Note to Self: Meddle Not in the Affairs of Swine for You Are Crunchy and Good with Catsup!

The quote above is one that I have above my desk, but it refers to DRAGONS rather than swine, but I did this to match up with this great pearl of wisdom from Dallas Willard on Matthew 7:6:


“Do not,” he said, “give dogs sacred things to eat, nor try to get pigs to dine on pearls. For they will simply walk all over them and turn and take a bite out of you” (Matt. 7:6). The long-standard use of this verse is directly opposed to the spirit of Jesus and his teachings. That use suggests that we may have certain wonderful treasures, of truth and of service perhaps, that we could give to others. Perhaps the “treasure” is the very gospel itself. But there are some who are not worthy of those treasures. We have to watch for such people. Normally they are thought of as people who will not accept our “treasure” or would not use it rightly. They are the “pigs” or the “dogs” in question. And we are not to waste our good things on these worthless or evil people. So goes the standard reading of verse 6.

But it is hard to imagine anything more opposed to the spirit of Jesus than this. Indeed, the very coming of Christ, the pearl of God, into the world, would be a case of pearls before pigs thus understood. . .

The problem with pearls for pigs is not that the pigs are not worthy. It is not worthiness that is in question here at all, but helpfulness. Pigs cannot digest pearls, cannot nourish themselves upon them. Likewise for a dog with a Bible or a crucifix. The dog cannot eat it. The reason these animals will finally “turn and rend you,” when you one day step up to them with another load of Bibles or pearls, is that you at least are edible. Anyone who has ever had serious responsibilities of caring for animals will understand immediately what Jesus is saying.

And what a picture this is of our efforts to correct others by pouring our good things, often truly precious things, upon them—things that they nevertheless simply cannot ingest and use to nourish themselves. Often we do not even listen to them. We “know” without listening. Jesus saw it going on around him all the time, as we do today. And the outcome is usually exactly the same as with the pig and the dog. Our good intentions make little difference. The needy person will finally become angry and attack us. The point is not the waste of the “pearl” but that the person given the pearl is not helped.


Willard, Dallas (2009-02-06). The Divine Conspiracy (p. 228-229). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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