The Spirit of Lawlessness

In these days many people are making a public statement against racism. Along those lines I’d like to repeat a thought from my very first blog article a couple of years ago saying that anybody who believes in the superiority of one race above another believes in a lie. Or to frame it in a more religious language: Racism is a sin. Interestingly though, there is another definition of sin made by the Apostle John that has some relevance here: “Sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4) Or one could say: Lawlessness is sin. To stay a bit in the religious context of lawlessness, there are a few more statements about it: Jesus sees lawlessness as a characteristic of the end times when it will multiply while the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). The Apostle Paul calls the Antichrist a “man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9). The here mentioned lawlessness was coming to action in all the looting, violence and destruction during the recent protests against racism. Not only did these acts of lawlessness themselves appear to be very destructive but also the statements of John, Jesus and Paul about lawlessness are giving it an evil, unmoral character – it’s not seen at all as something permissible or as a necessary step on the way to something better.

The amount of looting and destruction seems to have entered new dimensions, but what really lifts it to a new level is the attitude of lawlessness not only found in ordinary people but in the government and governmental offices itself. The government is supposed to fight lawlessness, to execute the law. Unfortunately what one could see in the aftermath of these riots is that not only protesters, journalists, politicians, and celebrities relativized, belittled, or even openly encouraged these criminal acts but also governors and mayors tolerated and showed their understanding for it. Some politicians in governmental offices and their allies went so far as to bail out arrested protestors or raise funds for the bail. Others want to defund or even abandon law enforcement. What’s the result when you don’t enforce the law anymore? Lawlessness, of course. The problem, especially with the government promoting lawlessness instead of fighting it, is that people get a general feeling that laws need not to be observed anymore in any area; thus, lawlessness will multiply. So a whole sense, an attitude or a spirit of lawlessness establishes itself in the society – this spirit is surely not from God. It is surely not good.

But also every individual who supports any kind of movement that is tolerating or encouraging violence, looting and other criminal acts comes into agreement with lawlessness. Words have power. Agreements have power. By coming into an agreement with acts of lawlessness the spirit of lawlessness is empowered within the society. Or to use the religious language again: Sin is empowered in the society. Is that the goal? Is that the new normal?