Does God cry?
You may remember when that happened.
But do you know why Jesus cried?
Do you know why God cries?
Do you know why Allah cries?
Do you know why YHWH cries?
This one’s an update from something I did in October 2011. With all that’s going on in the world right now, it seems like a good time to update it. As usual, updates are in rust colored italics.
Do you think God cries when He looks at what we’re doing to His name?
Do you think God cries when He looks at what we’re going to each other?
How about when He looks at what we’re doing to each other in His name?
Don’t jump to conclusions here. I’m not singling out any one person or group. I think we all are guilty of using God’s name to do things to each other that He would not approve of. Being a Christian myself, I’m starting with an example from Jesus. But there’s something here for everyone.
Does God cry?
Many will remember the verse from John 11:35 –
For the trivia fan – it’s the shortest verse in the Bible.
For those that don’t know why Jesus cried – here’s the background behind the event.
Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, died. After Jesus heard of his friend’s death, people wanted Him to immediately go to his home. But Jesus waited where He was for a time. Jesus did finally arrive. Four days later. Many blamed Jesus for his death. For example –
Jn 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus tried to console them and even tell them that Lazarus wasn’t really dead – that he would rise again. But they didn’t understand.
Then we read –
Jn 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Then we read –
Jn 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.
Jn 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But were they correct? Was Jesus crying because his friend Lazarus was dead?
Before I answer this – look at what’s next –
Jn 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
So – back to the question.
Was Jesus crying because Lazarus was dead?
No! That would make no sense. Jesus was trying to tell people that Lazarus would be brought back to life, but they didn’t understand Him. So He knew there was no reason to cry over the “death” of his friend.
Was Jesus crying because of the things people said to Him and about Him? I would have been upset. I mean people were blaming Him for the death of someone that He called a friend. He wasn’t even there when it happened. How could He be responsible. Even worse – they weren’t getting the message about Lazarus rising again. It’s a double whammy. And then to add insult to injury, there was the comment about the blind man being able to see – but His friend dying. It would have made me cry – to be talked about like that – when I knew none of it was true. How about you?
But still – that wasn’t it either. Because we read –
Jn 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
No – Jesus was crying because none of the people there were getting the message. It was a teaching moment – and they weren’t getting it. That’s why “Jesus wept.“
And how many teaching moments are we missing today? How many times do people of all three religions of Abraham miss a teaching moment – and do something like what the people did when Lazarus “died”?
(Note – No – Jews don’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah – but there are more examples coming from the Old Testament that will show a similar response from God the Father. Also – Muslims do believe in Jesus, but as a prophet as opposed to the Son of God. However – they do hold Jesus in high regard as an important prophet – and so this example should be meaningful.)
Again – how many times do we all do something where God is trying to use an event as a teaching moment, and we end up doing exactly the opposite, blame Him for what happened, blame or give Him credit for our inappropriate response, and thereby make God cry?
Let’s look at some other examples.
What about God – The Father?
Genesis 6:6 says
The LORD was grieved …
This was just before the account of Noah and the flood, an incident in all three religions. God was sad because of what His people were doing. Adam and Eve disobeyed Him, in spite of everything they had, including being able to walk with Him in the Garden of Eden. And their behavior made Him sad.
And then there’s this prophecy from Ezekiel 6:8-10 –
Eze 6:8 “ ‘But I will spare some, for some of you will escape the sword when you are scattered among the lands and nations. Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me—how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.
Again – this was about the behavior of God’s people. He sent prophets to warn them. They didn’t listen. They turned their backs on Him. Totally ignored Him. It was their actions that made God sad.
Are we really any different today?
I could go on, but the point is that God does have feelings – He feels joy, but He also feels sorrow.
The reason I bring this up – I’ve read a few books that include the concept of God ‘s pain & sorrow over our sinning. At least two of them – fictional accounts, to be sure – but Biblically based – talk about some sense of God’s pain.
One writes about the person being saved – and how God, through Jesus, experiences all of our past sins at that moment – absorbing the pain and paying the price for each of them – and the ones to come.
The other has us hearing God crying out and sensing His pain and sorrow after we die – as we are on our way to Heaven. I hope this one’s not true. What a way to go to Heaven – hearing all the grief we’ve caused God on our way there. Might take a really long time too.
I was thinking about this the other night – and started to wonder . Both of these put some limits on God’s sorrow over what we’ve done. It’s brief – only when we are saved – or only when we die.
It seems too short.
I mean – Jesus came to suffer a horrible death for us.
That’s seems a bit much for something that only causes a little bit of sorrow for a few moments at some point – either in or right after – our lives.
And then there’s this parable – from Luke 15:3-7 –
Lk 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
So there’s rejoicing in Heaven when even one of us is saved.
That leads me to believe that – while it makes for good literary drama – the pain that God feels isn’t likely to be either when we’re saved or after we die.
Both of those would be a time for rejoicing – not for grieving.
The one who would be grieving would be Satan – not God – and not us.
when does God feel that sorrow?
and for whom?
Is it really only for those who are saved?
Or is it for everyone?
David writes in Psalm 80:3 –
Ps 80:3 Restore us, O God;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.
In that case – he’s talking about all of God’s people – the Israelites.
But – by the time we get to the New Testament – here’s what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 –
1Co 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Not just the Jewish people – everyone.
What about Jesus – what did He say?
Well – in Matthew 20:24-28 – we read –
Mt 20:24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
OK – a ransom for “many”.
Many will be saved – but not all.
So – what about those who won’t be saved.
Does God care about them?
Does God cry for them?
Let’s start with this, from Luke 2:8-12 –
Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
So Jesus news of Jesus was news of great joy – for all the people.
Not just some – but all.
So what happened?
How did we go from good news for all – to ransom for many?
We see in Luke 9:1-6 –
Lk 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
It’s that free will thing.
God gives us the right – the free will – to accept Him or not.
He wants us to love Him –
to accept the salvation offered through Jesus –
but He won’t force us to take it.
And so –
we go from love for all
from an offer to all –
to acceptance by some –
and salvation for some.
So – back to the sorrow question.
There’s rejoicing in Heaven when someone is saved – when someone accepts salvation through Jesus.
I also have to believe there’s a “party” in Heaven – so to speak – when one of us arrives.
So the sorrow – the times we make God cry –
it would seem this would be while we’re still alive –
before we are saved
before we have accepted God’s gift.
No wonder God was grieved back in Genesis 6:6 –
The LORD was grieved …
Just in case you haven’t gone to look it up yet – here’s the context for that statement of grief –
Ge 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Ge 6:9 This is the account of Noah.
That’s a whole lot of grief and sorrow.
Good thing Noah was around.
Good thing God has sorrow as well as anger.
Otherwise He would have wiped us out before any of us were even born.
So I would tend to think that God’s sorrow comes pretty much all the time. I can’t imagine there’s even one second where someone on this earth isn’t doing something to make God cry.
Could be from someone who hasn’t been saved – and dies – and is forever lost.
Could be from someone who hasn’t been saved yet – but will be.
Could be from someone who has been saved – but even then we still continue to sin and hurt God.
You may be wondering – Which of these is “worse”?
I wouldn’t even want to go there.
We’re all making God cry.
Do we even think about this – that we make God cry?
We didn’t make Him. Although sometimes we act like we did. He made us.
We think He’s supposed to make us “happy” – in whatever way we want to be happy. It’s all about us. Atheists essentially turn their backs to God. They pretend / believe He doesn’t exist. That’s one thing. And I’m sure God cries over them. Because they are lost to Satan.
But what of the people who claim to believe in Him? Again here – I’m talking all of the Abrahamic religions. Obviously, there are differences between the three of them. But that’s not my point here. My point here is that all three claim to believe in the God of Abraham. And all three make the God of Abraham cry because of our actions – too many of which are in His name.
It’s time for all of us to examine what God really said – what God really wants – and act like that.
And stop making Him cry.
The amazing part –
where I do want to go –
is that in spite of all this –
not only did God not wipe out His creation – us –
but He still loves us enough to send His Son –
enough to absorb all of our sins –
enough to forgive all the sorrow and grief we give Him –
enough to still want to have a relationship with us while we’re alive –
and maybe most amazing of all –
He wants us to spend eternity with Him.
Jn 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
All that crying we cause –
and He still wants us.
You know the way to the place where I am going.
If you need one – the map is here.