There is a difficult but very important task for us whenever we deal with disagreements about important things. For me, at least, I am having to work hard in life to try to understand and practice well this balance between truth and love. I am not always as successful as I should be.
Whenever I face a matter of disagreement with someone in which I feel strongly that there is wrong involved, I am very keen to make the “truth” side of things very plainly known. I feel that I am responsible to help my friend see his wrong and do better. I do not want to compromise the truth.
And that is good, so far as it goes. In fact, it is very important, and far too often in our day, I fear, this element of making the truth known in a time when wrong is being done is overlooked. We are too slow to bear witness to the truth in such circumstances, I think.
However, my sensitivity to this side of things can also lead me too often to have a hard callousness towards the important other side of the picture: loving relationship. It is not enough (nor is it right) to bear witness to the truth in a cold and hard way that lacks compassion. We have to realize also the importance of a loving relationship with the person whom we are addressing. For me, I often err by thinking primarily in terms of truth and not enough in terms of the loving relationship. I end up having success, perhaps, in demonstrating my opinion of what is right and true, but I do so in such a way as to make the other person not have as much openness to hear it as they should. I put them off with my cold harshness, at times.
While it does not remove the fact of what is right, nor the obligation of the other party to hear and accept the right, yet still I remain much at fault if I put stumbling blocks in the way of the other person that make it harder for him to hear me because I have not been as kind, compassionate, and loving as I ought to be. I am learning more and more the importance of this fact.
In the end, I think it is certainly true that both sides are equally important and necessary in any matter of disagreement or dealing with wrong. We must not fall into the common error of ignoring wrongs for the sake of peace. But we must also remember deeply that love and compassion must be the guiding principles of any effort we make to correct another. It is so important to learn these two sides of the picture in their proper relation.