Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tired of Trolls

No more trolls! I am adamant about this! I am tired of them! I am not talking about the cute little troll dolls with wrinkled faces and brightly colored hair that were so popular in the 1960's. I am talking about the wicked troll who lies in wait, up to no good, trying to deter people on their journey to a better place. Wikipedia describes trolls as large,dimwitted, nocturnal creatures who enjoy cruelty. Many of us remember the story of Billy Goats Gruff. They were trying to get over the bridge to greener pastures. But, under the bridge lived a wicked, ugly and mean troll, remember? His job, as he saw it, was to keep people (billy goats) from crossing over his bridge. And so he sat under the bridge until he heard them coming, jumped out, yelled at and threatened to eat them. Some fables have the wicked trolls eating the travelers, others tell that the trolls force the travelers to earn the right to cross the bridge, and so he sends them on unrealistic tasks, quests for treasures too dangerous or utterly impossible to acquire.
I know that some of us in the church are trolls. We smile as we worship and we season our conversations with words about love and forgiveness and grace and mercy. We are happy when new people come to the Lord, thrilled when they express a desire to live a Christian life. Like the travelers of old fables, they are looking for a better place. They are headed for spiritually greener pastures, longing to be in a field where the Good Shepherd provides food, safety and guidance. We should be rejoicing and doing everything in our power to help them. But, some of us are trolls. We look at them and decide they do not quite measure up to what we think a church member should be. Granted, they are working on some sinful areas of their lives, but there are so many more, some of them really obvious. We trolls, we are not sure they really deserve to feed in the green pastures. We decide perhaps they could prove themselves. So, we give them some seemingly impossible tasks. We tell them they must accomplish these tasks if they expect to cross our bridge. Some of them try their hardest. Some really make it and we grudgingly allow them passage. Some give up, deciding there are green pastures elsewhere, places without trolls, places where they will be welcome. Some decide to take us on, and after lengthy debates and heated discussions, we eat them alive and they die in their sins. We crawl back under our bridges, satisfied and reassuring ourselves that obviously they didn't have what it takes anyway. We can be such bad trolls!
I heard of a minister who once told a young christian that it was not his job to make her spiritual journey easier. It was between her and God and she would have to just put more effort into it. I was so ashamed that my brother in Christ could be such a troll! Folks, we are our brother's keeper. We are responsible for him! That is why God made this a journey a group project. None of us walks to Heaven alone. We are a part of a community. We live together, we love together, we laugh together, we walk together. And when one of us weeps, we all weep. When one of us rejoices, we all rejoice. When one of us dies, a part of all of us dies. It is our job to make the journey easier for our brothers and sisters. We are called to bear one another's burdens. That makes the journey easier, doesn't it? We are told to forgive one another, that makes the company bearable. We are told to comfort one another, that makes our path easier to see through the tears. We are told to pray for one another, confess to one another, love one another. All of those help all of us on our spiritual walk.
We all make our own decisions. We all are to have a personal and intimate relationship with God and ultimately it truly is ours and ours alone. Yet, I can't help but notice all the one another verses, all the analogies to a body. All of those tell me we are a part of something much bigger than just a bunch of seperate individuals. We are all together on a journey. Our journey will have many ups and downs, many stumbles and some falls. It is my prayer that every one of us is walking and working beside Christian brothers and sisters who are supportive, encouraging and uplifting and that none of us walks beside a troll. I pray for those in our number who when told of a dear sister's growth say, "yes, but . . . " , who when witnessing a soul who is tired of sinning and comes forward again asking for prayers says, "they always come forward when . . . ", who when a soul falls to his knees, begging for forgiveness, asking for prayers and help says, "they will need to prove themselves before I forgive them." I pray for these people. But, I must tell you, I am tired of them. I am weary of praying for and working with those who are truly seeking in home Bible studies and then being afraid to introduce them to some of my brothers and sisters. (Coming to worship should not have to include a warning label) I am just really tired of trolls. And everyday, seriously, everyday, I pray that God will make me less and less troll-like and more and more Christlike. Because I think He too, is tired of trolls.



Anonymous Gallagher said...

First, thanks for stopping by my site.

Second, very thought provoking look at trolls. I have never considered that particular angle using trolls in a spiritual sense. I believe I will "borrow" that in the near future for part of a sermon series.


8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Neva,
I don't want to be a troll either. Sometimes I find myself judging the motives of others. My attitude keeps them from wanting to be in Christ. That is very sad and shameful--I will do better

Thank you

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you are saying. Working with teens, I find there is always some "troll" who refuses to give them credit for the good in them but makes sure to point out the bad. It makes it difficult to keep youth.
Good post

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And then we wonder why the church doesn't grow. Maybe some of the changes aren't in how we worship or when we worship, but rather how we love and how we forgive.
Do ya think?


9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think God is tired of trolls too. I think He shakes his head sadly when he sees us treat each other poorly.
Good post


9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another good reminder that I am my brothers keeper, warts and all!

Thanks Neva for reminding me to try to be and do better, and also reminding me it is not my job to judge my fellow man but to love him as Christ loves us all. It made me think of our Lords sacrifice for me who was lost in my sins, not my brothers but mine!

If I can remember to do this good lesson maybe my path will be for good and I can avoid causing my brother to stumble and find my Savior Jesus Christ for their own salvation.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment that church shouldn't come with a warning label ---wow, it really is sad when we invite someone and have to say, don't pay any attention to the remarks of so and so, they are always like that. maybe we should go talk to our troll brothers and tell them what they are doing, lovingly of course, ---
good post, though


10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all tired of trolls!
Good thoughts


5:33 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

wonderful post. There are times I am judgemental- thought I try very hard not to be. I pray that the Lord will release my "troll-ness" and teach me all the ways to walk in love.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous lisa leichner said...

I pray that the troll in me stays in me as I work to get rid of it, and does not manifest itself to anyone else! I know I have shameful thoughts about others, but I try to remember that I'm in the wrong -- not the other person.

I once asked some friends from church to help me encourage my husband spiritually because he was struggling. One man's response: "Well, there's not really much we can do if he doesn't want our help." And I felt so desperate and lost after that remark. If the job of reaching my husband is left solely to me, will that be enough?

Good post, Neva. We all need this reminder. And I think what Dean said about talking to the trolls in our church is important. I think that goes along with talking to a brother when he is sinning.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Monalea said...

I don't want to every be a troll! You know? Sometimes I point out a troll among us and I look and there are 3 fingers pointing back at me.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I spend entirely too much time on a computer. As soon as I saw "troll" I thought of the thread killers and bashers that sometimes invade a message board or blog, especially if it is a Jesus-glorifying site. Hmmmmm.

How true are your comments, Neva. We all need to strive for more Barnabas-like spirit, rather than that of the eye-beam carriers. Thank you for reminding me to encourage, not criticize; to lift up to the Throne of God, rather than blocking a struggler's climb.

I join the chorus - "No More Trolls!"

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a word picture, Neva! I was always afraid of trolls in stories I read as a child. I was afraid of "trolls" when I came to church for many years and it was a big part of my reasoning for staying away. I wasn't ever going to be good enough for some "trolls". I pray for them now and that I'll never become one. I love you, sister.


9:54 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

A troll is a very interesting description. I think that forgiving and trusting a troll is harder than someone with other sins.

10:57 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Oh Neva,
Thank you for your candor. I have felt the fear of introducing others to the 'christians'. Help us all from being trolls.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Mommysmart said...

Very thought provoking!

One other thing that I thought of while reading is that not only are we "trolls" attacking and judging newcomers but we do the same to each other. I can only imagine the horror of a new christian when they realize that if we don't except other "trolls" who look like us, act like us, and think like us, then we surely won't except anyone that may not have fully transformed their lives. It is amazing the the more "sinful" a person is the more intimidating the church is. It is like a bunch of sick people just walking around a hospital because all of the doctors and nurses are fighting among themselves and casting disaproving looks at the sick people. It's all so backwards.

I love the troll analogie!

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me too---I dont want to be a troll---I dont want our Lords church to have trolls in them, I want all trolls to repent.
I think thats what I'll pray for. ")

Enjoyed the post, Neva

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



7:32 PM  
Anonymous Monalea said...

Can we have a catchy tune to those words "No More Trolls?"

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It hurts me to remember how many times I myself have been a "troll". Please Father forgive all of us when we act so unbecomingly.

Thanks for the nudge,

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having both met trolls and been one, I can tell you you are right, a church full of trolls cannot grow. The mark of a disciple is love as Jesus loves. (Not very troll-like) Good post.

Love ya

9:17 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Recently my husband has been struggling through some major spiritual questions and decided against going to church. While this was difficult for me, I didn't have any trouble with WHY he was doing it. One of the guys in our small group told my husband that he wouldn't come to small group if my hubby was there since he wasn't coming to services. I can't even tell you how upset I was, as this man thought he was "setting a boundary." I think he was being a troll. I also realize that I have been a troll in my life, so I'm not setting myself apart. I'm only expressing the pain that I felt, and I hate that I have inflicted that pain on others. Thanks for the post Neva. We are responsible to one another, we are a community.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Thank you all for your comments and kind words.
Jen, I am so sorry you encountered a troll. I have encountered many. I find that praying for them and exampling untroll like behavior seems to work. When we can answer them with "I am sorry you won't be there, I will miss you, but I am really hoping small group will help both my husband and me." Sometimes, not always but sometimes it makes a difference. Sometimes as wives, especially when our men are struggling, we have to make a concerted effort to point out good christian behaviors, those that are untroll like and focus attention, theirs and ours on the beautiful people who belong to God.
Peace and prayers my friend.
Still praying for your nephew.

8:19 AM  

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