God’s Mercy for the Clown

Last Saturday night, some saw a hero. Others saw a villain. What I saw was a woman sharing a painful story with the world using the skill from which she derives her worth.

Cecily Strong is a comedian on Saturday Night Live. Saturday, Cecily dressed as a clown on SNL to discuss the abortion she had the day before she turned 23.

She didn’t dress as a clown to make light of abortion. In fact, she kept emphasizing how the comedy didn’t really work.

The clown bit was her attempt to make her speech palatable to her audience, producers, and to the rest of America.

This was a woman, using the skill for which she’s lauded and from which she derives her worth, using her platform to defend a painful choice.

Now, part of America celebrates her as a hero and the other part vilifies her as “what’s wrong with America.”

Cecily stated that she doesn’t like talking about abortion. None of us does. It’s a necessary discussion, not a pleasant one.

Abortion is murder. I cannot defend the taking of another life except in self-defense or in the defense of another.

Cecily stated that if she hadn’t had her abortion the day before she turned 23, she knows she wouldn’t be a comedian today on Saturday Night Live.

If Cecily had taken the life of a competing comedian to get her job, no one would support that.

I can’t support her taking the life of her unborn child to pursue her career goals. She had other choices, other options, other directions she could have taken, although I believe her that at the time, she didn’t see these options as viable. Instead, she believed the false narrative of the age that this baby would interfere with her life and that it was just a clump of cells, easy enough to dispense with so she could move on with her life.

Really, no one knows if she’d chosen to have the child where she’d be today. No one.

But, I also don’t think Jesus is listening to Cecily and worrying about the state of America. I believe He’s hearing one woman’s pain, her darkness, her heaviness, her loneliness, and the sorrow Cecily hides behind her comedy.

Plenty of male comedians have channeled their pain into their comedy. Male comedians don’t talk about their abortions because they don’t have them. The women in their wake are left with those decisions.

I understand why Cecily Strong put on a clown nose to discuss one of the most painful chapters of her life. She’s been accepted because she wears that red nose. She’s risen to where she is because she makes others laugh.

But, there’s nothing funny about this conversation.

Still, here she is – in the upper echelons of her chosen profession – wanting (or pressured by other women) to use what power she’s gained to discuss her personal history and press her politics.

We all use the platforms we’ve been given to promote what we believe. Sadly, however, Cecily believes a lie, so this is what she promotes. She’s as much a victim of it as she is a promoter.

I didn’t see a hero, or the devil incarnate. I just saw a woman who couldn’t hide the truth.

There was nothing funny about choosing to end her child’s life so she could have the life she desired.

There’s so much shame attached to her choice that she has trouble connecting with other women who made the same one.

Her abortionist’s lame joke was her only assurance in that moment that she wasn’t a terrible person doomed to have a terrible life because of this terrible choice.

Maybe, she tells herself, her story will help save the lives of other women who might lose theirs in their attempts to kill their unborn children. Maybe, this will make what she endured worth something more than a slot in the opening credits of SNL.

And if I were having coffee with Cecily and listening to her story, Jesus wouldn’t want me to call her a villain or tell her she’s what’s wrong with America or judge her for making a choice that in our times has been packaged and sold to women like pantyhose in plastic eggs.

Jesus would want me to tell Cecily that He knew her when she was formed in the hidden places. That she was His idea before time began and that He chose the time and place for her to be born. She, like all of us, is a sinner making her way in a sinful world and He knew she would make sinful choices. So, because His Father loves her, Jesus laid down His life for her. If she were the only human who had ever existed, He would have done that.

And then, He rose from the dead, triumphant over the grave. And He lives. He welcomed the soul of her unborn child into His arms, and He will welcome Cecily, too, if she repents, like the rest of us must do, and accepts His sacrifice on her behalf.

No one really wins in this whole conversation. It doesn’t matter if we’re dressed like clowns or experts or politicians. If you’re whole focus is on her clown suit, you’re missing the greater concern.

If women who choose abortion press their points with no reasonable response from Christians, souls die. If Christians throw stones at women who made this choice, they distract these women from the love of God who laid down His life for them.

Christians are called to the ones who see beneath the masks, the painted smiles, and the false bravado to the hurting soul behind the hilarity. We aren’t called to condemn but to testify to God’s unrelenting love and mercy

Even for killer clowns.

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    The Conversation

  1. Linda says:

    Thank you for showing me how I might respond when presented with the pain of others and myself.-
    Love and courage.

  2. Mark&Karen says:

    A hard, unfunny, sad, and very painful thing to talk about . . .
    just like what Jesus did on His Cross.

  3. Cathy Biggerstaff says:

    Very well said, Lori! Thank you for broaching this sensitive subject.

  4. Maureen says:

    Oh my goodness. This. This. Through tears, I’m typing. Just read this to Bill. Grateful to our three birthmothers who made the choice to sacrifice 9 months of “their plans” to offer life to three children, offer joy to two waiting parents with arms open. Thank you, dear friend.

  5. Nancy K. Sullivan says:

    This is the reason I have so much respect for your writing. I count it a privilege to have met you those years ago. You see beyond the surface, beyond the obvious, and once I get to read your difficult discussions, I walk away a more mature, compassionate child of God. Keep writing. We need your voice.
    God bless, Nancy

  6. Doris Davies says:

    Thank you ~ Amen!

  7. Molly Jo Realy says:

    Such a powerful post. You are so authentic and endearing. Yes. We’re not to shame Cecily, or anyone, for their choices. We are to love, and share God’s love. And forgive. Thank you for writing this.