“Do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” (Jesus – Matthew 7:6)
A few days ago I found something that I thought was really helpful and shared it on a social media site. Now, I take due diligence in reposting things I find on the internet – I am pretty careful that the subject matter is clear and concise, and that the person presenting their case is providing solid and biblical answers.
I expected people to respond to the post – what I didn’t expect was what I received. There were quite a few responses that were quite negative about the topic at hand. From “misleading” to “ignorant” to “combative” to “outright lies” — much of the feedback was virulent and angry. What is more, some of the responses began talking about things that weren’t even mentioned in the post (or if they were, they were a tiny part of the presentation). Needless to say, I got way more than I bargained for… and not in a good way.
What I thought was tremendously helpful (and appropriate for our current cultural climate) ending up being the proverbial match to start the fire. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I was stirring up that much controversy.
Just a few learning points…
First, a lesson… It is not so much what we say… or even how we say it… it is how people hear it. Even if our intentions are good, and our motives are right, someone who is not ready to receive what we have to say, will take our words and “trample them underfoot and turn and attack…” We all have a certain way of thinking (a mindset) that causes us to filter words and actions through that mindset. Our mindset controls our actions – and even controls how we process and react to what we see and hear. The real key is making certain that our mindset truly reflects our King and His Kingdom. But there are plenty of folks out there, whose minds are set on other agendas (whether they are aware, or not).
Second, a practical application. Jesus knew this. He admonished His disciples to take great care in selecting those to whom we share the “pearls” of the Kingdom. Not everyone is ready to receive God’s truth. Sometimes some simple discernment can prevent a lot of conflict, regretful words, and bruised feelings.
In the case of those who are not yet ready, perhaps a better course is to commit them to our prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to work on them, soften their hearts, crack a few holes in their thinking. Stand in their stead and lovingly intercede for them.
Here’s the thing… Most people are hardly ever aware where their thinking has taken them, or how deeply their thoughts have misled them — or control them. They think they are RIGHT in how they think – otherwise, a challenge to their thinking would not so mightily “upset the apple cart.”
Jesus did not intend to offend with His words about “pearls” and “swine” – He intended to inform us about the perils of our own naivete.
It’s a lesson that I am still learning…
Prayer focus: God, help me to discern those who are ready for the “pearls” of the Kingdom.