Trolling for a Thrill . . .
I John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
I love looking at the context of famous Bible verses. The above verse is the one that precedes the one I use so often (“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen”). The verse on idols ends the book of 1 John.
What a wonder it is to realize that the true God has given us true life when we received His Son Jesus Christ. We know Him and are in Him! What a wonder!
As you have seen in the first three weeks of this blog, I feel called to look at the true life God gives us through His Word and His Son and to contrast it with some of the idols we embrace in this life. I hope to gently challenge us, all of us, to realize when we are holding onto an idol (which we all do at some point) and to lay it down, in order to fully embrace our Saviour and His love.
I will always go unabashedly to the idea that we humans are messy creatures. In Christ, we have been saved from sin, but we are all still works in progress. And, because of that, when we try to live in community, we often step on each other’s toes. It is these ways of stepping on each other, many of them based on our own personal idolatries, that I hope to look at sometimes. That can be helpful to all of us.
I was thinking this week of something that happens a lot on-line, both in anonymous venues and even on Facebook. There is the phenomenon called “trolling” which has been defined as someone putting up a status or a statement that is meant to incite angry words between people.
Trolling is probably the on-line equivalent of “being an instigator.”
They say that the most skilled trolls (and real-life instigators) even get to where they can throw their “word grenade” into a crowd of people and get them at each other’s throats without anyone even realizing who originally started the fight! These folks can end up watching a fight at the sidelines, with total innocence written on their faces, and with no one suspecting they lobbed the first verbal projectile into the crowd (they may have done it in a whisper to one of the people who later erupted in argument).
I am not sure why people would choose the thrill of stirring people up into argument over the true thrill of life in the Son of God, but it does happen and it even involves Christians sometimes. Maybe they haven’t yet realized all they have in Christ, so they look for vicarious thrills elsewhere.
I guess there is always the idea of self-righteously looking at the people who are quarreling and feeling that we are somehow better than them (even if we instigated the argument). That might help someone’s sagging spirits sometime, I suppose.
I will strive to be gentle in this blog. I have to admit that I too have become addicted to the level of sarcasm that surrounds us today, but I will strive to apply sarcasm only to myself. I realize that sarcasm, directed at a person, never changes his mind. And it can cut like a knife.
Finally, if I bring up an issue, I really do intend to listen to your comments on it, even when you disagree with me. I don’t know everything and I learn in community, as we all do.
I think that there are few things as silly as putting up a Facebook status to invite comment, then deleting everyone’s comments that disagree with my position. To me, it seems that putting a post out there means we are prepared to hear what others will say about it, pro and con.
I especially don’t agree with putting up a political comment, or some other controversy, then accusing people who disagree with me of “attacking me.” If I wave a red flag, I should not be surprised when the bull comes. And it is disingenuous for me to then tell the farmer his bull attacked me!
All that to say, I am enjoying this blog and I hope you are, too. Some of you have engaged in the conversation and I hope even more of you will. God’s Word is infallible. I am not.