“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
There is a lot to unpack in Who Am I?
The powerful 2018 film, produced by Strong Foundation Films and directed by Josiah David Warren (Run, The Prophet’s Son) highlights multiple heavy topics – homelessness, theft, suicide, human trafficking, abortion, teen pregnancy, adoption, abuse, rape, drugs, alcoholism, racism, religious acceptance, and gender identity.
Yes, the film discusses or, at the least, introduces each of these issues through several storylines that all converge in the one place where everyone is accepted – with God.
The movie’s plot revolves around Pastor Joe (Warren) and his church in San Antonio. The role Pastor Joe and his church play in the community is evident as many of the people he is called on to help aren’t members of his church.
Tasha Bennet (Amber Williams) started forging checks when she was eighteen. That crime quickly escalated into working as a madam, dealing drugs, and running with gangs and the mafia. After stabbing her partner in self-defense, Tasha was sentenced to 85 years. While in prison, she was sent to solitary confinement where God came to her and told her that she was going to hell if she didn’t straighten things out in her life.
Her lawless past is the not the only issue weighing on Tasha’s mind. She is struggling to find answers to her sexual identity.
When Tasha is released from prison early, she seeks the counsel of Pastor Joe, who serves as her spiritual mentor. Joe asks if she would share her testimony about accepting Jesus while she was in prison with the inmates at the local jail.
Tasha, who has been in and out of jail 45 times, shares her story: “One day I accepted Jesus. He came to me and I accepted Him and now my life is abundant with love and that’s what I want … I want that for all of you because I’m so satisfied now in Him. God has more in store for all of you.”
Her mom, step-dad, and brother also have their own personal demons they have to confront, inspired somewhat by the transformation they see in Tasha.
Michelle (Emily Rose Tablizo) – a 19-year-old Muslim girl who is three months present – shows up on Pastor Joe’s doorstep. The girl tells Pastor Joe and his wife Violet (Alexis Noel Warren) that she is interested in getting an abortion.
She is scared and doesn’t know what to do, explaining that she is Muslim and that her family, who doesn’t know about the pregnancy, would kill her if they knew she was talking to a pastor. Pastor Joe tells her that he knows it is a hard choice and it is her choice to make, but that she should let the child live as he is wonderfully formed and a miracle. He explains to her that whatever choice she makes, the church will be there for her.
Sisters Linda and Tammy are victims of human trafficking. In the movie, both girls find themselves pregnant after being raped. When Linda is taken to Grace House – a faith-based transition home for women at risk – after a suicide attempt, she requests to speak to a pastor. Pastor Joe shows up to talk with her, but she isn’t ready to open up. Tammy, meanwhile, lives with their alcoholic mother and her boyfriend – one of the men in charge of the trafficking ring. Joe and Violet’s adopted daughter befriends Tammy at school after several mean girls harass her for smelling and being unkempt.
Pastor Joe tells his wife that because of all that Tasha has gone through in her life she is an overcomer and that heaven is for the overcomers.
“All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of My God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name” (Revelation 3:12).
In truth, Tasha isn’t the only overcomer in Who Am I? Linda, Tammy, and Michelle are overcomers too.
Who Am I? broaches issues that are often hard to discuss, but regardless of how uncomfortable they are, they’re issues the church and society cannot ignore. Although the movie’s title asks a question that can have several answers, by developing a relationship with God one answer is that you are a child of God … and an overcomer.
John Farrell is a Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org.
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