A Godly Man Weeps

A Godly Man Weeps

In his short work, The Emotional Life of Our Lord, BB Warfield writes of the compassion, love, indignation, and sorrow that Jesus experienced during His earthly ministry. Jesus was “subject to all sinless human emotions.” [4] So, what were the occasions that caused the Lord to weep? Three moments in Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry stand above all others:  at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn. 11:35), over the unbelief in Jerusalem (Lk. 19:41), and in the Garden of Gethsemane as He pleads for the cup of God’s wrath to pass from Him (Lk. 22:44; Heb. 5:7-9).

There is an assumption that real men are not supposed to cry. Of course, this misconception probably stems from the authoritative positions in the home and the church where God has placed men. Biblical manhood reveals a man who is not driven by emotion. It calls for men to be wise, self-controlled, and sober-minded, not being blown “to and fro” by life’s changing circumstances. However, the refusal to be driven by emotion is not the same as understanding that emotion is a natural part of the Christian life. Therefore, a godly man will weep when necessary. A godly man will understand that weeping is often influential. [1] Furthermore, a weeping heart is often a product of the Holy Spirit melting the hardest of hearts in the believer (Ez. 36:26). [2]

Watson lays before his readers several situations where weeping is proper. Interestingly, every one of these appropriate circumstances focuses upon the godly man’s recognition of sin in his own life. This focus should be telling. Not only does a godly man recognize his own sinful corruption, but he hates the sin that causes his guilt in the sight of his God. Therefore, Watson pens that a proper understanding of biblical manhood will see sin, hate sin, weep over sin, and ultimately, kill sin.

Regarding weeping over sin, it must be understood that the godly man ought to have a sense of his sins of omission and commission. This means that the godly man will understand that he falls short of God’s standards and strikes out against God’s law. Watson says that a proper understanding of weeping will lead to a godly man shedding tears each time he is “overpowered by pride and passion.” [3] Additionally, he will grieve that he cannot be more holy. Watson continues, “It troubles him that he shoots so short of the rule and standard God has set. ‘I should,’ says he, ‘love the Lord with all my heart. But how defective my love is! How far short I come of what I should be….”

Thomas Watson rightly teaches that the ongoing presence of sin is the reason for the godly man to weep. Yet, does Watson fall short in targeting circumstances in which the godly have the right to weep? He does. Knowing that Jesus Christ was truly man, but a perfect man, emphasizes that he was not driven by emotion but was often moved to emotion.

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