Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Casting Pearls Before Swine!

Meditation for the week of December 2, 2012

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

Bible interpretation is an interesting art.  As we read commentaries and listen to preaching, it is obvious to me that we tend to interpret the Bible so that it says what we want it to say.  I am sure that I have done this many times myself even though I try to let the Scriptures explain the Scriptures.  We often interpret according to the ditty,  “Wonderful things in the Bible I see, Things put there by you and by me!”  For those raised in a good Sunday School, they know that the ditty should say, “Wonderful things in the Bible I see and this is the dearest that Jesus loved me.” 

Because of this problem of interpretation, there are some verses over the years that I have had to admit that I didn’t understand.  I have just left some of these passages on the “back burner” waiting for something to come along and open my spiritual eyes so that I could understand them.  Often when I do find out what the verse really means, the gem of truth that I have been missing is quite beautiful while the forced interpretations of the passage are anything but beautiful.  One of the passages that I never understood had to do “heaping coals of fire” on your enemy by doing him good instead of harm (Romans 12:20).  I used to think that the Lord would vehemently judge the person we treated right when that person treated us wrong.  For some reason, that interpretation never satisfied me.  One day, I realized that this just meant that our enemy would be publicly embarrassed and humiliated if we did right by him.  That might be a better reason for getting him to change his behavior than a future judgment by the Lord.  The picture is that of someone whose head is red and sweating.

Whenever we read things into the Scripture that are not there we take power and joy away from what could be a vibrant relationship with the Lord.  The passage for today is one example.  Many have taught over the years that there are certain people to whom we should not preach the Gospel.  They maintain that it will do more harm than good and that these people just want to know how Christians think so that they can destroy us.  According to them, we would be casting pearls before swine.  Others think that there are some precious truths in the Bible that we Christians should not share with certain kinds of wicked unbelievers because they will just use those truths against us.  However, the Lord produced a whole Bible and has made it universally available, at least in the countries where people can read.  He didn’t tear sections out before giving it to some people nor is there a special clasp on the Bible that only certain people can open.  He has made the Bible available to ALL.  In addition he has commissioned the Christian to preach to Gospel to “every created human (Mark 16:15).”

When studying this verse, I began to realize that it has to do with judging and not with preaching the Gospel.  In the first part of the section we are told not to judge in a way that we would not want to be judged.  In other words, we should not judge hypocritically because the Lord is going to hold us to the standard that we set for others.  This first part of Matthew 7 is not a passage telling us NOT to judge but a passage telling us HOW to judge.  Then in this verse, he tells us WHO should do the judging.  When we have unbelievers judge things that only believers should be judging, that is when we are giving holy things to dogs and casting pearls before swine.  Paul deals with this in 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 where he tells the Corinthian church that they should suffer wrong rather than allowing the unsaved to judge things that only Christians should be judging.  I have seen lawsuits filed by Christians before unsaved judges in our courts of law that should have and could have been mediated by other Christians.  All that came of it was that the unsaved became rich and our Christian testimony was marred.   I think that whenever we use the unsaved to judge things that only the saved should be judging, we are casting our pearls before swine.  When we fight the right battles the wrong way and in the wrong places, we tend to polarize good and evil.  We make things worse and not better.

This verse has reaffirmed my conviction that the business of Christians is to preach the Gospel and to leave the world and the world systems alone.  We should not expect the unsaved to sympathize with our principles or point of view.  But when the Gospel takes hold of the unsaved and convinces and converts them, then they will be helpful in advancing the cause of Christ and of Christians.

Bruce Collins

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