It is common to hear people play truth and love off against one another. Some argue that truth is all that matters. Others argue that love is the only thing that counts.
In the early Christian tradition, however, truth and love are described as necessary and complementary. The reason is clear: Truth without love can be cruel, overbearing, and judgmental. Love in the absence of truth is flaccid and degenerates all to easily into condescension and pity. Without truth, we run the risk of loving one another into a life that is beneath us.
Put another way, truth (at its best) loves.
I have watched people over the years forget this. When they do, they defend their right to their opinion; they deliver messages, they are incapable of conversation; and what they know — even if they are right from time to time — is on display. That kind of truth is easily corrupted. It is truth that is capable of stunning arrogance and pride. It is the kind of truth that kills.
Truth that loves is marked by humility. When it is spoken it is offered, clearly and in a forthright way, but never with the intention to hurt or control.
It is a difficult balance to achieve and no one achieves that balance every time. But the flight from truth into love without a truth is not the solution.
Truth loves and love must speak the truth.