Learning the Hard Way


by Sean McDowell

Have you ever sent an email, text, or some other message you wished you could take back right after pushing “send”? A few months after college graduation I was getting my hair cut in Breckenridge, Colorado. The lady cutting my hair noticed I was reading The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Leslie Newbigin.

Figuring I might know a little about theology, she asked if I could explain why there was so much evil in the world. Since I had just taken a class on apologetics, I decided to tell her everything I knew about why God might allow evil. Every time she had a question, I had a quick retort.

From my perspective the conversation was going great. But all of a sudden she started crying and said, “This is a bunch of &$%! You have an answer for everything. It can’t be that easy.” I was completely taken aback. This made me a bit nervous, especially since she was holding scissors next to my head! 

I've thought of this conversation many times and wished I could take back what I said. The problem was not what I said, but how I said it. As my college professors used to say, over 90% of communication is non-verbal. We communicate far more by our body posture and tone than with our words. Obviously, I was not communicating the grace and love that her question deserved. I cringe to think about how she views Christians because of her experience with me…


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