September 11, 2013 —
Local school districts and sponsors should be commended for taking part in “Rachel’s Challenge” [see the story on page 16]. It is good that our children learn the values of kindness and compassion—a counter viewpoint to the “me first (and only?)” view so prevalent today.
Rachel’s Challenge is a self-described “non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization” that was created in memory of the first student killed at the Columbine High School shooting, Rachel Joy Scott.
Teaching children to be nice to others raises the question “why should we be nice to one another?”
Real kindness and compassion aren’t based on “we’re supposed to,” or “that’s the policy,” or karma or “what goes around comes around.”
Rachel Scott cared for others because it’s what God commands believers to do, and that’s what Jesus Christ demonstrated when he allowed himself to be executed for our sins. And Rachel believed in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
To be used in public schools, Rachel’s Challenge couldn’t reference Rachel’s deep belief in Jesus. Yet, Rachel’s actions and writings bear an unabashed witness to belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. You can read her writings at www.racheljoyscott.com .
As her parents, the founders of Rachel’s Challenge, wrote in 2009: “Rachel loved God, and she had an overpowering urge to communicate that love to everyone she knew. She didn’t beat people over the head with her Bible, and she never coerced anyone into faith. Instead, she shared her faith by living her life to the full, praying that others would see the divine light that burned so brightly within her heart.”
Rachel demonstrated kindness and compassion in the midst of classmates rejecting her and her faith. She grasped the life-changing truth that Jesus, who was God himself, came to earth to die for her sins and the sins of the whole world. That faith in Jesus is the only way to have peace during this life (which she obviously had), assured hope in an eternity spent with God, and a passion for others to experience the same satisfaction and fulfillment.
This underscores the importance of not just doing good deeds and treating people well, but of doing such actions to God’s glory, not our own. Any righteous deed we do comes as the result of God within us, not from ourselves.
So, let us be willing, as Rachel Scott said, to start a chain reaction—a chain-reaction in Jesus Christ.
[Steve Fountain is a resident of Honesdale, PA.]
Editor’s note: This week’s feature article about Rachel’s Challenge (see page 16) lists local programs and dates.