I got trolled!
My last blog post on the subject of Joel Osteen generated some pretty negative online responses from strangers.
Within an hour of posting, I’d sent several rather nasty comments straight to the Spam folder, which among other things, accused me of making up the story and oh, my particular favourite, the suggestion that I must be the product of ‘abusive, irresponsible parents’.
For a moment, I thought, ‘what have I got myself into? I just want to write a blog. I don’t want all this aggro’.
But then I remembered a situation a few years ago, when an (anonymous) neighbour took offence at my parking style and started to leave rather vicious notes on the windscreen. I couldn’t understand where all his (or her) rage was coming from. Surely, if they were unhapppy, they just needed to talk to me? There was no need to leave anonymous poisoned pen letters.
But one particular morning, despite my best attempts at parking correctly, I found another note sticky taped to the windscreen.And this one made me mad. It was just so unnecessary. So childish.
Later, I was chatting to my dad and after listening to my tale of woe, he said, ‘why don’t you pray for him?’ (Assuming it was a ‘he’).
What?? Pray for this IDIOT? This vicious, nasty, small-minded person who had nothing better to do with their time, than write spiteful letters???
But the stinger came when my dad said, ‘maybe no one’s ever prayed for him before? Maybe God let this happen so you would?’
As the words sunk in, later, through gritted teeth, I gave it a try. It took some practice, but oddly, as I reluctantly persevered, I could feel the aimless rage start to melt away. No longer was I angry at this faceless note-abuser, but I was curious as to why he was so angry in the first place? Was there something else going on in their life, which would explain it? Why would he want to upset people like that, with rage-filled words and insults?
There were no answers, but I could feel myself dealing with the situation in a healthier way. And then I started to have some fun, praying he’d somehow get to know Jesus, that everywhere he went, he’d (annoyingly) run into over-zealous Christians (the kind with flags and tambourines) until he had no choice but to submit and deal with the rage.
So last night, as I was reading through the unpleasant messages again and for a moment, feeling stunned by how vicious some people can be, I suddenly remembered that I could pray for each of them. I only have their anonymous hide-online names, but God knows who they are and he’s more than capable of hunting them down with some totally undeserved grace and mercy.
It’s not nice to be trolled, but as it turns out, it’s quite good fun to pray for people you don’t know.