// Last night at the INN, Willow talked about the incredibly delicate and difficult balance between truth and love. When it comes to our relationships with other people, we can often find ourselves drawn to one or the other:
“Excessive Love w/o Truth” - We watch our friends and family make destructive choices and slowly dig a hole for themselves, all under the idea of “who am I to judge.” We think our job is to be there when they come home, listen when they ask, and let them make their own decisions because we love them. Who are we to tell someone that what they’re doing is wrong?
“Excessive Truth w/o Love” - From a distant position of authority, we proclaim truth into situations where we’re not welcome. We are seen as putting ourselves on a pedestal of rightness, pointing down at the world around us, caring more about upholding “what’s right” than the people involved.
But God calls us to remain in the middle, one hand on his powerful, life-changing truth and the other on his unending, undeniable love of all people in this world. Paul, the writer of the book of Ephesians, understood this idea, saying in chapter 4:
…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
In Willow’s talk, she gave the image of a table. We are neither called to crawl under the table in fear of upsetting the world, nor are we called to stand on the table, yelling down vitriolic, unloving statements of truth. Rather we are called to sit down at the table, face to face in our relationships, facing the issues the people we love face, speaking into situations that require speaking into. Because, above all, people matter. So we strive to love deeply with a love that says, “I care about who you are and what you do.”
Where have you landed on the sliding scale between “excessive love without truth” and “excessive truth without love”?
What scares you most about remaining in the middle?
How can you practice this in your current relationships?
(For further reading on this idea, look at the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel, chapter 11, especially the role of the prophet Nathan in response to David’s actions. His position in David’s life as the loving truth-teller leads David to write Psalm 51.)