Pearls & Swine (ATP)
In Matthew 7:6, the Word says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and tear you in pieces,” but it is also stated in Matthew 5:42, “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” My question is where the balance is between being generous and “casting pearls before swine”?
What a wonderful question this is! Let’s dig into this.
Matthew 7:6 AMP says, “Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.” When we study Matthew 7:6, we see the heart behind what Jesus was saying. The Dake’s Bible puts it this way: Do not force truth upon rebels who reject it, or give holy things to faultfinders. In context what Jesus is talking about when He refers to dogs and swine is those who will rebel and refuse the pearls and those pearls are “Words of great value”, the instruction of the Word. Look at Proverbs 9:7-9, “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Trying to convince and correct a scoffer is like casting pearls to swine. Those who refuse and rebel will hate you for trying to help them. The Word says, “he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.” At some point there’s no fruit to this anymore. Some people are unwilling to change and will actually abuse you for trying. Proverbs 26:11 says it this way, “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.” Jesus’s instruction in Matthew 7:6 is really to let that fool choose to be a fool.
In the book of Revelation Jesus says, “I am coming quickly.” Revelation 22:14-15 says, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” Notice, like the Word said in Proverbs 9:9, the wise and just man will take instruction, and grow wiser. These are those who do His commandments and will have a place within His gates. These are those who will value the pearls. But we also see the “dogs” again, and notice the dogs will not be inside His gates.
Now let’s look at the next part of your question. Matthew 5:42, “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” In context Jesus is instructing Christians to go the extra mile in their goodness and generosity to people. This giving isn’t talking about teaching and rebuking through the Word and His commandments, but is speaking more tangibly. This is a principle found in the Word over and over again. Look at John 3:16 and see the heart of God, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God’s love was shown through giving, therefore share God’s love by giving! Look at 2 Corinthians 9:6, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.” Finally, look at 1 John 3:17-18, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
In all these things, we must endeavor to be led by the Spirit. Romans 8:14 reminds us, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” There will be times when the Holy Spirit stirs us to keep witnessing to someone even when they seem to be swine. There are times when the Holy Spirit urges us not to give because it will not be good ground. In all things, we must follow these principles in the Word but let the Holy Spirit directs us for in specific situations.