Blood, Sweat, and Tears
June 11, 2021
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If nothing is tougher for men than baring their souls and revealing their true feelings, then a true tough guy is someone who does just that.
Real men cry.
In twenty years of leading National Community Church, I’ve tried to be strong and courageous. And that often means putting on a brave face and soldiering on. But if you surveyed our staff, I bet many of them would point to moments when I broke down and lost it.
I remember being emotionally wrecked by one question during a session at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I took our staff to Catalyst for thirteen years straight, but this one moment ranks above the rest. Craig Groeschel asked the question: does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God? My honest answer was no.
My heart had become calloused, not just my skin. So we delayed our reservation at the restaurant to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with our staff. We confessed. We cried. And not unlike the way a broken bone heals, my spirit became even stronger in the place where it had been broken.
I’m not saying you have to wear your emotions on your sleeve. But we’re men, not automatons! And sometimes, crying is leading.
It’s every kid’s favorite memory verse—two words! But those two words speak volumes about Jesus. The original language indicates intensity. This wasn’t a single teardrop rolling down his cheek! This was a melt down! Jesus lost it, and I love this dimension of who He is!
Jesus got sad. Jesus got mad. Then Jesus got even, raising Lazarus from the dead.
Good leadership takes blood, sweat, and tears. You’ve got to make sacrifices—blood. You’ve got to work hard—sweat. But you also have to lead with empathy—tears. And you can’t fake this dimension of leadership!
When was the last time your wife saw your cry?
How about your kids?
What about your friends?
If it’s been a while, you’re probably repressing something. And repression usually leads to obsession or depression. Your lack of vulnerability isn’t courageous, it’s cowardly!
Play the man!
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.