On paper, there is no conundrum reconciling truth and love. Parenting, however, has for me proven to bring to light the constant seesaw of the two values. On one hand, I want my children to be happy and feel blissfully loved. On the other, I desire for them to have character and a love for God and others. Unfortunately, these two desires seem to bring me to a dilemma far more often than I would like to admit.
Even the best circumstances — a beautiful day at the beach, let’s say — often ends with the eternal struggle. Do I address the rude tone or just let it slide and not ruin the peaceful mood? Do I calmly discuss why we need to not tease one another, for what feels like the hundredth time or do I pretend like I didn’t hear it?
The struggle really comes down to what love and truth really are. If I am perceiving love as doing something nice for my children, or buying them something, is that really love? Maybe it really comes down to my laziness. It’s easier to placate myself and believe love is a sense of calmness and peace, thereby letting the truth slide. The other side of the struggle comes in balancing truth with love. Letting words rip out of my mouth when I’m upset, justifying my outburst as truth can still result in hurt feelings of the hearer.
When truth and love run parallel to each other, truth can become harsh, cold and hurtful. Love can become a warm fuzzy feeling, all accepting, eager not to offend. Since parallel lines continue forever without intersecting, it’s easy to land on one side of truth or love. The difficult part is finding that perfect intersection, the balance of truth and love.
How can truth and love find a perfect balance? 1 Cor. 13:4-7 sums it up well. “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Instead of working independently, love needs to be intertwined with truth. Love rejoices with truth, working together in unity. They are not two opposing forces but one beautiful song in perfect harmony.
When I’m facing the decision on how to handle a situation with my children, I’m going to try and remember that even though it might not be the fun or easy answer, I need to love with a true love, one that rejoices with truth.
God, I need your help today. It’s so easy for me to be out of balance. I want to love with a love that is patient and kind, not thinking of myself first. I want truth to permeate every pore of my being and as a result, love to ooze out of me. May I have true love, pure love, selfless love, not a love tainted by my love for myself. The perfect balance of love and truth was your gift of eternal life. Our sins demand judgment (truth) and you gave your life me that requirement for us (love). What amazing love! Let my life be just a glimpse of that love to those around me. In Jesus Name, Amen.