Some years ago when a Christian family member passed away suddenly, I was moved to tears in my grief. Another family member told me very sternly that Christians should keep those emotions in check and be joyful for those who have gone on to eternal life. I silently screamed inside, “Just let me cry!”
Is it okay for Christians to cry or grieve at the death of another Christian? The simple answer is yes. God has blessed us with a natural affection for our families and friends. Of course we’ll feel pain when we lose them. We shouldn’t feel we are doing wrong by experiencing those emotions. The psalms are full of expressions of grief. We also know from the book of John that Jesus wept with Mary and Martha at the death of their brother, Lazarus.
But the Bible tells us we should not grieve without hope. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14, we are told, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” As Christians, we can feel sadness when someone dies, but we also have the knowledge of the hope of eternal life for those brothers and sisters in Christ!
So cry away if you feel like it … and while you’re at it, hand me a tissue too.