The Noise of Strangers — Frank Viola | Beyond Evangelical

Frank Viola
5 min readMay 3, 2024

Welcome to another Thursday UNFILTERED blog post, the only blog that thinks 3 a.m. feels more like the middle of the night than midnight does. And while we’re at it, why do people drive on parkways and park in driveways?

“What other people think of you is none of your business.”

~ Unknown

Most of us are drowning in it — the endless stream of unsolicited opinions from those we don’t know or barely know. It takes place on social media, review sites, blogs and comments sections everywhere.

With few exceptions, these voices — no matter how loud or insistent — deserve to be ignored.

The harsh critics, complainers, and contrarians who have never met you (or perhaps met you once many years ago)* have no stake in your journey. Neither do they have your best interests at heart. So why are you listening to them?

Especially those who make up and/or spread outlandish accusations against you.

We suffer because we accidentally give such befuddled souls power. We let the angry pronouncements of a faceless crowd dent our peace of mind.

The truth is that these strangers don’t matter. Not to you, not to me. Their words are simply shrill noise to be tuned out.

Even if gullible people believe their opinions, most humans who have two neurons and a synapse will go to you directly and humbly request your response, thinking the best of you as love demands (1 Corinthians 13:5; Matthew 7:12).

The truth is, the only opinions worth considering are from those who have taken the time and care to actually know you in the present. The people who support you and care about your well-being.

I’m speaking of your family, supporters, and real-life friends. These people have earned the right to be heard because they’ve displayed the patience and generosity of spirit that strangers lack.

The drive-by critic offers only complaints without solutions. The jealous soul — who is virtually always a hypocrite — offers false allegations and vile personal attacks. But loved ones offer wise nudges to make us better.

One set of voices create anxiety, the other leads to forward motion and growth.

For this reason, I tell the leaders I work with in the Insurgence Experience Mastermind to never give a stranger emotional control of your life.

So the next time you’re tempted to give emotional control to an outsider, to flinch at their benighted criticisms or to become anxious at their falsehoods, pause.

Realize that you’re being tempted to become a willing hostage, ceding your sense of self-worth to someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t care about your well-being.

Then turn toward the quieter voices who have been by your side all along. Those are the ones worth heeding.

As someone once said, “Never take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.”

It is because of all the carnage on social media in the so-called “Christian” community that some of my friends who love the Lord have made their exit from these platforms entirely.

They grew tired of the incessant beat downs on Facebook and the constant hyperventilating and vile smearing on X (formerly Twitter).

Each friend reported how their decision brought great peace to their hearts.

The same happens with those who remain on social media but who use it sparingly and pay no attention to the vitriolic claptrap from strangers (turning off “notifications” and “alerts,” etc.)

Repeatedly, we are told that the God we serve is “the God of Peace.”

May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

~ Romans 15:33

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

~ Romans 16:20

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

~ Philippians 4:9

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,

~ Hebrews 13:20

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; Eternal Father,
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Prince of Peace.

Consider these words by the Lord:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Then Paul:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:6–7

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

~ Colossians 3:15

The Lord we serve incarnates peace, and He generously gives it to His followers.

However, you and I can obstruct His peace in our lives if we give emotional control to strangers by paying attention to what they say.

To put it in a sentence: Never let some rando on the Internet yank your chain like a puppet master. To do so is to forfeit God’s peace in your life, something none of us can afford to lose.


* I’ll give you a bizarre example of this. 18 years ago a friend of mine (Shane) met someone at a conference we both spoke in. Shane met many people at that conference. One of the people was Doris and her husband Jeff. Many years later Doris began trolling on social media saying things like, “I know Shane personally, and he eats infants for lunch” (or something equally outlandish). Really, Doris? You met Shane one time 18 years ago and you know him personally?” Sigh. Yes, people like this really do exist. Within the hearts of some professing Christians there’s a sick impulse to defame people they don’t even know. I’ll never understand it as long as I live.

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Frank Viola

Helping serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply so they can experience real transformation and make a lasting impact. Connect at