It’s been 17 years since Beth Nimmo lost her daughter Rachel Joy Scott in the shooting at Columbine High School. Time will not make the loss less painful, but this year Ms. Nimmo is ready to share some precious pieces of Rachel’s life in a new film by Pure Flix Entertainment, I'm Not Ashamed.
Many Americans are aware of what transpired in the last moments of Rachel's life. On April 20,1999, two of her fellow classmates approached her with their firearms and asked her if she still believed in God. When she looked at them and said, “You know I do,” they responded, “Then go be with him,” before shooting and killing her. Her bold faith became an inspiration to Christians everywhere.
I'm Not Ashamed tells the story of how Rachel became a Christian, using several of her own writings and drawings that illustrate just how she was able to practice her faith so boldly.
Nimmo told Townhall she was a little apprehensive about the film at first, but she is “very pleased” with how authentic the movie turned out. She had kind words for Masey McLain, the actress who plays her daughter in the film. To prepare for the leading role, McLain studied Rachel’s journals and prayed on set in order to portray her as accurately as she could.
“Duck Dynasty’s” Sadie and Korie Robertson also make cameos in the film in what Nimmo described as the most important scene – the moment Rachel accepts Jesus as her savior.
It goes without saying how much Ms. Nimmo’s daughter’s diary entries means to her.
“I’ve seen those ever since Rachel died,” Nimmo explained. “That was a catalyst for why this movie needed to be told.”
Nimmo says Rachel's writings prove she had a “burden for the lost.”
“She wrote about touching people’s hearts,” Nimmo explained. “Her love for the Lord really radiated how she treated people. I think a lot of her writing, especially when she’s talking to God. God used her to be a light. To reach kids, especially her peers who are in despair, facing a lot of obstacles and didn’t really have direction in their life. I think she wanted to show them Jesus was the answer for so many of those things.”
Nimmo has forgiven her daughter’s killers. She said it’s what Rachel would have wanted.
“First of all, it’s scriptural,” Nimmo explained. “As a believer, I want to be obedient to the word. Secondly, I want to represent Rachel because that would be her heart to do so. She would have been the first to say, ‘Mom, please forgive.' Thirdly, I do it because April 20, 1999 was a life sentence for Rachel. And I didn’t want to make it my life sentence.”
“When you hold on to anger and resentment, you’ve really locked yourself down to that point of not being able to move forward,” she added. “I was determined that what happened to me that day would not define the rest of my life.”
The act of forgiving, Nimmo was sure to note, does not mean she’s saying it’s okay what happened. It’s allowing herself to move forward.
It’s also a process. Nimmo shared that she still has to practice forgiving because she sees or hears things that trigger negative emotions.
If you couldn’t tell from the title, I'm Not Ashamed was filmed with the hope of emboldening Christians to wear their faith on their sleeves.
“We’re hoping to do more than just present a film and tell Rachel’s story,” Nimmo said. “We’re hoping to really start a movement and for kids to champion their faith.”
Speaking out about one’s faith is increasingly difficult in today’s culture, she lamented. She put part of the blame on the rise of social media, which she says is “trying to redefine who we are as a country” and “redefine the role of parents.”
As for the PC police, Nimmo is not a fan.
“I’m one that I don’t care about being politically correct,” she insisted. “The purpose of that is to silence truth. We're afraid to address what’s real, what’s really happening. I don’t step away from saying what I believe.”
It’s harder, however, for children to do that. Rachel understood that, Nimmo said. Her daughter often chronicled the struggles of being a Christian at school and how kids mocked her.
It’s time to change the conversation and offer Christians their own safe space.
“It’s going to take working together,” Nimmo said. “We want kids to know they’re not alone, they’re not isolated. There’s a lot of Rachels out there that really love the Lord and want to be impacting their school and their community but they feel overwhelmed because they don’t realize there are others who feel that way.”
I'm Not Ashamed is in theaters this Friday, October 21.