When Bad Isn’t Wrong

Comments 10


I probably won’t ever murder anyone.

I feel really confident saying that. It’s not in my heart to hurt people, animals, or even things. In fact, I get enormous satisfaction out of helping people and making them feel good—so much so that I sometimes feel selfish about the immensely gratifying feelings I feel when performing selfless acts.

I say “probably won’t ever murder,” because maybe I’ll suffer really bad head trauma one day and lose all my memory and identity and reemerge as a murderous shithole. If that ever happens, I hope someone will remember me like I am now.

Assuming I keep my sense of self for the remainder of my life, all living things that aren’t big-ass spiders in my house should feel totally safe with me.

But, What If?

What if…

I caught someone trying to seriously harm my son?

And I had my finger on the Live or Die button?


What if…

I had to determine the fate of masked men intent on beheading a bunch of innocent people they abducted?


What if…

Someone was trying to hurt school children?

Commit violent rape?

Invade some family’s home?

Set off a bomb?

Shoot up a public place?


All of them.

I have immense faith in my sense of right and wrong. That my justice scale is calibrated in a way that promotes good and condemns evil.

I believe in a God that commands: Thou shall not kill.

And still—STILL—I have enormous faith that I have the moral green light to stop those evils from happening with deadly force, if necessary.

Killing is bad. Horrible.

But it’s not always wrong.

‘…my fault my father raped me…’

“Hey Matt! Why are you writing about this shit on Easter!?”

Because a woman named Deborah wrote this to me a couple hours ago and made my heart hurt in a profound way:

“Matt, please keep writing. I just happened to come across your blog when I Googled why my husband treats me like shit. Finding your blog was a miracle and yesterday after my husband called me everything but a child of God and told me that he was not giving up porn and wanted to be roommates, I found your letters. I do not know what I am going to do or what my future looks like but the way he has treated me for the last 8 years has made me want to go sign in at the mental clinic. I am to be a schoolteacher, so that cannot happen. I went back to school because I relocated to be with him and found that I had to change careers. I have no friends at all since being here because I cannot leave the house and he chooses to not to have me with him. I am not fat or ugly. I try to talk to him but he is totally indifferent. Trying to explain how I feel, according to him, is fussing and he wants out because I try to express to him in a calm way everything you have said in your blogs but it always results in him calling me a bitch and that it is my fault my father raped me when I was a child and that I enjoyed it. He gets in my face and screams and has headbutted me, poured water over my head in public and says when we are out in grocery store / public that he wants to f every woman he sees. He would also rather masturbate to tranny porn than be with me. :(…..I do think it is time for me to leave. Thank you for showing me that there are some men out there who are kind and considerate.”

In an emotional move that proves my heart is devoid of the requisite amount of Jesus, I wished insta-death on that man as soon as I read Deborah’s note. I encouraged her to leave him in my reply, and as far as I can remember, it is the first time I have ever encouraged someone to end a marriage.

Because, fuck that guy.

Fuck. That. Guy.

If I hear you tell your wife it’s her fault her father raped her and that she’s a stupid bitch who enjoyed it and then you headbutt her, I will have zero qualms about bashing your skull with the nearest swingable object.

It’s BAD to swing dangerous objects at people’s skulls. Really bad. I don’t want to do it.

But in this case? I don’t think it’s wrong.

I hope anyone reading who prays will pray for Deborah. That she has the courage and resolve to safely remove herself from that prison.

I’ve written so much about fighting for marriage. About doing the hard thing. About sacrificing wants and needs for the greater good when the situation calls for it.

And I believe all of that.

Two years ago when my wife left and all I wanted was for our relationship to heal, I might have never typed something like that.

I guess I don’t know.

God knows I don’t want families to break, nor marriages to fall apart. But today, more than ever, I believe we should identify that line. That place where boundaries were so violated that, while we can forgive someday, we’re not going to forget.

Where we realize: It’s time to leave.

We should always try to do good. To be on the side of righteousness. And I guess today, it dawned on me in a very specific way that doing something “bad” can be righteous. It doesn’t make it good. It just makes it necessary.

The key is knowing the difference.

On a Lighter Note

In a move that showcases my breadth of “talent,” I created a short comic strip about Easter one year ago.

I read it again, and it made me laugh, so maybe some of you will like it too.

You can see that masterpiece here.

10 thoughts on “When Bad Isn’t Wrong”

  1. Still wonder why today I tend towards the MGTOW side of the ledger? Read that letter from Deborah again, only reverse the genders. I’ve been the victim of domestic violence, same as Deborah is now— and I can tell you straight it’s no good trying to save a marriage like that. It can be harder for a man to escape than for a woman– there ARE support systems for women that need help, not so much for men. Still, it takes an ENORMOUS amount of courage for a victim to escape, and prayer for her is in order. I’ve escaped my living hell, it can be done– but it’s sure not easy.

  2. I don’t think that line can be identified, it’s all grey & foggy. In cases like Deborah’s it’s beyond clear but even then it can be difficult to see that when you’re in the middle of it.
    And, happy Easter.

  3. I think too many people judge others for drawing their own line on when enough is enough. A lot of us who have been in longstanding abusive relationships, I am learning, never really share the full extent of our reality. Part of it is shame. Part of it is that our idea of normal becomes so skewed we do not always recognize how abberant our life has become.

    I am coming to believe that in cases where it is obvious, yes, say to people to move on. But for me, I held back so much because of people’s trite, well-meaning marital advice. No one ever said to me, we will love you if you stay. We will love you if you leave. And honestly? Since no one really knows what passes behind the closed doors of a home, that is the only response you can make that leaves an opening for those of us in that hell to really be honest and free enough to explore where that line is.

    Rambling a bit, sorry! Appreciated the post.

    1. The more people I talk to, the more often I hear that same story.

      I agree very much with what you’ve written here. Thank you for doing so.

  4. What jumped out at me was that sometimes – really, really rarely- taking a life can be justified as the only thing you could do. But cheating, rape and domestic violence cannot say the same. There really are *no excuses* for those. Not ever. And yet I have read so many people (cheaters, obviously) say “but what s/he did was not that bad”. Um, yes, it was. In many ways it was worse than killing someone, because there is no defence. None.

  5. Almost like if a father goes to jail for punching his daughters boyfriend for hurting his daughter… is it really truly a bad thing? When all he was doing was showing love for his daughter, because some asshole boyfriend broke her heart or hurt her physically… There comes a fine line between “right and wrong” but when love or even just an act of kindness is involved it’s different….

    I’ve always admired men who protect their daughters or wives from assholes, or brothers who protect their sister etc. It just makes a girl feel safe and truly loved.. At least that’s how I would personally feel.

  6. I am grateful you have never been put in a position to know without a shadow of a doubt, that you could kill someone in an instant, without thought and suffer no remorse for it, for it means your child’s life has never been threatened by someone’s actions. In that moment, you will understand the most perfect rage and clarity of thought that it changes who you forever. It’s primitive. It’s visceral.

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