I Am Not Ashamed By My Faith
Probably the single most common question humans ask God is, “Why do bad things happen to good people.” More than a decade after one of the most tragic school shootings in America, we’re able to take a look at how God can make good come out of the most horrific of events. The movie I Am Not Ashamed presents the reality of one young person’s story and the impact she made on her school and community before and after her horrendous death. Just over fifteen years later, her life impacts thousands through the big screen.
I Am Not Ashamed is inspired by the true story of Rachel Joy Scott, the first of fifteen students killed at Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999. For years, she has been coined a Christian Martyr – believed to have been a target in the shooting because of her faith.
The film used Rachel’s honest and heartfelt journals to retell the story of this incredible teen’s journey. Rachel’s mother is an executive producer on the film, giving access to such remarkable truthfulness of the impact one life can make. The telling of Scott’s story provides a hopeful reminder that when God’s in control, He’ll use our life for good, and we will make a significant difference in the world. “Rachel wrote that she would one day touch the lives of millions, and we’re honored to help make this dream a reality,” said Benny Proffitt, executive producer, and founder of the youth organization First Priority.
Growing up, Rachel knew the love of God. Her father was a pastor when she was young so she was familiar with Christianity and the teachings of the Bible. But, she wasn’t necessarily ready to receive this lifestyle. Like many of us, her faith would be on fire one moment and at other times Christianity was at odds with her everyday life. She struggled with her identity and fully grasping her beauty and self-worth. I Am Not Ashamed demonstrates the reality that most of us experience where we attend church on Sunday after a night out with friends exploring what the world offers. Some of us are bothered by this lifestyle, as we should be. Rachel was. In fact she wrote in her journal: “I don’t understand why having a walk with God is so hard for me. I’m so weak. At school, with friends, at work.”
Rachel hit a breaking point when her relationship with a non-believing boyfriend ended. It was during this struggle to make sense of her life and faith that she found inspiration from her “big brother”—a former homeless teen she helped lead to Christ.
As many of us experience, her family, mentors and close friends guided Rachel during her times of question. Sadie Robinson plays Rachel’s best friend in the film, who not only encourages her to grow her faith, but is present when Rachel renews her relationship with God. In this moment, Rachel prays, ““Father, use my life to touch the world and let your light shine through me.” Rachel speaks, and the Lord listens. He powerfully uses her life to show compassion to people within community.
Rachel spoke up against bullying, challenging friends and loved ones to overcome actions and comments that were hurtful to others. She reached out to the unpopular, the unseen or unnoticed. Often befriending individuals with mental or physical disabilities and becoming their advocate and friend. Rachel’s story is incredibly beautiful, just like her journal entries. She writes, “I’ve always been drawn to hands. I think it’s because it’s the way we touch people.” She firmly believed, and even wrote on essay on how we can show the world love through compassion. She wrote, “If one person could go out of their way to show compassion, it could start a chain reaction.” Rachel didn’t just talk the talk, she walked the walk – she embraced compassion entirely. Which is why it’s heartbreaking that such an uplifting individual would die at such a young age. But, as her hopes and dreams seemed to end, God was just starting.
Her final journal entry was a drawing of her own eyes shedding thirteen tears upon a rose identical to one that she had previously drawn sprouting from a single columbine flower. She drew this entry during her final class before meeting her friend Richard Castaldo for lunch on the lawn outside the West Entrance to Columbine High School where she was murdered.
Since her passing, Rachel’s family has told her story through speaking engagements and programs like Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel’s life has been shared through several books and now newcomer Masey McLain plays Rachel in a feature film. Immediately after her death, Rachel’s car became a memorial to her and more people viewed her funeral than that of Princess Diana of Whales. People were impacted by the life and death of Rachel because she chose to take a stand and live for Christ. Her desire was for Him to use her in magnificent ways. She wrote, “I won’t be labeled as average… I write not for the sake of glory. Not for the sake of fame. Not of the sake of success. But for the sake of my soul.”