About Pearls (Part 2)
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6)
Pigs are some of the smartest domesticated animals we have. They also run really fast (faster than you’d think) and they have a great sense of smell. But in some cultures and contexts pigs have a bad reputation. Like in Matthew 7:6 where Jesus talks about throwing pearls before the pigs and warning his disciples not to do that.
What does that verse mean for us? Many people have interpreted this as a way to justify not sharing the good news of Jesus with people we don’t deem fit to receive it. I don’t quite agree with that, because, in my understanding, everyone is worthy of salvation and redemption in Christ, because of Christ. It’s not up to me to judge (Matthew 7:1-5) who gets the opportunity to hear the good news, or who is worthy of unconditional love. That’s God’s job. Mine is to love God by loving my neighbour as myself.
This seemingly isolated verse is more likely to be a link between the preceding verses (about not judging others) and the following verses (about asking and receiving). It may just be the way Jesus emphasizes how we should share the Gospel: not in a judgmental, forceful kind of way, but in humility and love. There will always be more pearls to share (if we think of pearls as an analogy for love), even if the pigs trample them. That’s the way Jesus did it. That’s probably how we should do it to.
I think Jesus’ words are reminding us today that forcing morality in the name of the Gospel on someone is as ineffective and even destructive to building God’s kingdom as not loving people. So… who will you love today?