“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).

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Recently, I posted on social media that some of the people who have blessed me the most are those who loved me enough to judge me. Jesus never instructed us not to judge; that’s a common misinterpretation generally used to avoid accountability for misdeeds. Immediately following Jesus’ words about removing the speck of sawdust from your brothers eye, Jesus offers context on how to judge, by what he said about pearls and swine. Pearls Before Swine is a continuation of my previous post Hollow and Deceptive Philosophy.

“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). “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (Proverbs 26:11). “Of them [false prophets and teachers] the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud’” (2 Peter 2:22). The instruction in Matthew 7:6 is analogous to the instruction Jesus gave to his apostles when he said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14). Not that we should refrain from preaching the gospel, as Jesus dined with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10), but balancing judgment with discernment is the shrewdness of serpents Jesus refers to in Matthew 10:16. We are instructed to be shrewd and discerning about with whom, and under what circumstances, we share our great treasure.

We are commanded to judge and to judge rightly; examples can be found throughout scripture. Sin is serious business; it destroys relationship with God and can corrupt entire communities. Just as holiness is contagious, so, too, is sin. But judging comes with grave consequences; therefore, we must judge with love and humility. For we know that by the same measure we judge others, will be measured unto us (Matthew 7:2). Therefore, let’s practice the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Galatians: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (6:1).

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