Home Christian News 25 Years After Columbine, Survivor Continues Turning Pain Into Purpose

25 Years After Columbine, Survivor Continues Turning Pain Into Purpose

“My belief is that each person’s spirit belongs to God,” said Scott. Referencing Proverbs 20:27, he said, “The life of a person is the candle of the Lord. That doesn’t say the life of a believer, the life of a Christ-follower. That says the life of every person … And we’re made fearfully, wonderfully in the image of God.” So when Scott addresses “that light that is within students,” he works to inspire good and to help kids translate anger into determination, and anxiety into excitement.

Craig Scott on Ministering to the Hurting

Scott reminds listeners that everybody needs encouragement. “And you don’t need to be somebody’s best friend to do that,” he said. “Just listen to your heart and step out.”

Pointing to Isaiah 50:4, Scott described his four-part discernment process: using the tongue of a disciple, in season, to speak a word, to someone who’s weary and ready to listen. Before every speaking engagement, he prays, “Who am I speaking to today?” and then pictures one person’s specific needs.

Asked for advice about ministering to people who are hurting, Scott emphasized the importance of following God’s nudging and boldly “speaking life” without being preachy. “Sit with someone, or take them to do something,” he advised. “Remember to harness the power of these four words: ‘Tell me your story.’”

Scott also warned against “pushing forgiveness at the wrong time,” saying, “You don’t have to jump straight to that, because there’s a time for emotion.” For Scott, the journey to forgiving his sister’s killers took a couple of years. It involved “letting go of my right to hate them,” he said.

People have misconceptions about forgiveness, Scott added. “You’re not saying what someone did is okay. And people who’ve hurt you don’t need to stay in your life.” But an attitude of forgiveness allows you to move on and translate negativity into positive action.

To the students now attending Columbine, the 1999 mass shooting is “history,” said Scott. To him, it represents pain that birthed compassion, a calling, and a profound sense of purpose. Although Rachel Scott’s life was cut short, her faith and story continue to have worldwide impact—something her brother says “would make her smile.”