Dear Christians, Don't Turn Into a "Troll"

Internet trolls & disagreements with other Christians & insights from Scripture.

Have you ever encountered an "internet troll"?
Trolls intentionally write repetitious comments that are rude, arrogant, aggressive, accusatory, and sometimes profane.(1)

You quickly learn that they are not interested in open discussion. They simply want to accuse, mock, and disagree.

Psychologists have different views about the cause of troll behavior, but they agree that trolls are typically bored and angry people who get a sick enjoyment and a feeling of power from leaving repetitive rude comments. (source)

They're like the fools mentioned in Proverbs 26:4 who shouldn't be answered.(2)

Most Christians are wise and gracious when they disagree, but it's easy to slip into bad habits if we're not careful. This happens when we focus on non-essential denominational doctrines more than on Christ. It happens when we comment before understanding what's said or written (Proverbs 18:13). And it happens if we start attacking those who disagree instead of sticking to the subject (Ad Hominem Disagreement).

Psychologists may not fully understand the behavior of trolls, but God explains the real reason for rudeness of any kind:

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks...The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”  Matthew 12:34-35

Let's think about this passage whenever we speak, especially when disagreeing with someone. 


Internet trolls & disagreements with other Christians & insights from Scripture.This collection of 1-minute devotions can be helpful: Christian Speech.


(1) I'm not sure how trolls (fictional Scandinavian cave-dwellers) got such a bad rap, but Webster defines internet trolls as those who "antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content." 

Typically, the trolls commenting on Bible Love Notes devotions are what I call evangelistic atheists. But their rudeness will never win them converts. They actually highlight the weakness of their unbelief.

See God Can Even Use Proud Fools.  

(2) See A Foolish Contradiction.

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  1. The word troll in this application comes from a method of fishing. Trolling is pulling a lure or bait behind a slowly moving boat. Internet trolls are trying to see who they can get a rise out of, who will take the bait. The Scandinavian troll adds more depth of meaning.