The truth about trolls

I just read a really interesting article about trolls.

Pete Evans | 07:30, Friday, 23 March 2012

TrollsNot the imaginary kind, or even the grotesque toys that for some reason became fashionable during the 70s, 80s and 90s – if you had one, what were you thinking? – but rather the type that lurk on the internet.

If you are unaware of internet trolling then allow me to explain; an internet 'troll' is someone who makes a habit of anonymously posting offensive comments about people on a public forum. Celebrities get it a lot, but it’s not just the famous that are affected. 'Trolls' turn up to cause pain and offense anywhere, such as sites set up in memory of a loved one.

Perhaps ... these forums expose a dreadful truth about human nature. Could it be that deep, deep down, we just aren't very nice?

Richard Bacon, a presenter on Radio 5-Live and a victim of 'trolls' recently wrote a blog on this, but it was his thoughts on the wider issue of our human nature that struck me most powerfully. He wrote;

Does the net exaggerate our views, or are these views that people really hold? Either way, perhaps we can comfort ourselves with the idea that they are a tiny but vocal minority.

Or maybe this is what we are really like. Perhaps our day-to-day social interactions are the artifice, and these forums expose a dreadful truth about human nature. Could it be that deep, deep down, we just aren't very nice?

The more we examine the human heart, the more we start to wonder – is the truth that actually all of us just aren't very nice? The Bible has a lot to say on this subject, but perhaps nowhere so clearly as Romans 3, where the apostle Paul writes;

"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

God’s assessment is breath-taking in its severity and its scope; no one is righteous, no one does good, we have all become worthless.

Ouch. But even as we start to form in our minds the defence regarding the fact that you have never written anything offensive on an internet forum, consider this: how often do you act like a troll in the forum of your heart? How often have you thought badly about someone, even if you never revealed it in public?

We need to wake up to the fact that all of us, not just the 'tiny but vocal minority', are guilty of trolling. Only then will we be able to appreciate the glory of the words that follow God’s judgement in Romans 3:23-24;

"…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."


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