What are tears?
Have you ever wondered why you tear up when you see something stunningly beautiful, such as couples figure skating… or watch two people fall in love… or experience the restoration of a broken relationship… or see a powerful display of the Spirit of God… or you realize that you are fully forgiven and loved by your Heavenly Father? Why do tears happen? What insights could we discover in tears? Here are a few insights.
Made to be fascinated
We were made to be fascinated by God. When we were created we were given a special affinity for our creator; it’s built-in. We may not know it… or even know God… but it’s a fact that when even an unbeliever sees God, something deep and latent immediately awakens and gives homage to our creator. Consider Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus… there was instant recognition of his “Lord” and he paid homage by falling down. One second he was on a mission to kill Jesus’ ‘body’, the next second he is alive with passion and devotion for Jesus. A latent God-appreciating-factor was instantly awakened. And God loves to do that, by the way. He loves to dazzle and fascinate us. When we see, hear or feel His perfection, something deep inside of us instantly applauds our perfect creator. And when we see or experience something of extraordinary excellence or perfection, it resounds with the deep places in our heart. It reminds us of our perfect God. Our God-appreciation-factor kicks in. Our deep places begin calling unto God’s deep places… it’s our spirit man saying, “O, Abba!” And for most people, tears are a natural involuntary display of a most welcomed deep stirring of the heart.
Tears can reveal our unique make up. Watch when we have the God-kind of tears. They can give us understanding about our unique destiny and callings in God. When we are surprised by a tender heart and the overflowing of tears, this is a most significant sign of the Lord’s favor on what we’re doing…. and it can give insight into our uniqueness as a person. When we are touched by God’s Spirit, our spirit-man begins ‘prophesying’ to us through our tears. If we take note of (and even journal) our surroundings, environment, themes, thoughts and inspirations we’ll acquire understanding about our unique graces and giftings. Watching for this ‘sympathetic resonation’ between our spirit and God’s Spirit will reveal vital insights about our uniqueness.
A ‘velvet sledge hammer’
Tears are a gift of God. When God gives them to us, they can become a velvet sledge hammer of effectiveness with precious people God gives to us. To them, our tears are as powerful as a sledge hammer and as welcomed and soft as velvet. Tears break through their defenses and empower God’s sneak-attack through the ‘back door’ of people’s hearts. Even though they’ve developed mechanisms of defense for most influences that come their way, tears take most people by surprise. When God grants the tenderness of tears it takes our hearts into a most welcomed captivity to Love. Tears are kind of like Roberta Flack’s, “‘Killing’ me softly with his song”… such sweet surrender to Love.
When we’re held in Jesus’ tender embrace, we love the ‘breaking’ of tears and the wonderful freshness and cleanness that comes from tears. Tears wash off the burdens of heaviness, guilt, tension, stress, worry and distractions of the outside world. Everyone wants to be free of these burdens, so when God grants the open door into this level of tenderness there is an almost automatic one-ness in the room. And although we won’t fake or hype tears, we know that they are one of God’s sweetest kisses.
We may have a most valid attestation of God’s favor on our meetings. We may move in celebration, teaching and the prophetic… and all those will be powerful. BUT tears will level the playing field for all who’ve gathered. Tears will automatically draw them out of spectatorship and into participation and ownership. They’ll know that it wasn’t a man or a personality… or even a creed that moved them… because only One Thing can stir this deeply. People will gladly give credence and their hearts to Him… and their thanks and loyalty to the vessels who helped usher Him into their lives. Tears can be our rallying power-hitter… the wind in our corporate-gathering sails… and the residual buzz word over coffee for days following.
Many years ago, a prophetic ministry spoke over my wife and me, “God is giving you the ‘gift of tears’ and you are going to take it with you.” And so it’s true, one the most common manifestations in our ministry is tears. No matter what denomination or setting, we usually see tears or we personally experience tears… or both. I wasn’t sure about tears in the beginning, but now I’ve come to REALLY love the gift God has given us.
Do we understand the language of tears?
We probably don’t fully understand the value that God places on tears. They must be one of His top priority items because He saves them in a bottle and records them in His book. (Ps 56:8) Why is that? Well I think it possible that our tears give record to how many ‘holy reunions’ we’ve had with Him. Let me explain:
Have you ever wondered what our spirit man sounds like? What kind of voice does ‘he’ have? When and how does ‘he’ speak to us? What does ‘he’ sound like?
Most of us believe that we have a spirit, a soul, and a body. We know the voice of our body. It’s the five senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch. If we touch something too hot our body speaks to us loudly when pain says, “THAT’S HOT!” If someone tickles us, our body says, “That’s pleasant and funny”, even if it is slightly uncomfortable.
You might have guessed already that our soul’s voice is our emotions, our thinking (cognitive) and our will. So if something disappointing happens to us, our soul man says “That’s sad”. If something pleasant is done toward us, we get the feelings of appreciation and a desire to reciprocate love.
Now these things are very elementary; they’re the first baby steps we discover toward becoming responsible and mature adults. But, eventually we won’t make decisions based solely upon our body’s voice or our soul’s voice. We’ll begin to make decisions based upon right and wrong and from hearing the voice of God.
But what does our spirit man’s voice sound like? Does ‘he’ even talk? I dare say that most people don’t really even think about their spirit. We cater mostly to our natural senses and our feelings. As a result, in a manner of speaking, we’re a deaf mute; we don’t know how to hear or interpret what our spirit man is saying. We’re designed to walk by faith and not by sight, but this deaf mute condition leaves us groping in the dark and grasping for things… anything to fulfill our soulish or fleshly desires.
Some might say that our conscience is our spirit’s voice. And I think that is possible. But we can sear our conscience and then it doesn’t speak truthfully to us. So that voice may or may not be an accurate voice to listen to.
Let me make one more point then I’ll bring it home. The Bible says that our Creator made us in His own image. Our spirit came from His Spirit and we are “members of his body”. (Eph 5:30) Don’t you imagine with that kind of ‘DNA’ connection, that when our spirit and God’s Spirit touches that it’s like a ‘holy reunion’ takes place? Of course! That is when our “deep calls unto deep” (Ps 42:7) and we cry “Abba!” (Gal 4:6)
So let me ask, what happens in those occasions when God’s Spirit is touching your spirit? What is your reaction? Have you ever had goose bumps? Did you shake or tingle or feel warm or laugh, etc? All these can very real… and very good. But most commonly people experience tears when God touches them. Most people can’t fake tears or cry on demand, so tears are likely the most valid evidence that our spirit man is encountering God’s Spirit. It’s at this point that we are being fed real Spirit food. Remember, “Man can’t live by bread alone (just mind food) but by every word (and touch) that comes from the mouth (Spirit) of God.” (Matt 4:4) This is Life! So what are tears about? Why did you cry?
Encounter = tears
My premise is that tears are one of the most valid ways of knowing that your spirit man has had an encounter with God. It’s that ‘holy reunion’ thing; where our spirit which came from God and now lives in this temporary container called a human body, has a meeting with our near relative; our Daddy. Our spirit man begins to jump up and down. It wants to notify the conscious and cognitive parts of us that it is now experiencing what it was made for and must have more of; we’re having communion with our Daddy. But how can it notify us since it doesn’t have a mouth or tongue? One of the ways God equips our spirit man to speak to us is that our spirit man just ‘pushes’ tears out of our eyes. Have you ever wondered why you’re crying when you may not be feeling any emotion in particular? Mostly, I think that it comes from a sense of contentment; a feeling of belonging; a feeling of being loved on; a feeling like coming home… really, it’s just being with Daddy. O, and it just feels so good to be with Him!
If this is true then I believe we should be on the alert for the times when we have tears. We could discover another way of hearing God’s voice and knowing the will of God for us. There is so much more I could say about this subject. Actually, I’m considering writing a book about the Gift of Tears because there is so much gold to be mined from understanding our times of tears. If we had time we could talk of how to use your tears experiences to identify your unique basic motivational gifting(s) – the tool(s) that you were given the moment God put your spirit inside of your body. And if you know and understand your motivational gifting, then you can experience the greatest amount of grace that Heaven has available for you. I believe that it’s possible to find direction for most, if not all of life’s decisions based upon your understanding of the language of tears.
All kinds of tears
Obviously, there are many kinds of tears; tears of pain, healing, remorse, repentance, sorrow, joy, empowerment, commission, contentment, joy, intimacy, coming home, being loved—just to name a few. But now, we’re talking about an occasion of tears that doesn’t necessarily have any of these conscious emotions. In fact, I’ve found myself with tears when I didn’t want to cry or when I didn’t have any emotions at all. I have come to know that this is one of the languages through which God speaks to me. We may speak in English, Spanish, Mandarin, German, etc; but how special is it when God uses a uniquely personalized language to speak to you and me. That’s just what kind of God we have; a very personal and intimate God. Out of the 4 of 5 languages that He uses to speak to me, tears are one of the big ones.
Most of the time, I’m not rendered ‘out of control’ when tears occur. I just have that surprise attack of melted-ness inside—even when I didn’t have an emotion to go with it at the time. When that occurs I know that Holy Spirit has just validated what I am thinking… or have said… or am about to say. From that moment on I have no fear because I’ve heard the voice of my God. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing…” (Rom 10:17) When we recognize the voice of God and understand what He’s saying, at that moment we get an injection of true faith.
‘Barometer’ of tears
Bill Johnson says, “When I’m more than two weeks away from tears, I know what I must do.” Sometimes I’ll go for a stretch of time without experiencing tears. But when I realize it, I begin asking God for another encounter of tears. Actually, what I’m asking for is another encounter with Him. But sometimes my conscious mind doesn’t know how to get to that encounter, so I ask Him, “Jesus, please make my heart tender. Melt me again.” And you know, it won’t be long before He sneaks up on me and so pleasantly surprises me with another tender experience with His presence. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! :-)
You see, our hearts must be fed. We must have this ‘holy reunion’ with our Daddy for empowerment to live life. Prov 4:23 says, “Guard over your heart with all diligence from it flow all the issues of life.” In other words, if my heart ain’t full then I ain’t got nuthin’ to live life from. And how do I know if I’m feeding my heart? I recall my most recent time of tender encounter (evidenced by tears) with my Daddy because that’s when and where I was truly spiritually fed. How long has it been? How’s that length of time working for us? (For more on assessing our personal spiritual health go to: Spiritual Health Ingredients) If you’re wondering why things are a kind of dry and we feel powerless, a famous man of faith, General Booth of the Salvation Army, once asked, “Have you tried tears?”
So how long has it been since you and Jesus used the language of tears to communicate? How long has it been since you had a feeling of longing for Him—maybe something akin to that homesick feeling you had as a child when you were alone and far away from home. Remember what it felt like? Remember how badly you wanted to be back home. Do you really want Him now? Really? Then tell Him. Ask Him to melt you again; to take you by surprise; to make you melt down into a little puddle of appreciation and love for His almost unbelievable goodness. From previous encounters, can you remember the happiness and contentment that came with every encounter you’ve had with Him? Go ahead, ask Him now.
Every time we have an encounter He happily makes another entry in the Big Book, “WE JUST HAD ANOTHER REUNION!” And it gets heralded throughout heaven. Oh, Yeh! Heaven begins rejoicing… and our spirit man begins to rejoice… and thrive. Here is where the spirit realm commerce really takes place; in the communion (co-union) of God with man and man with God. This ‘holy reunion’ is where all true spirit life originates.
Consider Gen 1:2, “God brooded over the face of the waters…” Do you find it interesting that He hangs around water? Maybe this explains His special affinity for our times of tender tears (waters) in His presence. “When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring” - Prov 16:15. Heaven is happy… and it begins to ‘rain’… tears.
So, let the gift of tears begin!