins. Ophthalmologists know that tears cleanse and lubricate your eyes. Psychologists say that a “good cry” is a psychological release, a catharsis that helps you deal with your emotions. It makes me wonder why we avoid it so much!

John tells the story of Jesus raising his beloved friend Lazarus from the dead. His family is very upset by his death, and people say all sorts of things to Jesus: “If you had been here, this wouldn’t have happened!” In the midst of all of the turmoil and pain of loss, we find the Bible’s shortest verse: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). The Bible goes further to say that he was troubled or grieved in his spirit.

Many things may have triggered Jesus’ tears that day: seeing his friends and family hurt, witnessing disbelief, or just understanding the consequences of sin in a fallen world. Regardless of the reason, our savior was human enough to cry. He had a heart vulnerable enough to feel pain, and he wasn’t afraid to show it.

We need to be more like our Savior. We must be willing to put down our armor when we love and be willing to have our hearts broken. C. S. Lewis once compared the human heart to concrete: it isn’t soft and pliable very often, and once it sets, it is nearly impossible to form again. May we work to keep our hearts tender!