I’ve recently started responding to insults with what I call “foolish joy”. For example, when someone recently insulted me saying that a song that I wrote and performed “sounded like something a five year old would put together” — I said “I know, isn’t it great to just truly let go and enjoy the experience joyfully like a child who is just happy to be creative and have fun!”
I’m sure they either A) thought that I was such an idiot that I didnt understand, or B) realized that their being a troll couldn’t touch my joy — either way, their goal of feeding me their poison was hopefully clearly evident as unsuccessful.
And I don’t value their opinion, so who cares whether they think of me as a no-talent idiot or as a joyful fool. The point is that if more trolls encountered more “joyful fools” who do not just “react” to what the trolls are doing/saying, and if we “joyful fools” stayed our joyful course (maybe even feeling sorry for the bitter fool wasting their time being offended by others and spewing their poison), but refused to drink it ourselves — maybe they might seek a different way.
Yeah, I’ve found myself on both sides — being the grumble, complainer, accuser — and being the joyful fool. I think the world view is that the joyful fool is an idiot, because he gets stepped on and abused by the bitter folks. But the joyful fool might be the wisest of us all, maintaining his own joy — and willing to allow those wicked people who enjoy bitterness and grumbling and complaining and judging and oppressing to know the poor substitute for joy they have found in being evil towards others.
I’ve found this especially helpful when I interact with other believers where there is a disagreement and the discussion departs from discussing evidence and facts and truths to getting personal with accusations, etc. I’ve found that joyfully overlooking the personal attacks and praising the name of Jesus and His grace and mercy defeats the goal of the enemy to offend and spread their poison. In many cases, not responding to these personal accusations will enrage the religious because their goal is to get you to “react” in the normal way a man naturally would, instead of being wise spiritually. And by praising the name of Jesus and glorifying God at the same time, the attack is not only thwarted between you and the person of flesh and blood in front of you, the true enemy hiding in the shadows and pulling the strings will be reminded again that he is defeated and that his time here is short.
I’m not going to tell you that this approach doesn’t come with consequences. If you want other people to honor you and think that you are knowledgeable and successful and powerful and important — them the joyful fool bit isn’t for you. You would probably be better off insulting and abusing and complaining and oppressing and demonstrating your dominance, spreading your selfish ambition like a poisonous troll. That approach will help you climb the ladder on the backs of others and prove your “defeat over all your competition”.
But all of that seems such a poor, poor substitute for joy.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding [and profits from his self-control], But he who is quick-tempered exposes and exalts his foolishness [for all to see].
Proverbs 14:29 AMP
“Listen carefully: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves [have no self-serving agenda].
Matthew 10:16 AMP
Lord, help us to be willing to humble ourselves, to be willing to face opposition and not just “react” in our nature, but to continue walking with undistracted purpose and focus through your spirit. Help us to stay the course of the narrow path, truly as travelers simply passing through this land, because we are headed home to your loving arms. Do not let us be distracted to the right or the left, but lead us steady and firm wherever we should go. Forgive us for our many wanderings, and discipline us in your grace and mercy. You are a patient, loving, God who is slow to anger and faithful to forgive. You are wise and your ways are higher than the ways of the world. Help us to be the same with one another. Amen.