Compassion from SNL

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #c0c0c0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Almost every major news source reported on the Saturday Night Live opening remarks after the Paris attacks. SNL usually opens with a comedy skit from that night’s guest host. I don’t watch the show, but I did watch the opening video that so many were talking about.

CNN described it this way: “Cecily Strong delivered a message to Parisians in the show’s opening: ‘We stand with you. Paris is the City of Light, and here in New York City, we know that light will never go out,’ she said. ‘Our love and support is with everyone there tonight. We stand with you.'” Then Ms. Strong repeated those same words in French and the audience applauded their approval.

There has been a worldwide response to last Friday’s attacks, but SNL’s choice to speak words of compassion has received an unusual amount of attention. Compassion is a powerful witness during times of fear and uncertainty. Strong character is important all of the time, but especially in response to acts of violence that display the character of evil.

If your job were to write or speak a response to those same terror attacks, what would you want to say? All of us could speak words of anger. Innocent people died at the hands of cowards who were convinced they would have some kind of eternal reward for committing murder. Imagine the eternal suffering the criminals are enduring right now. They died for a lie and they cannot undo the consequences of their choice. I’m sorry for everyone they hurt, and I’m sorry for them. They destroyed so many lives, including their own.

All of us could speak words of fear. If this could happen in Paris it could happen in our own cities. If a person is willing to die for a lie, how can we protect ourselves? Fear is a controlling emotion, and control is what a terrorist is hoping to accomplish. The Bible commands us to “fear not” but, like every other command in Scripture, we sometimes fail to obey. We are controlled by our human emotions at times instead of being controlled by God’s Holy Spirit.

All of us could speak words of hatred and malice. Most of us want these evil people found and most of us probably don’t mind if they lose their lives in the process. It somehow seems right that evil people not be allowed to live and do harm to others.

Saturday Night Live chose to speak words of compassion to the people of Paris and the media was quick to notice. SNL isn’t typically known for speaking words of kindness. Their comedy is almost always aimed at people in a derogatory way. Their compassion was all the more impressive because it was out of the ordinary.

All of us could speak words of anger, fear, hatred, and malice but all of us should want to speak words of compassion, love, and hope instead. I’m teaching through the book of Acts this year and I often say that the closest example we have in Scripture of terrorist activity is found in the early actions of the apostle Paul, known also as Saul of Tarsus. He dragged innocent people from their homes to be imprisoned and killed, simply because of their Christian faith. The Pharisees were terrorists and had Jesus killed. But Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the road to Damascus and his entire life was changed. So were the lives of countless millions of people after that. Paul is still changing lives through his words each day.

What words of compassion, truth, and love can we speak during these somber days? We are commanded not to live in fear, but to live in faith. King Jehoshaphat was speaking to his people who were afraid of an eminent attack. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Zechariah’s son, Jahaziel, and he spoke these words to the frightened crowd. He said, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Christians are at war—we always have been. The terrorist, Saul of Tarsus, was saved and sanctified, and later wrote these words which is truth all of us can take to heart today. He said, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

We are engaged in a spiritual war and the most potent weapons available to us are not manmade. They are Spirit-led and Spirit-generated. Your prayers will change the war on terror. Are you fighting? Are you praying and counting on Jesus to fight for you? Not all soldiers wear uniforms and carry guns. Some soldiers fight in their private “war rooms.”  

Let’s pray without ceasing and let’s ask God to do the fighting for us. He never loses, he is never wrong, and he never ignores the prayers of his people. Christians might be the most important weapon in the fight on terrorism. I’m looking forward to hearing about the next Saul of Tarsus who will change the world through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Join us at and chime in on this week’s discussion question: What are your children asking or saying about the Paris shootings?

{jcomments lock}