In 2004 an arrogant pro-life high school student attended a pro-life outreach at the University of Georgia. When he learned that the Center for Bioethical Reform was going to set up large signs with abortion images that day, the arrogant student saw it as an opportunity for him to put his studying to good use.
That morning he totally out-debated any pro-choice people willing to talk to him. The arrogant student wasn’t too obnoxious, because he was intelligent enough to know that he had to come across as sympathetic in order to accomplish his very clear objective: winning the arguments.
At lunchtime the arrogant student sat down with a few volunteers he hadn’t met before and they made light conversation about their experiences. The arrogant student commented that he couldn’t believe some of the things these “crazies” said. A wise volunteer very gently responded, “If you’re thinking of them as crazies, haven’t you already kind of lost?”
The arrogant student was incredibly indignant. “Of course I haven’t lost,” he thought. “I’ve won all of my arguments. There isn’t a pro-choice person on this campus that can take me. And besides, he doesn’t know how insane the people I’ve talked to are. They’re totally crazy.” He rationalized to himself that surely a high enough percentage of the people he had talked with qualified as crazy.
The arrogant student muttered something about how very right he was and then changed the subject, never looking at the wise volunteer again. He stewed about how out of line that volunteer was for reprimanding him so unjustly and tried to not think about it again.
But every now and then the wise volunteer’s words haunted the arrogant student. He received helpful mentorship over the next twelve years, and slowly became a little less arrogant and a little more concerned for helping people, and not just winning arguments. In that time he never forgot the wise volunteer’s words. In the hundreds of times he thought about it, he went from being angry, to being somewhat understanding, to sympathetic, to convicted, to embarrassed, to repentant, and finally to thankful.
I have no idea who that wise volunteer was. I intentionally avoided looking at him for the rest of that day, so it was easier to forget his face than his words. He was probably around thirty. If by any chance you know him, please reach out to me so I can thank him. God has used this incredibly gentle rebuke for years to soften my heart. It’s remarkable how much of an impact those unforgettable thirteen words have been.
If you’ve ever wondered if you can have a positive impact on a seemingly hopelessly arrogant stranger, trust me, I’ve been there, and you can. He might not appreciate it at the time and if your words ever do have a positive impact, you may never know it, but sometimes it’s worth trying.
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The post “The Anonymous Pro-Life Volunteer Who Changed My Life” originally appeared at the Equal Rights Institute blog. Subscribe to our email list with the form below and get a FREE gift. Click here to learn more about our pro-life apologetics course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations About Abortion.”