People Skills : Addressing trolls online and how to respond to them
I have learned a lot over the last few years about trolls. Most of them are normal people who are just bored out of their mind. Being annoying on the internet is how they pass time. Others are mentally ill. A small percentage 0f them are just demonic people who enjoy hurting other people for entertainment. How should we, as Pentecostals, respond to them?
The first thing that is important to understand is that one man’s troll is another man’s friend. One man’s friend is another man’s troll. What is a troll to me and what is a troll to someone else might be completely differently. In fact, when it is dealing with people on the internet, it is often you are the enemy of my enemy so you are my temporary friend.
The truth is that most trolls are either mentally ill, brain washed, or deeply offended but refused to be reasonable about their offense. I have found in almost all cases one of these realities to be present. The problem is getting them to understand the need to get be logical and have a discussion based on reality. Many of these people choose to remain out outside of the real world for a reason.
How do trolls work?
They get offended at some minor things said on a website like this or a Youtube channel. They look for anything little thing they can find to attack the person. They do not mind taking things out of context and blowing minor things completely up to make them things they never were.
They have no concern for who they hear or what pain they cause people. They are completely inconsiderate of the feelings of people whom they attack. In the hundreds of attacks against me over the last few years, these people never once consider my feelings before saying whatever they felt they could get by with.
A day does not go by that someone does not come after me for something. Every name in the book has been used to attack me as a person. They don’t just disagree with my doctrine (which I am cool with) but they try attack me as a person and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Today’s selection of slander against me is being a sociopath.
I do not question if some of these people have type of offense, something that upset them, something that they are pissed off about. I do question their reaction and how they handle their frustration with something they do not understand. What these trolls do not seem to get is a discussion is all by lost as soon as starts with assumptions.
This simple truth is why most of these trolls are very heard by me. I will give anyone who has a valid concern an opportunity to discuss the issue in depth when they have decency and do it in kindness, not anger. Anyone that I have not engaged with that has a grievance against me is because of their tone and motive. They did not seek to understand, they seek to attack. Simple as that.
What trolls don’t get
I recently was contacted by a professor at a bible college that wanted to dialog with me about why I said a few things I did about about Ecclesiology. He did not attack me, call me names, wish I was dead, call my mother names, or wish ill of anyone that ever knew me. He just wanted to understand what I believed.
He invited me into the dialog with a question that I was interested in discussing. Because of that, it was a non-threatening environment that we could learn from each other and he was able to voice his concerns as a theological educator about me making a mockery of pastoral care in some articles. I saw his concerns. I didn’t agree with it but I understood it. We ended the discussion in prayer and still having respect.
This is in contrast to the hate mail I get on a daily basis for being Pentecostal, for contending for revival or standing for what I believe. I have stood for marriage and moral clarity and I saw hundreds of people come against me for simply standing up for what the scriptures teach: God hates divorce and if you have sex afterwards, you are an adulterer.
The trolls came as an avalanche of hate from perverts and whore mongers instead of having reasonable discussion based on reason. It has left me to question if the people involved have the intelligence to dialog with logic. I am not sure they can.
Trolls go away?
I have no reason to believe that they will realize they are lacking all form of people skills, be logical, and the next generation of “Pentecostal haters” will try and have some form of a debate based on reason. It is not going to happen. I guess, I am just happy that we are getting our houses burned down anymore or having rotten tomatoes thrown at us as we preach anymore.
The lynching that goes on through social media to me and my family is minor compared to the real lynching that happened to some early Church of God in Christ pastors in the South for preaching Pentecost. Mobs are not going to form to attack me for practicing my freedom of religion in the 21st century.
In the end, they can believe they they are some form of a “dedicated enemy” of Azusa Report and myself. However, I have no enemy but the devils and his demons. They can hate me for standing for holiness but I do not hate them. They will continue to attack this mouthpiece of revival. If they don’t, the devil will find new people that are pissed off at me for someone odd reason.
The truth is I have been dealing with trolls and haters like them for almost two decades. They were haters before them and there will be haters after them. The names will change but the hate will remain the same. It is part of the call of God on Azusa Report.
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.