UPDATE: In reply to this post, insanitybytes22 just posted Let’s Talk About “FEELINGS VERSUS AN OBJECTIVE STANDARD”. Thoughtful post! Hopefully, so is my comment. Please check it out.

Now on to this post as I originally published it.

When I read So, Self Righteousness is Really Not The “Moral High Ground…” by insanitybytes22 I just sighed. I don’t enjoy disagreeing with insanitybytes22, but it is going to happen.

What is insanitybytes22‘s post about? It is a review of The Moral High Ground of Free Grace by Pastor . Apparently, Wilson’s post left insanitybytes22 burning with considerable righteous indignation. So she tore into Wilson quite vigorously.

OUCH!!!!! is the feeling I got when I read insanitybytes22‘s post. Here is a sample.

Here is how I see it. When people around you are hurting, when your brothers and sisters in Christ are trying to tell you there’s a problem, there really is a problem. The problem in this case is cloaking what basically amounts to outright racism hidden behind conservative values and proclamations that, “I am a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Is Wilson promoting racism? Don’t think so. Seems to me he is promoting facts over feelings. Here is a sample from his post.

Racial reconciliation requires an objective standard. Someone proposes that we should all get along, and someone else will ask (or should ask) “by what standard?” What do you mean by “getting along?” There are currently two main competing standards operating in our world, and those standards are the subjective feelings of our designated victims du jour, on the one hand, and the absolute standard of God’s holy will, as revealed to us through Scripture, natural law, and conscience, on the other.

So I left a comment here, and insanitybytes22 responded here.

Since I fashion myself as someone with an objective, analytical mind (Don’t we all believe lies about ourselves? ), I went looking for what insanitybytes22‘s and Wilson’s posts have in common. What question are both these people trying to answer? Here is what I came up with.


We are all different. So we all see the world around us from different points of view, insanitybytes22 and Wilson have different ideas about justice. Wilson points to his interpretation of scripture.

insanitybytes22 emphasizes empathy, putting ourselves in the shoes of the “victims”.

Is there a middle ground between these two views that we should all seek? Perhaps. I suspect that if these two people would set aside their passions for a moment they could both agree.

Consider this distinction.

  • Our government administers justice by enforcing just laws. Wilson, I think, is focused on the administration of justice.
  • When someone is just, that is a personal virtue. I believe insanitybytes22 is focused on being just.

The administration of justice and being a just person requires different levels of empathy from us.

Imagine being a judge in a court room. Here we have the obligation to focus on the facts as objectively as a we can. We have the duty to enforce the law as written, not as we might wish it was written. As a judge it is not our place to be especially gracious or merciful to the people who come to our courtroom. Why?

  • Grace: Grace is receiving something we don’t deserve. As a judge, we would not have the right to give away what rightfully belongs to our fellow citizens. On the contrary, justice requires a judge to protect the rights and property of his fellow citizens so that they can determine how to exercise their rights and distribute their property.
  • Mercy: Mercy is not receiving the punishment we deserve. When a judge withholds punishment, he limits the deterrent effect of the law. Therefore, when a judge withholds punishment he puts his fellow citizens in greater danger.

Is there a place for grace and mercy among the just? As individuals and as members of voluntary associations, we have the right to be as gracious and merciful as we wish. As Christians we are suppose to love each other, empathize with each other’s feelings, and be as gracious and merciful to each other as we can.

Government, however, does not exist to ooze with empathy. Justices do not have the capacity to befriend and empathize with all the people who come to court, and that is not their job. Government is just a tool we use to administer justice as best we can. Government is just a tool we use to resolve conflicts that are so onerous we have no other way of resolving them.

This is why, I think, Wilson argues for an objective standard. As mere human beings we have to set our feelings aside and look to God for guidance.

Proverbs 28:25-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.

26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

Remember the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Why would Adam and Eve listen to a snake instead of God? Didn’t the snake say what their proud hearts wanted to hear? Didn’t the snake say they could be like God.

Nevertheless, insanitybytes22 is right to worry about the pharisaical behavior of some Christians. God has told us what He wants from us. Remember what He said to the Pharisees.

Matthew 12:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

The Pharisees cared what the Bible said, but Jesus said they erred in their understanding because of their hard hearts.

Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

How many of us trust in the Lord and lean fully upon Him for our understanding? The Apostle Paul said no one (Romans 3:9-20).

How do we trust in the Lord? We choose to love Him. Jesus requires agape love from us. That is, because He loved us first — because He is God — we must make the rational and logical choice to love Him in return. We must will ourselves to love Him, and our feelings will follow. We must put Him first in our lives. We must choose to obey His commands (John 14:15).


  1. Tom,

    Justice, hurting, grace, standards, morality, objectivity, etc. are all words to describe conditions that have existed since the beginning of time.

    We already have two objective standards to abide in life
    1. Laws of God
    2. Laws of Man

    The problem is getting people to read and heed these standards in their lives.

    What is really needed is people who choose to obey and practice in their lives both the Laws of Man and of God.

    Otherwise, their words are the same as fools who live their lives in a similar manner of life as an incoherent, confused, and rambling dream.

    What may be an interesting correlation is the people who actually achieve their dreams, or live their lives according to the above standards are probably the same low percentage of people who every year make the same New Year’s Resolution, in my opinion.

    As for justice, there never has been any nation in history that has achieved real justice for everyone in their society, in my opinion.

    If Interested


    Regards, goodwill bogging and Happy New Year

  2. insanitybytes22  has been quite consistent in considering an individual’s perception to be more important than objective truth.

    She said: “When people around you are hurting, when your brothers and sisters in Christ are trying to tell you there’s a problem, there really is a problem.”

    I agree there is a problem, but what standard do you use to determine what the problem is? The subjective “standard” of emotion, or the quantitative standard of God’s Word? In other words, how do we agree on determining the actual problem?

    There is no doubt that an individual’s perception is effectively their reality (that is, they believe it is the truth), and it needs to be recognized as such and treated accordingly. However, that does not mean said perception is, in fact, the truth. Consider, for example, the story of Chicken Little, who is hit on the head by an acorn and concludes, incorrectly, that the sky is falling. She tells others (false teaching) and they accept it as the truth (easily deceived). So far, no real harm has been done. However, in most versions of this story, Foxy Loxy takes advantage of the situation to eat some or all of those who believe Chicken Little.

    Let’s relate that to today’s #MeToo movement. The politically correct response to a #MeToo accusation is that we must accept that the claim is true, with no verification needed. Much harm can be done by responding accordingly. That is what I see in insanitybytes22‘s approach. She is far more concerned with the perception of an individual and seems to believe there is no danger inherent in such a response.

    Let’s instead follow the Biblical pattern of seeking verification before assigning guilt. That is, listen to the individual’s perception of harm (for example, racism), but verify that the charge is valid before taking action.

    1. @OKRickety

      That’s a good presentation of the issues involved with confusing an emotional with a factual assessment. Keep in mind, however, that we err if we make insanitybytes22 the issue. insanitybytes22 is not deliberately trying misrepresent Wilson’s position. She just made an emotional argument without sufficient facts to support what seems to be her contention. That, unfortunately, is a common mistake, one that is often validated by the powers that be.

      insanitybytes22 is a very smart and wise lady. Still, she did exactly what Wilson is complaining about. Instead of being guided by Biblical teachings, which she most certainly knows enough to do, she gave her feelings undisciplined free rein. Why? I don’t know the lady well enough to be certain, but from time to time we all need correction.

      In fairness to insanitybytes22 we also need to observe something important. The Bible focuses upon what we usually think of as an emotion, love. If God did not love us, He probably would not have created us, and He would not have wasted any effort with our salvation. Yet because of His love, He wrote the story of our redemption, a love story.

      Does that mean we should elevate love over reason? I don’t think so. That’s because agape love is a rational act. What then does it mean? I think it means what I think (or feel 😀) insanitybytes22 thinks it means. When we try to practice Biblical teachings without love and empathy for each other, we end up obeying all the commandments except the most important one, the command to love our God most of all, and our neighbors as we love our self.

      My guess is that what irks insanitybytes22 about Wilson is she perceives the rational man in Wilson’s writings, but she doesn’t see any love, just the facts. That is just a guess.

      I also think insanitybytes22 needs to remember there are plenty of people who express little love in their writings, especially guys. We don’t like getting mushy.

      These days there is a place for cold, hard, factual Bible exposition. Because God loves us, He hates our sins, and that is something we very much want to ignore.

      1. Tom,

        insanitybytes22  is not the issue, but considering emotion to trump reason (and she is the case in point). I make no apologies for choosing not to specifically point out that she is only one of many who emphasize emotion over reason. I thought it was obvious, especially when I referenced the inanity of the #MeToo movement’s insistence that all such claims be considered true with no verification needed.

        “Instead of being guided by Biblical teachings, which she most certainly knows enough to do, she gave her feelings undisciplined free rein. Why? I don’t know the lady well enough to be certain, but from time to time we all need correction.”

        insanitybytes22 said: “It is not that I do not understand the nature of the argument, it is that I totally disagree. I address this matter frequently on this very blog, so it should come as no surprise that I am going to just double down and continue to restate my case.”

        Her response to your correction was to “double down”. That, in addition to the dozens of her comments I have read, is sufficient for me to “know the lady well enough to be certain” about her thinking. My concern is that her blog posts will influence her followers to do the same, rather than finding a balance between reason and emotion.

        In 1 Corinthians 13, we find the idea that works, knowledge, and faith have no value if there is no love. However, that does not mean that emotions are of utmost importance. In fact, as you point out, love (agape) encompasses more than just emotion. We can look in Proverbs and find the idea that emotions such as anger can easily prevent us from reasoning and acting wisely. Balance is the key, but I don’t see that here in insanitybytes22.

        1. @OKRickety

          Understanding another person is difficult. I wonder if nuclear physics would be easier.

          When we try to understand another person, the difficulty is not readily apparent. I think that is because most of the interactions we have with others are relatively simple and superficial and with people who share our cultural context.

          What reveals the complexity of understanding another human being? I suppose there is not any one thing, but we spend a lot of effort on something we call conflict resolution. War often results from serious misunderstandings as well as just plain greed. Marriages break up because people “discover” they did not know the person they said they loved. Politics divides families. Sometimes that is because family members do not know how to explain their beliefs to each other. Sometimes they are simply offended a member of their family would believe something different. Yet in all such cases we can only guess what is going on in other people’s heads.

          So what’s my point? God made us all different, and it is not a sin to be different. That includes the difference between men and women.

          insanitybytes22 is a woman. As a woman I think it is part of her nature to value her feelings. Why? Well, there is a practical reason. Consider the patience required to raise children. To discover the patience she needs, a woman must love her children deeply. Otherwise, her children, utterly dependent and vulnerable when infants, will die.

          Are those who value their feelings less objective? Yes, but that is not the same as saying such people cannot have a firm grasp on reality. Again, consider the problem of raising children. Most mothers love their own children above all others. Still, when we are not honest about the nature and capabilities of our children, we cannot properly help them. Therefore, because of their feelings for their children, most mothers strive to be objective about their children for the sake of their children.

          So what my point? It is because it motivates us to seek the welfare of those we love that love covers a multitude of sins. Since love is the feeling insanitybytes22 most values, I don’t believe we need to worry about her being a bad influence.

  3. There is a lot to learn CTom in how believers can disagree yet still have the sweetest of fellowship.

    It’s amazing how we can all describe an elephant as if blindfolded, in relating different parts of the whole. You said as much when u ask: what is justice?

    Me? I specialize in wrinkles. lol. You covered a lot of ground here, much to chew on, and I hope they with differing opinions, and atheists too, see how we can swap ideas and sharpen our faith unto the glory of God.

        1. Think you are doing the Barnabas gig better than me. I am far to ready to debate just for the sake of discussion. Barnabas debated with Paul (and stood his ground) for the sake of Mark. Wish I picked my “debates” as well.

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