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  • Writer's pictureDavid L. Goetsch

Real Men Don’t Cry? Dispelling the Myth (John 11:35)

I grew up in an era when young boys were told, “real men don’t cry.” Things have changed somewhat since then but men crying remains a cultural taboo. I don’t recommend that men go to the other extreme and spend their lives collecting frequent-crier miles. There is, after all, something to be said for emotional restraint. However, under certain conditions it is perfectly acceptable for men to cry. Never forget that the Bible tells us Jesus cried on three different occasions (see John 11:35, Luke 19:41, and Hebrews 5:7-9), and nobody is going to accuse Jesus of being less than a real man.

Here are a few situations that have moved me and other men to tears. The list is not comprehensive but it is representative of the conditions in which even the sternest of men might be shed a few tears:

  • Holding a dying man in your arms and, in spite of all your efforts, watching him breathe his last breath. Knowing that the man lying limp in your arms is someone’s beloved son, brother, or nephew—a young man who will be missed forever and who will never be a husband or father.

  • Pacing outside the door of the delivery room—that’s how it was done back in my day—as your wife gives birth to your first child. After pacing and fretting for hours, hearing these words: “Congratulations, dad. It’s a girl! Your wife and baby are doing fine.”

  • Bringing your new little bundle of joy home from the hospital, placing her in a tiny crib next to your bed, and holding your wife’s hand as the two of you stare at her awe-struck wonder for hours.

  • Waiting just outside the door and praying fervently as that little bundle of joy you brought home from the hospital—now a grown woman—gives birth to your first grandchild.

  • Holding your newborn grandson for the first time, knowing he is healthy and well.

  • Listening with feelings of indescribable joy when your little grandson calls you “grandpa” for the first time.

  • Holding your little grandson in your arms as his tiny hands grip you seeking comfort from the thunder and lightning.

  • Watching your grandson playing happily with your wife—his grandmother—who somehow knows just what to say and do with little ones.

  • Taking your grandson to the park for the first time and feeling his little hand clutch yours for security in that unfamiliar setting. Then, eventually hearing him call, “Grandpa, watch me,” as he warms up to his new surroundings.

  • Having your little grandson look into your eyes with unconditional love and complete trust as you hold him in your lap and read to him.

  • Watching your little grandson dance with delight when he greets Grandma and Grandpa at the door.

These are just a few situations that might move a “real man” to tears. There are plenty of others. If Jesus could cry over the pain and infirmities of His children surely we can cry over the indescribable blessings He gives us.

Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019:


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