Francis Schaeffer uses the illustration of “taking the roof off” in reference to dismantling intellectual safety structures which we build to protect ourselves from reality itself. We convince ourself that a lie is true. We ignore the facts which make us uncomfortable. We do this in order to live a life of our choosing, namely one where God does not occupy his rightful place. Reality has a way of coming crashing down on us, so we build a roof to shelter us. We protect ourselves.
If it is true that we believe lies or ignore parts of God’s reality, then the most loving thing that someone can do is to take that roof off and allow us to feel reality as it really is, to experience the rain as well as the sun. Until that roof is gone we live with a false security.
But taking the metaphor a bit further, we can critique our own flawed methodology. If someone arrived at my home and began yelling and mocking me for my roof, I would not sit and listen to them. If they began punching holes in my roof without permission, I would be inclined to call the authorities.
Yet that is often what we think of when it comes to apologetics. The loving act of providing a reasonable critique of the world’s lies and defense of the gospel is not done through one liners, angry shouting, or in televised debates with skilled orators. It is done with boldness and grace, fervor and love. It is done when some level of trust has been built.
If someone were to come to my home and point out rotten spots in my roof, showing where the structure was compromised and the materials disintegrated, I would begin to listen to their solutions. I wouldn’t expect less from an inspector, and I for sure wouldn’t expect less when it comes to my worldview.