The shedding of tears is often thought of as a sign of weakness. But crying is not just for babies. In fact, tears are healing, healthy and highly recommended. God has provided at least three types of tears for us, each with its own purpose.
One type of tears is known as continuous, or protective, tears. They are constantly produced to provide lubrication for our eyes. Protective tears actually contain lysozyme, a chemical which is anti-bacterial and protects the eye against infection.
Reflex tears, such as those which appear in response to cutting onions or from exposure to smoke, are tears which can clear particles or irritations from our eyes. As they flow from the tear duct down through the nose, they also keep the nose moist and aid in keeping it free of bacteria.
Emotional tears are healing to our bodies and our emotions. Stress hormones are found in tears evoked by emotion. By crying, these less desirable hormones are released. In studying the makeup of these tears, other toxins accumulated during stressful times were also found to be excreted through crying.
On a “happy” note, studies have indicated that crying stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural pain-killing and mood-lifting hormone. Blood pressure and pulse rates have also been shown to be lower after crying. This produces a state of calm. Crying really does make us feel better.
With all the benefits of detoxification, antibacterial properties, heart healing, and reduction in sadness and stress, we should actually be encouraged to cry. So don’t hold back those tears if the need arises. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 / KJV)
One day, there will be no more tears. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 / KJV) But for now, He has provided what our bodies and spirits need by the release of those tears.