and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck
and wept on his neck a good while» (Genesis 46:29).
FOR A LONG TIME, there’s been a notion that men who show their feelings and emotions are weak, lacking manliness. It’s common for a boy who cries to hear his mother or father saying, “Men don’t cry.” Raised with this false premise, most men don’t like to show their feelings in front of others. They don’t know that being able to express their emotions also has to do with man’s distinctive nature. Throughout my practice as a psychotherapist, I can assure you that men resist talking about their feelings; when they do talk about them, it’s because they’ve been pushed to do so by a strong emotional situation that, in their opinion, is getting out of hand.
Why men don’t cry? Is it because they lack emotional sensitivity or because the cultural messages they get as children peg them as weak if they show their emotions? Or is it that they don’t cry because they were created strong, totally rational and insensitive?
I like to reflect on the scene that unfolded next to Lazarus’s tomb: “Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. . . Jesus wept” John 11:33, 35). This was a public display of the emotional sensitivity of Jesus, who was God.
I also remember a deeply touching scene involving Joseph, second in command in Egypt after Pharaoh. Educated as a warrior, strong man, and leader of a powerful nation, he met his father after many years. Out of love and the pain of separation, they fell into an embrace drenched by tears. The Bible describes it with these words: “So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while” (Genesis 46:29).
Jesus and Joseph, along with many other examples of men who openly bared their souls in front of others without prejudice, let their emotions spring forth freely, moved only by the human warmth that every man and Roman has inherited from God. Although men and women process emotions differently its good for women to be sensitive to masculine emotions and to make room for them to express them without feeling embarrassed.