That is a the photo of Sarah Silverman from her Twitter profile. If you aren’t familiar with her, she is a popular comedian and actress. Politically, she is unabashedly and shamelessly liberal. As her last name suggests, she was also raised Jewish, though she considers herself more of a cultural Jew rather than religious. Her comedy isn’t always “family friendly” and it’s not for the prudish or squeamish. She can be brutally honest, frank, and tends not to pull any punches. Despite all that, this woman has lately been doing more to reflect the love and the message of Jesus Christ than most Christians.
A story about the way Ms. Silverman recently handled an exchange with an angry Twitter troll perfectly illustrates my point. You can read about all the details of that exchange here. For now, suffice to say that the man viciously attacked her on Twitter with the ugliest of responses. Instead of blocking the man (which, frankly, is what I would have done), or lashing back with an equal dose of vitriol–something she is quite well qualified and equipped to do–Sarah chose to respond with love and understanding. Her choice led to an honest and quite touching exchange between the two. Before she responded, Sarah took the time to look through the man’s Twitter feed to find out a little about him. She learned that he was suffering from severe pain related to a back problem–an affliction she could relate to personally–and also that he was a depressed loner who didn’t have the money or the support network to get help. This eventually led to Ms. Silverman leading a charge to get the man the help he needed. What a perfect example of a positive way to deal with rage-filled conflict. Not only did Sarah turn the other cheek when she was publicly attacked on social media, she went out of her way to find empathy and then took actions to help the man who’d attacked her. This could be a modern version of one of Jesus’ parables.
Sarah Silverman has been trying hard to find empathy and build bridges in our severely divided nation with her career lately, too. She has a new series on Hulu called I Love You, America. In this series, Sarah travels the country and visits with real people who sit on the opposite end of the political spectrum from her. She seeks these people out to talk face-to-face and find unity through humor. Face-to-face conversations tend to be much more civil than Twitter. It’s hard to hate someone sitting across from you making you laugh at the very things that divide you. It’s a real pleasure to watch the defenses drop and the division melt away as people just enjoy socializing with each other as fellow human beings. We need a whole lot more of that.
I find myself inspired to be a better Christian by this sometimes crude, vulgar, Jewish lady. On many levels, she is living out the example of Christ much better than myself and many Christians in this crazy and divided era of Trump.
Thank you, Sarah Silverman.