St. Helen’s Bishopsgate has an article offering a Christian response to the chaos and violence of the riots in London. It is an excellent treatment of the subject and a wonderful example of a proper Christian response to these sorts of things.
An excerpt below:
- The riots aren’t a sign of the absence of justice, but actually the presence of justice. Romans 1:28-32 shows that being given over to sin is actually an act of God’s judgement on a society that rejects Him. When these kind of things happen we often think that God doesn’t care, however Scripture clearly says that this is a sign of God caring deeply. It’s a sign of God’s anger and judgement on a nation that hates him.
- Those most enraged by the injustice can be equally guilty of it. Romans 2:1 zooms in on the most self righteous of people, the ones who pass judgement on others. However the passage is a warning that those who pass judgement are, in God’s eyes, guilty of the same thing. Maybe those who are passing judgement weren’t involved in the riots, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same materialistic heart as those who were looting shops. Those who are passing judgement may not have been out on the street committing crimes on Monday, but what is their heart attitude when they aren’t being watched? Do they try and get away with stuff in a similar way. Those passing judgement could have been tucked up safely in bed as London burned, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same materialistic lusts, guilt and desires in their hearts.
- Those who have got away with it won’t get away from it. People may not be spotted on the various CCTV cameras, or maybe won’t receive a punishment because of a justice system under such strain. Romans 2:5 points to a day of judgement that lies beyond the police reports and magistrates courts. A day when God’s right judgement will be revealed, a day when everyone will get exactly what they deserve.
- It’s ok to want vengeance, but trust it to God. As we see peoples livelihoods, homes and even lives taken it’s easy to want to pick up a scaffolding pole and take revenge. The bible doesn’t pretend that paying people back doesn’t matter, instead Romans 12:14 and 17-19 shows that God will pay people back and that we need to trust in him to do that.
- God has appointed police and courts to administer his justice. Romans 13:1-4 shows that God is the one who has established our authorities as his servants to ensure justice is done. Let’s pray that we remember these things ourselves and remind others of them, as we speak the truth in love