By Erika Rizkallah
Do you have trolls in your life?
As a kid, one of my favorite stories was the Norwegian folk tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff. Don’t be surprised if it’s unfamiliar; the fact that I recall it shows my age.
It’s about three goats — a little one, a middle sized one and a huge one — who had to cross a bridge to get to the other side of the mountain to eat. A grotesque and ferocious troll lived underneath, threatening to devour them.
The little and middle-sized ones tricked him into waiting for the huge billy goat who crushed his bones and threw him over the bridge.
Just a terrifying tale parents liked to read right before bedtime!
We also had troll dolls. Remember those? We’d smash the neon polyester hair down and spin their squat bodies in our palms to whip up crazy hairdos.
Seems kind of lame now but that’s what we did for fun in the “good ‘ol days.”
Trolls still exist. They usually menace behind electronic devices, but sometimes actively pursue.
I have one and she’s not the fun kind.
She’s the mother of my son’s (former) friend. Our boys were goofing around in my home and it escalated into a physical fight. Though her son started the horseplay and sucker punched my kid first, hers lost the fight and was injured.
Out of town that weekend, I heard the story from my husband, son and another witness. And the detective assigned to the case — yes, she called the police. Not getting the desired result, she’s now hell-bent on harassing me.
She’s sent nasty texts, tried to post awful comments on my blog and slandered my family in the community. So she’s trolling everywhere.
This is the world we live in. A world filled with strangers who feel free to unleash rage and harm. Just because they can or feel entitled to.
So how do we deal with it?
Ignore them: The first troll-defeating rule is always the best. Ignore them. They’re not worth our time or energy. Really, they’re not. They’re out living dull lives, getting their jollies by trying to cause harm. Don’t let them drag you to the party. Go about your own life and be thankful you have better things to do.
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
Rise up: Unlike mythological monsters, humans are complex. Maybe they’re hurting and trolling is their only way to feel powerful. Maybe they’re immature, attention seeking or insecure. We’ve all had our moments but we don’t have to act creaturely.
A pig that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud. 2 Peter 2:22
Talk it out: No, not to the troll — that won’t do any good. Talk about it with people who really know you. There’s nothing like meeting with a close friend to reassure us that we’re not what they say we are.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Go to God: Remember your creator. He’s the one who loves you most of all. He knows your heart, sees your frustration and can act in ways you’ve never even imagined. He’s the ultimate healer of the damaged. Meditate on this verse:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14
Live with joy: Jesus warned that in this world we would have trouble. It’s the unfortunate part of earthly living, but we don’t have to dwell on Negativity Island. There are wonderful things out there that deserve our attention. We can do something nice for a stranger, offer a word of encouragement to a friend in need and spend time with positive people.
Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
Most of all, remember who you are. None of us are perfect, but we are all loved — even the trolls.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8