How to Be Beautifully Broken | Featuring Rachelle Starr

How Christians Can Respond to a Sexually Broken World

In The End of Me video series, Kyle Idleman highlights the testimony of Rachelle Starr to demonstrate the power of brokenness and wholeness.

Rachelle grew up in a stable, Christian home, but drifted from the Lord in early adulthood. Despite a healthy marriage and a thriving career, Rachelle felt something was missing. “It was never enough,” she shares in the first video of The End of Me video series. “This is not why I exist,” she remembers thinking.

When God began to work on the hearts of Rachelle and her husband, he did so in unique and unexpected ways. One day, she was struck by the impression that God was calling her to minister his love to women in the sex industry. In a moment, Rachelle was given her calling: to serve females in the sex industry and offer them the hope of Jesus Christ.

Finding Jesus in a Strip Club

After about a year and a half of prayer, fasting, research, and conversation, Rachelle was trying to find a name for her new ministry. After reading of Esther’s scarlet-colored rope on her robe in the Old Testament, she thought about that word scarlet.

But then she also felt the Lord telling her to get to work—this week, today, right now!

Sometime later, Rachelle found herself in a strip club with a young woman who was looking for work in order to feed her five children. She had been drinking all day to silence the shame of taking her clothes off for strangers. And then after getting some food, she immediately vomited all over Rachelle.

We think what will satisfy us is pursuing our own desires, wants, needs—finding happiness for ourselves. But remember: Jesus takes everything we thought we knew, and he turns it upside down.

Learn more about The End of Me by Kyle Idleman

There’s a Blessing for the Broken

The first beatitude is about reaching the end of yourself—“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit is to be at the end of ourselves, to have nothing left to offer. And Jesus says that’s where God’s blessing will meet you.

Rachelle continued to serve and love this woman, despite the vomit, embarrassment, and club owner’s rebuke. As Rachelle shared the love of Christ with her, this woman gave her life to Jesus and fell to her knees in prayer. After praying, the woman exclaimed in joy, “I just met Jesus here!”

As the woman began to leave the strip club with the outrageous love of God now burning in her heart, Rachelle asked for her name. The woman replied, “My name is Scarlet.”

The Gospel and the Prostitute

He looked through this woman’s history of poor decisions, grave mistakes, and outright sin. He looked into her heart and saw her need.

In Luke 7:36-50, we read of Jesus’s encounter with two very different people.

The first character is a Pharisee named Simon. He has invited Jesus and many other friends over to his house for a theological discussion.

He’s interested in Jesus’s teachings but isn’t sure if he really believes that Jesus is who he says he is. And so, he shares his food and table with Jesus but otherwise doesn’t show much hospitality.

While this group of well-educated, respectable men are eating together, a woman off the streets—a biblical euphemism for a prostitute—comes in. This is our second character. The bible says:

“As she stood at [Jesus’s] feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them.” (Luke 7:38)

Now, this is an awkward situation. It would have been awkward for almost everyone in the room. But it wasn’t awkward for Jesus. He looked through this woman’s history of poor decisions, grave mistakes, and outright sin. He looked into her heart and saw her need.

She believed in Jesus, needed Jesus, and poured out her life for him. Sensing the religious leaders’ disdain, Jesus began to tell a story.

“Simon, I have something to tell you… Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” (v40-42)

Brokenness_to_wholeness by City on a Hill Studio

The answer is clear, and Simon gets the response right: “The one who had the bigger debt forgiven” (v43). Jesus then describes the meaning of the parable:

  • Simon did not greet Jesus with a kiss, and this woman couldn’t stop kissing his feet.
  • Simon didn’t offer Jesus fresh water to wash up, yet this woman had provided her very own tears.
  • Simon didn’t give a drop of perfume to freshen up, but this woman has poured out her most treasured possession in a sort of anointing ceremony.

The point? Jesus announces, “Her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (v47).

The Love of the Forgiven

Jesus’s gentle, healing love for the sinful woman overwhelmed her. She knew she was a sinner—it was plain for everyone to see. And she represents the opposite side of Jesus’s statement: Whoever has been forgiven much, loves much.

The one who has been completely broken will be beautifully healed.

Anyone who has experienced the forgiveness of Christ has been forgiven of their entire lifetime of sins. Yet for someone who thinks their sins are little—or for someone who doesn’t think they even need forgiveness, like Simon—their love for Jesus will be small.

But for one who knows they have been forgiven of much, they will love much.

This woman had nothing to offer and everything to receive. She was one who was truly poor in spirit. She was at the end of herself and was willing to lay herself down. In the presence of Jesus, she experienced true love and forgiveness.

The one who has been completely broken will be beautifully healed.

What might this mean for you today—even now? How can you pray to receive a deep awareness of Jesus’s forgiveness for you? How might you acknowledge your brokenness and find healing in his presence?


The End of Me Bible Study by City on a Hill Studio in Louisville, KY

Do you long for a deep, authentic relationship with Jesus?

Here’s a hint: The end of you is the beginning.

In this four-week devotional study, return to the first-century hillside with Jesus and the disciples. Sit among the crowd and listen in on Jesus’s words afresh. Receive his invitation to come to the end of yourself and find what you’ve always been searching for. Learn more about The End of Me now!

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