Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. – Matthew 7:6
Jesus made this statement after those He made concerning judgment. It seems connected. If the judgements that we make are correct and of God, then there is going to be some wisdom and value to these judgments. However, if we give these judgments to people who will hate them, then we can expect to be hated. Perhaps even slandered or persecuted.
Why would Jesus say this, knowing that His people are going to experience many turning on them for speaking the things of God? Aren’t we supposed to proclaim good and true things boldly, especially those that pertain to the Kingdom of God which Jesus later calls a “pearl of great price?”
There is a time to speak up about what is good and true and there is a time to be silent. Sometimes we speak up, knowing full well what the outcome will be. Even if it is one that means difficulty or suffering on our part. Sometimes, it is better to refrain yourself.
Some people cannot be reached and you know this to be true. Sometimes that is because they are an enemy who you know will do harm in some way if faced with some truth, so you just keep silent.
Sometimes people just aren’t ready for hard truth, so you wait until a better time because you love them and you trust in the Lord’s timing. Jesus did that when He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.” However, He was not talking to dogs and swine, but those He loved. Not exactly the same thing.
Sometimes it is better to concentrate your efforts on those who are more likely to hear. Once they are reached, then move on to others if the Lord leads. If no one hears and it is a matter of great importance, it might be time to speak to all people in general. Especially if the Lord commands it. Even if it means dire consequences. Jesus also states, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
So, we should cast that which is holy to the dogs and our pearls before swine sometimes?
This does not seem to be a cut-and-dry matter, unless I’m misunderstanding what Jesus is talking about in the first place. I do not think He was saying this as a command so much as a statement about the nature of mankind. He knows what happens to those who stand up for good things. Jesus also said to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We have to use good judgment in all things, lest we suffer needlessly.
This is an especially difficult thing to consider in our digital age. Those of us who publish online have no control over who will view the things we create, including our enemies. Sometimes our enemies are the ones who pay the most attention to us, hoping to trap us in our words or find a reason to accuse us.
In any case, there is always one thing that we can do when dealing with a matter that is nuanced. We can pray. We can seek the Lord always and trust in His lead. We don’t always perceive that He is leading and we don’t always know exactly what He is doing with us, but we can trust that His was are good, He is in control, and He will cause His servants to fulfill the duties for which they were created. Even if they do not really understand what they are.
Sometimes all that we can do is take it one day at a time and prayerfully attempt to be good stewards over the things we received of the Lord. If we receive knowledge of His teachings, His expectations and will for us, or His judgements, we might have some responsibility to make these known even if it results in “giving that which is holy to the dogs” or “casting your pearls before swine.”
If this is the case, and if we find ourselves surrounded by enemies as a result, we can trust in the mercy of God for us in Jesus Christ. He might make a way for us to pass through our enemies like He did many times. He might give us words of wisdom that no one can resist like He spoke many times. He also might call us to lay our lives down and trust in the resurrection, just as He trusted in and submitted to the will of the Father.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.
PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged (Part 3) – Reward Her Even As She Rewarded You
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