Sometimes the tears must flow. To stop them would be to tell the lie that things are not so bad.
The Bible’s masterfully told story of Esther has the unlikely queen’s uncle leading the mournful charge as the Jewish community in exile faces extermination. In that way of cloistered royalty, Queen Esther seems the last to know, the last to come to terms with the imminent extinction of her people. Palaces can be oblivious places.
When she is apprised of her Uncle Mordecai’s extreme behavior in the public square—tearing his clothes, covering himself in sackcloth and ashes—she remedies the situation as the powerful and the naive are wont to do.
Mordecai will not have it.
When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth.And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. (Esther 4:1–4 ESV)
Sorrow tells a truth that cannot be silenced by cheap tricks and new clothes.
Had Mordecai caved to the pressure to lighten up, there would be no Book of Esther, no Jewish people, no cradle of Messiah.
Truth will out, sometimes to the tune of unstoppable groans.