Beware Of Trolls

Last week one of the British newspapers discussed the problem of “trolls,” people who use the internet to provoke or demean other people. Most of those who do so use a pseudonym or “handle” which disguises their true identity. The problem has become widespread and in some cases deadly.

The word “troll” is internet slang which describes inflammatory and abusive behavior. No one really knows how the word came to be used, though my favorite idea is that of fishing. The provacateur “trolls” or casts bait to catch someone.

Interestingly, the Bible uses this kind of descriptive behavior to describe the tongue. This is a real problem. The Apostle James says “every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue–a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7-8).

How do we solve the problem of “trolling?” Or, for that matter, how do we solve the problem of abusive and insulting speech? How do we use our language to bless and not to curse (James 3:9-12)?

We need to teach our children to use speech in the way God desires. My grandmother refused to let her children use the word “stupid.” While that seems strange today, it is not strange at all in the context of Scripture. Jesus demanded the members of His kingdom treat others with dignity, respect, and love. He said those “who insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:22). My grandmother obviously knew what she spoke about.

We need to submit all of our language (spoken and written) to God. While we may not be able to tame our tongues, God is fully able to change sinful people and sinful behavior.

I have found anything I give to God changes for the better.

May you and I submit all of the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts to our God who desires to conform us to His own image.

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3 Responses

  1. I constantly have to check myself to be sure I am following the advice you so aptly quote from Scripture. Provoking a response is the job of a Preacher, or so I was taught. Demeaning is another issue all together. As I am reminded, the people of Christ’s home town may have labeled him a Troll when He closed the scroll of Isaiah or by the Priests of the Temple, etc. Then there was that meddlesome John the Baptist, one can see the results of his outlandish remarks challenging “Authority,” calling it like he saw it. Or, pick a prophet, each had an interesting story and challenge. Don’t you just love Jonah, so reluctantly obedient. And to think, God could love those terrible people, too. It just isn’t fair. Hmmm… God created him, male and female created He them. They were created to have relationship with Him as were their offspring, all of them. A nation of priests thus He made. Where did those pesky Ninevehites come from again?

    It is so important to be like-minded in Christ and mutually accountable in His Bride. Your point is well taken. Thank you so much!

    Trolling is rather like being a fisher of men. Never to be demeaning but instructing in Righteousness. AMEN?


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