Ok. Its about to get a bit geeky in here. I'm unapologetically a gamer. That means that I spend hours playing a virtual character made in a digital world, but with the ease of social networking, team and social play is becoming a common occurrence in games. This commonality naturally progressed me to create my own group online, which we (the gamers) affectionately call a clan. I wanted my clan to serve only one purpose. It's mission statement if you will is, "to create an environment for awkward free gaming." The Xealot Collective is unashamedly, but not exclusively, a Christian clan. We welcome everyone, as long as they keep the f*ck bombs and colorful comments to a minimum.
But being a Christian online creates an interesting tension, especially within particular circles like reddit.com and bungie.net. We are prone to attract an interesting online subculture of users, which the internet has dubbed, trolls.
Trolls are funny. I see them come into Christian groups and forums and do what they do, and I always scratch my head wondering why? One thing is certain: most are spineless. They hide behind their anonymity. Imagine one of these guys walking into a church and start spreading that nonsense…you think they’ll walk out of there without getting their block knocked off? Not all of us are that peaceful, nor that holy. While we are imagining, what if Christians jumped into atheist forums and started spamming “J-E-S-U-S” or “Holy Spirit motherfucker”, posting pictures of Jesus walking on water, or starting calling everyone idiots for deciding something wasn't real without having even read the bible first. Seems ridiculous and humorous, no?
Heres the thing fellas: the world will always have trolls. We are always going to have people trying to knock down what you believe and what you stand for. It’s in our nature to be screwed up. Even believers that have the Holy Spirit in them, can’t stop hating, sinning, and screwing up. We are all in need of a savior. So what do we do with them? I say…just let it go. Let them scream and shout and give no mind. Their very existence is futile. All trolls want to do is spread hate and be malicious. They want to get a rise out of people. They go out of their way to be a dick. So let them do what they do and pay no attention. If we remain silent, its like screaming in an empty room…that gets old real quick. Yes, they are annoying, and yes, they will eventually get banned, but I'm speaking for your own sake and for your heart. Don’t let it rattle you. Ive been a youth pastor for more than a decade and I deal with “childish” behavior all the time. In a way, I find trolls adorable. They are like little children bumbling around, throwing tantrums. They don't have the wisdom or maturity to just chill the heck out. Check this. Ephesians 4 says:
4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Living as Children of Light
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[e] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
So heres my closing thought. You and I share the same amount of time. We all are given 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months a year…i dont know if I will die tomorrow or live till im 95, but what I do know is this; my time is precious. As a leader, I strive for excellence and efficiency and I try to live my life as such. I spend time with my family, I read books, I study, I spread the Word, I play Destiny, I spend my time with loved ones and try to help those in need. I strive to make the same impact on life as greater men and women did before me. I dont want to waste my time or my life. Dealing with trolls is an incredible waste of time to me. I’m not here to be reactive to haters. I want to respond to those that want to hear. Trolls have already decided to be what they are. They have decided that they want to spend their limited time being an idiot. I refuse. I deny their intent and am apathetic to their existence. So heres my advice (take it or leave it), let it go and don’t waste your time or breath arguing about something that will go nowhere. Spend your energy doing something good. Spend it wisely. Spend it with people that matter. Spend it speeding the light of the Gospel. Just. Don't. Waste it.