For years, many people thought “trolls” were mythical, burly creatures who lived under bridges.
But in a book about the internet, Toni Birdsong and Tami Heim offer another modern definition. Trolls are “people who repeatedly post negative comments on blogs and social networks.”
Like a burly creature under a bridge, their goal is to drag you down!
The reason I say this is because more and more of us are spending time online. And it’s so easy to get sucked in to a word-war with trolls whose seedy purpose seems is to reach out from under their invisible bridge and instigate, annoy, enrage, and generally stir the proverbial pot.
Don’t let them!
Last week it almost happened to me. A friend put out a spiritual question, and so I put in my two cents. An hour later some random guy was criticizing me and accusing me of saying things I didn’t actually say.
My first instinct was to firmly defend myself and highlight his ignorance. And perhaps there’s a time for that in certain situations.
But this was not one of those times. So I let it go. I realized there was no point. A troll doesn’t want thoughtful conversation. He or she just wants to throw some mud, chuckle, and move on to the next victim.
When you allow trolls to impact your time online, you’re letting them into your personal time, work time, family time, home, and brain. And that’s exactly what they want.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul says his readers should “encourage one another and build each other up.” Why not bring that same attitude to who you are online (and to how you reply to others).
Some trolls are strangers. Some are people you know who just want to give you an invisible poke. No matter who they are, don’t let them control you.
Life is short, and you only have a limited amount of time to glorify God and help Jesus renovate the world with his truth and love.
By Matthew Ruttan