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This Little Piggy Wears Pearls

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Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. ~ Matthew 7:6

What is Jesus talking about here?

I have heard this used as a reason not to preach the gospel to folks, as though telling someone about the amazing grace and love of the Father toward them would constitute not only a waste of time, but a breach of the Master’s will.

Though the gospel clearly qualifies as something holy, and would be a candidate for “pearl of great price” status, we know this can’t be the case since Jesus said “Preach the gospel to every creature” this would clearly include the aforementioned dogs and pigs.

So what is He talking about? A prophetic word? Some deep revelation? That is the way I have taught this in the past, but today I noticed something.

Context! Every translation I have looked at has this in the paragraph, the same train of thought as His discourse on judgment.

It flows like this:

Don’t judge unless you are ready to be judged.

Before you point out someone else’s faults, inspect and correct your own life.

Don’t try to correct the dogs and pigs.

In this context let’s take a fresh look at how we might apply this.

First, in this context who are the dogs and pigs? I am thinking – dogs and pigs are a different species.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ~ 1 Corinthians 5:17

When you receive Christ, you are changed completely right down to your innermost being – you are a new species. No longer a dog unable to understand, no longer a pig, addicted to every sort of filth.

You are a God man with the Spirit of the creator at work on the inside.

The second big thought here is that godly correction – a brother or sister coming along side you and helping you to get the speck or plank out of your eye – is not just helpful. In the context, it is holy and precious.

David said it this way

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds. ~ Psalm 141:5

This is a big deal. We need to understand this. So many Christians get their nose out of joint because someone was picking at their lifestyle, or choices, when in reality it is a healing balm.

Clearly we need to learn to administer such holy and precious ointment in a way that brings no harm.

I believe what the Lord is saying is that when we try to correct the behavior and habits of those who don’t know him, we are putting that which is holy before those who can’t understand, and we are tossing the precious pearls of correction down where they will not only be misunderstood, but they will create offence, and the pigs will turn and attack.

I believe the body of Christ (me in particular) could be helped immensely if we would learn to give and receive godly mature advice in a way that is non-toxic.

One last gleaning from this verse. Don’t be surprised when you criticize the world for being, well, worldly, that it turns around and goes on the attack.

The Lord calls us to bring the light and life of the gospel to every creature, but He does not advocate trying to bring moral conformity to them.

When we attempt to change the actions of people without changing their hearts, we end up either with them turning and tearing us apart, or we get a culture of morality which will cause the lost to feel saved, and miss Christ entirely.

What do you think about this? Do our efforts to curb bad behavior backfire on us?

BenSee you again soon


0 thoughts on “This Little Piggy Wears Pearls

  1. cycleguy

    You said something near the end that stuck out to me. So many become Christ-followers and don't realize they will be tested. Their so-called friends might call them out. They will make enemies. I am not talking about being obnoxious, but there will be those who "hate." That is, after all, what Jesus said would happen. Expect it.

    1. Ben Nelson

      So true - I am always struck by Jesus words in John 16 - they will think their doing God a favor when they kill you (my paraphrase) - like Saul/Paul thought he was doing the work of God when he was hunting down Christians. - Thanks Pastor.

  2. noordinaryjoy61

    This was a very insightful post, Ben. I think it's critical context to what we as Christians are called to do... and what we're not called to do. Our default 'wiring' is set to legalism when it's grace that holds the power to changing lives.

    1. Ben Nelson

      Well said Joy - my inner Pharisee rises up all the time trying to get folks with no relationship with God to act as though they had one, and those who do to act - well - not like me.
      thank you!

  3. Larry Who

    Working in construction, auto sales, delivering pizza, and various other labor positions taught me not try to change people's ways without allowing the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to open doors of opportunity for me and waited until He did.

  4. mtsweat

    I believe you've nailed this one dead on Ben. It is the gospel that the world desperately needs. The sanctification process is for the saved. It really confuses the gospel to no ends to try and sanctify the lost. The gospel says, "You can't do anything. God has done it all." We're simply putting the cart before the horse and asking the impossible when we demand moral improvement of the dead. We are to be vessels of the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost, and disciple-making disciples of the saved. Great words friend. Blessings.

  5. jaels

    Wow, wow, and wow, Bro Ben. Great message, and the final paragraph sums up splendidly. Culture of morality, the lost missing out on Jesus--crystal clear point. God bless you BIG.

  6. Debbie

    Thank you, Mr. Ben, for helping us with that verse! And for helping me in the days ahead , to not try to share things with unbelievers that they just won't be able to understand. God bless you and yours!
    p.s. I, too, really loved the piggy! 🙂

  7. cshowers

    OK - the pig with the pearls was priceless... but it did not wear the pearl of great price right? 😉

    Excellent teaching, and what awesome revelation. I learned from this lesson, and I'm so glad you posted it! I've looked at this scripture for many years, and I know that trying to share the word with those who only want to argue against it is like casting your pearls before swine, and that it's better not to argue... but this takes it even deeper, and Holy Spirit within me testifies that what you have written here is truth... when we try to conform the world to live according to biblical standards, it is like expecting a dog not to take that which is holy and make it filthy, or like giving pearls to pigs, and expecting them not to wallow around in the mud, when that is their nature, because they haven't become new creatures... Beautiful...

    Thank you so much, my brother, for this enlightenment, and for being obedient to the Lord and sharing it with us.

    Much love,

    1. Ben Nelson

      Boy, if i could get all the wasted argument back, i would have volumes - the man who brought me to the Lord and discipled me always told me "Don't debate, demonstrate" and so i have to get back to that on a regular basis.

      Thanks for the kind words Cheryl.



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