Jonathan Edwards resolved “never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can and “never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” 1
I’m Not Ashamed, the latest Pure Flix movie to hit the big screen, teaches the same concept. I want to strongly recommend you see this movie! Unfortunately, I have to issue a couple warnings as well.
Let’s start with the positive elements:
I’m Not Ashamed is “based on the inspiring and powerful true story and journal entries of Rachel Joy Scott- the first student killed in the Columbine high school shooting in 1999.” 2 Rachel Joy Scott’s story is about far more than her stand for God she is known for taking at the end of her life, though. This movie is raw emotion!
When you watch the film, it seems like a random array of chopped up scenes. They do not always have the best transition from scene to scene. But when you realize you are viewing events as described in a teenage girl’s private journals, that makes sense. It is Rachel’s story you are viewing, and it seems the move makers kept things true. For this reason you will be taken down the emotional valleys that this person really experienced. I’m not sure you could make a movie like this up. The emotions are too raw.
When we make Christian movies or stories, we highlight the good things. We make heroes out of men and women. When, in reality, I’d argue that most of the history of Christianity has been filled with average men and women who simply serve a great God. Rachel Scott’s account seems to have very little whitewashing. She is caught up in sin and doubt and lack of affection for God at times in a way that many other Christians have experienced but were afraid to talk about.
The insight this movie gives into the pressures and difficulties facing a young Christian lady in 1999 are startling. I can only imagine it is even harder to walk the Christian talk in 2016! Praise Jesus for His saving grace.
What I most noticed about this movie which I will apply to all of us is the reality that none of us really lives as if it could be ours or our loved one’s last day. The depiction of the events of April 20, 1999 prior to the Columbine High School shooting will leave you wanting to kiss all your relatives and tell them you love them. And the reality that people young and old may be standing before God even today is enough to motivate me to more urgently dispense the gospel.
I really hope you will see this film about Rachel Scott. Her life is worth hearing about.
Unfortunately, there are some aspects to the film I must criticize. I can overlook the bits of bad theology. If they were really exhibiting Rachel’s thoughts, then I can accept that a recently converted 17 year old girl who didn’t appear to have solid discipleship espoused some errant ideas. I hope you can overlook bits and pieces of things that aren’t perfect teaching.
What I can’t understand is why a movie that is supposed to be about Christianity would have young men and women locking lips to act out kissing. Look, I understand, it is a biography and not everything depicted is ‘holy.’ But you can depict beer drinking without actually imbibing; you can depict an argument without having a heart full of anger. You can depict lots of sin without actually sinning against God, since sin starts in the heart.
But you cannot depict sexual acts by actually performing them and say it is just acting. I am sorry for the people who gave away a piece of themselves in the name of acting for this movie. And, aside from that, the depictions were more than a bit sensual. I fear that someone who is weak in the area of fighting temptation to lust could easily be led into sin, even if only in their mind, as the result of the sensuality displayed – which was really going on.
I will make a plea. A final argument that if you are performing a play or a movie or whatever it is: you can find a way to show that someone kissed without actually compromising the purity of the actors. Had this movie been made 30 years ago, it would have been boycotted by Christians. But it is a sign of the times that this is acceptable, and, frankly, what was done in this film is really minor compared to what you might even see in a commercial or a billboard while driving to work.
The little research I’ve done has yielded wonderful faith that the movie really was an accurate depiction of real life events. I have to be careful drawing assumptions about Rachel or other characters in the movie who the movie wasn’t about because, as well done as it was, the movie is only a part of the story.
I do believe that a discerning Christian can enjoy this movie for what it is, a biography of a young lady who, amidst struggles and temptation, was kept faithful by our Father in Heaven, and by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. It is truly by faith alone that we are justified and by God’s Spirit that we are sealed. Rachel’s private struggles made public teach us that even the faintest of us will be made strong for the day of battle by His grace.
John 10:27-28 [Jesus speaking] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.