|10 February 2017|
|Are Truth and Love Compatible?|
We live in a society that behaves as though truth and love are incompatible. Those who would err on the side of love may even prefer to manipulate the truth to avoid offending others. We may even excuse such actions as evidence of neighborly love. Why?
According to Vince Vitale of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries:
We are afraid of truth. Truth has so often been abused that experience has taught us the trajectory of truth—the trajectory of believing you are right and others are wrong—is from truth to disagreement to devaluing to intolerance to extremism to violence to terrorism.
And if that is the trajectory, then those committed to truth are in fact terrorists in the making. If that is the trajectory, then truth is an act of war, and an act of war leaves you with only two options: fight or flee.
Some people today prefer the latter option, in the name of coexistence, acceptance, or tolerance. Over the past couple generations, our society has increasingly found ways to evade conflict– and we are encouraged to evade it.
We spend most of our time on Facebook and Twitter where we can “like” and “retweet” but there is no option to “dislike.” Sports no longer teach us how to disagree. In professional sports, we replay every call to avoid disagreement. In youth sports, we don’t keep score and everyone gets a trophy.
When it comes to dating, we use online sites that “match” us with someone so similar in beliefs, background, and personality that as much disagreement as possible is avoided. We no longer meet people different from us at coffee shops because we go to drive-thru Starbucks. We no longer meet people while shopping because everything we could ever need or want is delivered to our door. Culturally, everything around us is set up to avoid disagreement.
However, those who choose to confront conflict are not in a better position. Since there are little- to no outlets to openly communicate differences, those who decide to defend truth are left to spout their thought and opinions into the abyss of modern “communication”. In turn, this has no effect other than to either offend whatever party already opposes them, or to concur with those who already agree with them.
As hopeless as this may appear, we need to step back and look at the greater picture. Consider this: what if our love for our fellow man and the clarity of truth were never meant to be separated from each other? As Vitale notes:
Maybe there’s another way. Jesus disagreed with us. His very coming was an act of disagreement with us—a statement that we require saving because our lives have disagreed so badly with what God intended for them.
But Jesus’s loving sacrifice for us was the very content of his disagreement; it was his very statement that we are sinners in need of a savior. God cut the link between disagreement and devaluing by making His communication of Truth one and the same as His communication of Love.
Not ‘Truth is greater than Love.’ Not ‘Love is greater than Truth.’ “God is love” (1John 4:8), and God is Truth (John 14:6). And therefore Love is Truth.
In the end, neither fight nor flight should be our choice: truth is not a war, and love does not override the power of truth. Instead, truth and love are meant to go hand-in-hand; in Jesus Christ they are one and the same. God is fully Love and fully Truth. As Vitale succinctly summarized:
Let us remember which wooden Cross we are trusting in. And let us remember that Love that is not Truth is not Love, and Truth that is not Love is not Truth.