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The Two Tenses of Truth

The bond of tears is the strongest bond of all.”
– William Barclay

You know what’s tough? Looking in the eyes of a 16 year-old girl who’s late-40-something father suddenly and unexpectedly died two days earlier.

Through the little pain in my own life I’ve learned that there are two tenses of truth. There is “Now” truth and “Then” truth. Today, at the funeral home viewing, I crossed paths with my departed friend’s little girl. Upon seeing me she came over and I sensed she expected me, as her pastor and her dad’s friend, to do something “preacherish”. I didn’t try to cheer her up and utter some scripture on heaven. That is “then” truth – stuff we need to hear, stuff that’s true but stuff that probably is better suited for another time and place. I definitely didn’t say, “Don’t be sad, your dad’s in a better place.” That would be just plain stupid.

I just looked her in the eyes, placed my hand on the back of her head and traced it down her hair maybe as her father would’ve done and began to cry (as she did). Through the tears I told her I was so sorry at what had happened and that I knew she missed her daddy. Then I simply hugged her.

I think that was “now” truth.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

The Epistle to the Romans 12:14 (ESV)

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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