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Matthew 7:1-6
Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you (Matthew 7:6).

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Read Proverbs 7:1-5 to see the wisdom Jesus is drawing from. Read Matthew 5:38-48 for other directions on dealing with difficult people.

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How should you respond to people who only want to argue? How will you love such people, while putting boundaries around their abusive ways?

I have always been perplexed by today’s reading in Matthew 7. What are these “pearls” being spoken of and who are the “pigs” we’re not to throw them to?

One suggestion is that the pearl is the kingdom of God (see Matthew 13:45), and so a common explanation of this verse goes like this: There’s a beastly group of people for whom the gospel is not to be shared. They will only trample on our good news and, by doing so, cheapen it.

This explanation has never sat well with me. First, Jesus isn’t teaching the apostles whom to preach to (He’ll do that in Matthew 10). He’s talking to the “crowds” about living in the kingdom (Matthew 4:23–5:1, Matthew 7:24-29). How would this phrase help them do that? Second, Jesus has already taught that God is gracious to the unrighteous (Matthew 5:43-48), and all of us are “unholy,” yet God still offered the gospel to us. Third, Jesus said these words after teaching us not to condemn people (Matthew 7:1-5). What do His words mean in this relational context?

I think Jesus is talking about correction here. Followers of Jesus will have disagreements with others. We’re not to condemn people (Matthew 7:1-2), or be blind to our own faults (Matthew 7:3-4), but we’re to bring humble correction when needed (Matthew 7:5). But Jesus is realistic. There will be some who will not listen to any correction—even when the words are from God Himself. As Matthew 7:1-6 says, such people will repay correction with abuse. They will tear us to pieces (Matthew 7:6). Beware of them.

As I write this devo, I’m dealing with a difficult commenter on my blogsite. This person has been writing inflammatory statements that I have tried repeatedly (and patiently) to correct. But to no avail—the harsh words continue. It may now be time for me to stop replying.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Exodus 19:1-25

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8 Responses to “pearls to pigs”

  1. pampauley65 says:

    You are right about not replying further. He is trampling your pearls into the mud. I loved this post.

  2. daisymarygoldr says:

    You are right; Jesus is talking about correction, in a sense. Matthew 7:1-6 is His teaching about judgment. He is forbidding us to judge by our standard. This means I should not judge someone for being abusive when I myself am an abusive person. We are taught to judge with righteous judgment based on the standard of God’s eternal truth— which is the pearl. And it is in this context Jesus tells us to not extend His Holy and good judgments to dogs and swine that don’t value His teachings.

    And who are the dogs and swine? Peter describes them as people who escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They have been washed and made clean. However their filthy nature remains unchanged. They go back like a pig that returns to the mud and get tangled up and enslaved by sin again (2 Peter 2: 20-22). Those who deliberately continue sinning after having received knowledge of the truth have trampled on the Son of God, and treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy (Hebrews 10:26-29).

    Sheridan Voysey I’m not sure if the difficult commenter on your blog fits the description provided in 2 Peter 2. Just plain arguing on a blog, can be easily handled; you do have the means to moderate— or more better still block abusive comments :) It is just harsh words. Nobody is frying you in a boiler of heated oil or feeding you to hungry lions. So, there is no need to barricade behind boundaries.

    Think about all those who never had any option when tortured, jeered at, their backs cut open with whips, chained in prisons, sawed in half, stoned to death and killed with the sword. Consider all that the Lord endured for you and me. The right response to inflammatory sentence is patient endurance. Deal the issue with grace and godly wisdom, so that the name of Christ will not be maligned but is lifted up and honored through your conduct in the blogging world.

  3. As I’ve replied above, I think Jesus is drawing from Proverbs 9:7-9 here, about not correcting mockers, rather than any reference to martyrdom. If this is true, then there is a time to stop the conversation, but only after exhausting all other options.

    • daisymarygoldr says:

      Sheridan Voysey, sorry if my comment was not clear. Jesus’ reference to pearls and pigs is for followers who have reverted back to their old sinful ways and does not apply to disagreement. My note on martyrdom was meant for you on how to handle disagreement on a blog; and is not related to the main topic. Proverbs 9:7-9 does apply to your case.

  4. bluefigtoast says:

    This type of diatribe is more popularly known as a “flame war.” I run a technical blog for Linux, and I got into a flame war when I did a less-then-spectacular review of an operating system.

    This person was very derogatory towards me, and disrespected me.

    In situations like this, it helps to remember that self-worth is not dependent on what this one person thinks. It is dependent on what God says about us.

    Wayno

  5. andyrogers says:

    This is a great post, Sheridan. These verses in Matthew have always befuddled me too. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

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