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A minister and an atheistic barber were once walking through the city slums. Said the barber to the preacher: “This is why I cannot believe in a God of love. If God was as kind as you say, He would not permit all this poverty, disease and squalor: He would not allow these bums to be addicted to dope and other character destroying habits. No, I cannot believe in a God who permits these things.”

The minister was silent until they met a man who was especially unkempt and filthy. His hair was hanging down his neck, and he had a half-inch of stubble on his face. Said the minister: “You can’t be a very good barber or you wouldn’t permit a man like that to continue living in this neighborhood without a haircut or shave.”

Indignantly the barber answered: “Why blame me for that man’s condition? I can’t help it that he is like that. He has never given me a chance to help him. If he would only come to my shop, I could fix him up and make him look like a gentleman!

Giving the barber a penetrating look, the minister said: “Then don’t blame God for allowing these people to continue in their evil ways when He is constantly inviting them to come and be saved. The reason these people are slaves to sin and evil habits is that they refuse the One who died to save and deliver them.”