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Pearls and Pigs

"Do not throw your pearls before pigs"

(Matthew 7:6 ESV)

Today, we journey again to the Sermon on the Mount - this time to explore Jesus’ counsel not to offer sacred things to dogs or give pearls to pigs (Matthew 7:6). It is an arresting phrase and one which offers us vital insight into motives and wisdom.

During the period of Jewish New Year in 2019, I carved space to ‘do business’ with God - to have a spiritual detox! As part of this, I asked God to show me people, places or things that should not be part of my life or close to me. He revealed two people; one was expected, but the other, who had shown me much kindness, was a surprise. I remember he clearly said “do not share intimacies with this person, for they are not of me, so cannot understand. It is like giving your pearls to pigs”.

This was some word! I wondered if I had heard correctly, given the individual concerned and the strength of the counsel, and remained unsure how to proceed. About six months later, this very person sent me a jarringly ugly message. So shaken was I that I shared it with a close friend and we prayed. The Lord comforted me, but he also gave me a sense that maybe he had permitted this message as exposure, recalling his previous warning. For indeed, in Matthew 7, the Lord tells us that if we cast our pearls before pigs they may "trample them underfoot and then turn to attack you" (ESV). Some translations say "tear you to pieces”. And so it was. The unwelcome message confirmed that I had indeed discerned correctly the previous autumn. It also offered me a glimpse into the heart of someone I had thought sincere. The heart that God always saw.

In Proverbs 16, God says that all our ways may seem pure or innocent to us, but God himself sees our motives and thus judges our hearts. The Lord knew that sharing aspects of my life with this person was throwing my pearls to pigs. He saw what I came to see: that their kindness flowed from their desire to look good more than concern for me and that ultimately, they would turn and tear me to pieces. It is a barometer we must apply to our own hearts too.

Unequivocally, the Lord calls us to love others and to forgive, but alongside that, he calls us to be wise - including wise in the company we keep (see 1 Corinthians 15:33). Be open to his insight, a wisdom only he can bring. Like me, it may at first turn your thinking on its head, but it will protect your pearls - that which is precious to you and God - from being trampled by pigs.

Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2021

Scripture quotations are from The ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Dear Readers, how do you feel about this counsel from Matthew 7? Does it challenge your thinking or offer insight that can often escape us? I'd love to hear your views. Thanks for checking in.

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