Johnson: The Sin of Vigilantism

“Vigilantism is different than love of neighbor. God has of course given us the means and mandate to defend ourselves. A person is supposed to protect their family. A person is supposed to protect their neighbor. If you see your neighbor being attacked, you have the right (and biblical mandate) to intervene to protect them while the police are summoned. This protection can sometimes reasonably involve lethal force.

But don’t confuse that kind of love for neighbor with a group of men arming themselves and chasing down a possible suspect in a non-violent crime through the streets. That is not neighborhood watch, and it is not love of neighbor.

Romans 13:4 says that Christians should honor God by honoring government, and particularly the government’s role in bearing the sword to punish wrong doers. The vigilante disrespects God by disrespecting the government God has established, and Arbery’s death demonstrates the consequences of that kind of sin. All murder involves the disdain of human life. Killing someone (or cornering a non-violent criminal with guns, making their killing likely) add another level of wrong. It shows not only a disdain for human life, but a disdain for justice itself.

Sin is so perverted that it often ironically destroys what it alleges to pursue. The glutton destroys love of food, the drunkard destroys joy from alcohol. Lust destroys love.

And vigilantism destroys justice.”

-Jesse Johnson, read his entire post here:

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