“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
– Romans 1:16
Recently I watched a movie called I’m Not Ashamed. This is a faith-based film that tells the story of Rachel Joy Scott, one of the students that was killed in the Columbine High School shooting.
Rachel’s story is an interesting one. She was raised in a religious family, but turned away from this as she grew older. Once she reached high school, she was really struggling emotionally. It was during this time that she turned back to God and the faith she once had. In spite of this, she continued to attend parties where her friends drank alcohol and smoked, and started dating a boy who had no intention of being in a committed relationship.
One day, all of this came to a head, and Rachel realized how lost and broken she felt. She made a commitment to change the way she lived her life and truly follow God. She made this no secret, even basing a school project on her faith. She lost friends and her boyfriend, but she touched the lives of many. Compassion became her main focus. She truly was not worried about the opinions of others, only the opinion of God.
As Rachel’s life was changing in such a positive way, two boys from her school were headed in the exact opposite direction. Exasperated with bullies and the clique-ish atmosphere of their school, they turned to Nazism and Hitler’s ideas. They became indoctrinated with hate. And one day, they decided to take this hate out on their fellow students. They planted a bomb, but it did not go off, so they decided to use guns instead. Rachel and a friend were eating lunch outside the school, and they were the first to be shot. After shooting Rachel one of the boys asked her, “Where is your God now? Do you still believe in God?”
Rachel answered without doubt or hesitation. She knew she would die. And yet her response was, “You know I do.” One of the boys then fired the fatal shot.
This all probably sounds pretty gruesome. (And, of course, it was.) But what happens next is what is truly beautiful. Sometime after the shooting, Columbine students turned Rachel’s car, parked at the school, into a memorial. Students who barely knew her, friends who abandoned her, her former boyfriend, her brother, an autistic boy she befriended, and everyone in between left flowers and notes on and around the car. The notes told of what a difference she made in their lives. What an example she was. How missed she would be. How loved she was by those she showed unconditional love to. How she changed the world.
Rachel was talented in many forms of art. When she was a little girl, she even drew on her furniture. The very last scene of the movie shows her mother moving an old dresser of hers to pick up something that had fallen behind it. There, on the back of the piece of furniture, is a tracing of Rachel’s hand she made as a child. Written inside the hand is the simple but profound statement, “My name is Rachel Joy Scott, and one day these hands will touch many hearts.”
For the entirety of this movie, I was struck by Rachel and the way she chose to live. It caused me to examine my life. Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, I love God and Jesus. But am I living my life for Them as fully as They want me to? Am I living a life filled with compassion? If I was ever in Rachel’s situation, would my response be more than just “yes?” Would it be “you know I do?”
Maybe. But maybe not.
“I am not ashamed, because You’ve given me life / I am not afraid, because You’ve opened up my eyes”
– “I’m Not Ashamed” by Abigail Duhon
As I said before, I am not living some terrible life. But I don’t know if I’m living Rachel’s life either. I don’t want to be half-way with my beliefs. I don’t want to talk about the gospel only when it feels comfortable. I don’t want to do things like pray and study the scriptures because they’re part of some checklist.
I don’t want to worry about what other people think. I don’t want likes and followers and numbers stop me from being 100% real. I don’t want the wickedness in this world to stop me from changing it.
I want to live like Rachel. I want to live unashamed.
You can’t touch lives and hearts when you are scared and holding back. You can’t change the world from inside of your comfort zone. I think “comfortable” is a bad word in the gospel. Living for Jesus and living like He did isn’t supposed to be comfortable.
We have to be okay with being uncomfortable. With talking to people when we don’t want to. With accepting ridicule from a tainted world. Because living unashamed is living for something greater than this world.
That’s how I want to live. What about you?
“I will sing about Your love / I will shout it to the sky / I will tell of what You’ve done / When the people ask me why I live my life this way I’ll say that I am unashamed of You”
– “Unashamed of You” by Chris August
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on his behalf.”
– 1 Peter 4:16