By Elizabeth Prata
Internet trolls have been around for a long time. Well, at least as long as the internet, lol. Before that there were “nattering nabobs of negativism” as Vice President Spiro Agnew called the media, who were constantly critical of the Nixon Administration. Before that it was naysayers, and before that gadflies. There was even a troll in the Bible, the demon-possessed slave girl who followed Paul around shouting things constantly, disturbing his work and emotions. He became greatly annoyed. (Acts 16:16-18). Constant critics are part and parcel of the public life. And the internet is very public.
And that is what makes trolling so alluring to trolls, the immediate reaction they receive from their efforts. The most prized trolling behavior among these goblins is getting the hugest reaction they can by putting in the least effort. The less effort they put in compared to the biggest reaction they can receive is the golden ratio for these corrupt people.
I’ve noticed one thing through long observation, first as a newspaper woman for 6 years receiving letters to the editor and then as an observer of blog comments and now Twitter. These debauched defects have a facility with words. Whether lengthy or pithy, they possess a satan-inspired skill to say just the right thing at just the right moment in just the right way, for maximum, hurtful damage to their target.
I’ve been the target of many critics, naysayers, and trolls for years. But there is one particular troll I must award the taker of the cake. Her degeneracy is full tilt, and I mean topped up to the brim of the cup. I’ve been wounded by her words, turned to the Lord, and gone my way. Then more words, and more, with me over time becoming frustrated, upset, then full-blown angry.
Then one day all that changed.
There is a limit, a boundary, a line that most sane trolls do not cross. Though these unfortunate pagans run their mouth, speak ill, practice lawlessness, they have a conscience. It’s withered to the size of a raisin and just as dark, but it’s there.
This particular day, my evilly faithful troll said something about me that made me drop my mouth open. I was aghast. Stunned actually. It was a decisive moment. My mouth agape, I understood that she must have no conscience. She operates with impunity as if there is no God keeping track of every careless word. And her minions chimed in with worse things to say. Very bad.
She had gone beyond the bounds. She was in a wilderness landscape familiar to evil men and beasts. Stunted trees where the most raucous of crows and ravens perch, leering. Oppressive mist, black scudding clouds, parched and wilted vegetation, bony animals drooling and ravening. That is her landscape. A William Blake hellish landscape. That is her mind. Her and her minions.
I bow to William B. Yeats’ words here, his poem The Second Coming,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yes, the passionate intensity of the shameful fiends. That intensity never tires, does it. As John Bunyan said in Pilgrim’s Progress of the Man in the Iron Cage, “I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts” and that is what these shrews enjoy, runaway sin, careening down into an boiling abyss from which they will never escape.
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:17
I said it was a watershed moment for me. My anger dissipated at once. I thanked the Lord for showing me the utterly evil contaminated souls these trolls are, these particular trolls I’m speaking of. The Queen Troll and her minions.
Every human being operates on earth under His restraining grace. To varying degrees, the unsaved conduct their murky works in some sort of restraint. We all have a problem you see. We are all sinners. Unless the Lord intercedes, brings us to His Light, and reveals it to us so we repent, we stumble about in darkness. Eyes do not see. Ears do not hear. Sin abounds and more and more it mounts up to the limit in which God allows. See Job 1 where God put limits on satan in his work against Job.
We know in Romans 1:18-32 that God lifts His hand of restraint from some sinners, then lifts it again, then again. We have a problem you see. Even Christians who know of sin and personally experience sin and repent of sin- we really don’t know sin. We don’t comprehend the inky depths to which sin drags us. We underestimate its power… sin’s utter absence of any light, any good, anything favorable. Sin is not only crouching at the door waiting to have us, its putrefied claws are scratching at the door, laying hold of the handle, opening it a crack. Itd deceit!
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “TODAY,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)
Sin is so dark that even after being struck blind, the lust of the homosexuals at Lot’s door were unappeasable animals. Lust had rendered them into incoherent brutes in search of what would satisfy their perversion.
No, sin is powerful in its hideousness.
So why am I grateful?
I am grateful to the Lord for His patience. That he allows such unspeakable behavior for so long is a testament to His sovereign patience.
I am grateful for the test of my own talk, to withstand the temptation to speak back in ways that would give satan gleeful reasons to accurately accuse me.
I am grateful to personally witness what it is like when the Lord’s restraining grace is lifted from a person and they lay the reins against the neck and run pell mell into satan’s cauldron.
It seems likely that the bestial bevy of trolls, particularly THAT troll, has had the bonds of common, restraining grace removed from her soul, and THIS is what runaway sin looks like. The Lord is letting us see! And it is not even a millimeter forward on the scale of what is in us, all of us.
I am grateful the Lord is showing me, us, her targets and bystanders, just what sickening unrestrained sin looks like. We see by her behavior what we all are in the natural. Her depraved potential is being realized and her deepest desires are being revealed, as more and more of the common grace that surrounds her is whittled away from her with every keystroke.
What we see is what the world is becoming and what we would be without the Lord’s intervention. Restraint gone, her maniacally gleeful conflicts spurred by a degradation from which most of us are blessedly protected, are made plain for all to see. I’m grateful for the reminder that such could have been
And it is gross. No matter how gross sin is, no matter to what level a person has descended, without His restraining hand, it always becomes lower…worse…more corrupt. And so it was with her.
They continued to display their allegiance to satan this week with even worse speech against a dear brother and sister who were going through a grief laden walk. Thousands of people online were horrified at her words, her evil, the depths to which she swam. Did you ever notice that the word vile and the word evil are almost the same?
Oh, the patience of God in his dealings with such as her. Oh His patience with all of us. It is a miserable thing to hold onto sin, to pet it and carry it and think that is feels good to let it claw your mind to a point of soulless depravity.
Pity her. Pity them, all of them. And learn from her example sin’s power, sin’s evil, sin’s scope, and sin’s grip on a lost person. There but for the grace of God go I…
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in Yahweh, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in Yahweh and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
Sin’s deceitfulness, devotional