The truth helps people cope and deal with reality. A lie only prolongs change which in the end change will happen as change is inevitable. People who have to lie to themselves do so because they have such a pathetic and weak character that they are not even worth the truth. The truth no matter what saves peoples' lives and frees their minds. And a freed mind although costly is a heavenly experience.
Truth is better than lies for several reasons. I will acknowledge here that in some situations lies might be better than the truth, but there is always a chance that a lie will be discovered (even if it is not), and if discovered there is a chance that a lie will have worse consequences than the truth (even if the original lie when not discovered had better consequences than the truth).
I think the truth is better than lies because even if it is horrible or whatnot, when one knows the truth one can account for everything or almost everything in certain situations. They can look at the truth then decide the best way to move forward and/or the best course of action to take. Lies will at least somewhat compromise this process.
The truth also helps (some) people to eventually move on. It is my opinion that being told (for example) that your husband up and left you is better than clinging onto a false hope that he will eventually return (although in that case it is entirely possible he might).
The thing with lies is that they can get quickly out of hand if not managed and only told when absolutely necessary. When a person tells a lie sometimes it becomes necessary to tell another lie so that the original lie is still relevant and appears as though it is the truth. This does not happen with the truth in the fact that it is the truth and as such further truths are not needed to be told in order to back it up/make it appear as though it is the truth (usually).
It also depends on what you call a 'bitter truth' and a 'sweet lie'. A sweet lie to a woman might be that their husband is not a murder when in fact he is. As such it is hard to argue (at least I would like to think so) that the sweeter lie here is better than the bitterer truth, especially if this were to occur in court. This would be because not only would the woman be living with a murder (which would be dangerous if he were even contemplating the idea of killing her, etc.), but justice is not upheld, the murder is not punished, safety is not maintained in society because there is always the possibility that he could kill again, etc.
The other issue is that if you tell the 'sweet lie' to a kid for example that their grandmother just went away to another country instead of the 'bitter truth' that they died, if and when the kid find out you lied, especially if you are their parent, then there is the whole issue of betrayal and the kid may even question whether or not they could trust you, etc.
Anyone who has read and understood Shakespeare's 'Othello' would also know of the consequences some lies can have. So all in all, the truth is better than a lie (mostly).
One argument put up was that "the truth saves lies don't". So essentially it doesn't matter the situation, telling the truth will always be the best course of action. Human beings are designed to lie, even when we don't realise it we lie about something. Some times truths can be just as damaging if not worse than lies. Would you tell the truth if it meant starting a war and guarantee the death of millions or would you lie and potentially save them? Our very society is based on lies and hiding things. Just look at people with inhibition disorders. I'm not saying that people should start using that as an excuse to lie their pants off, but the fact is that if everyone told 100% of the truth 100% of the time, our way of life, would cease to function and chaos would ensue