Pearls Before Swine
Pearls before swine
We have all heard this verse:
Matthew 7: 6“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
On our ministry YouTube channel, it is not uncommon for people to comment that we shouldn't be "casting our pearls before swine".
I believe this verse requires a lot more explanation than how people use it to criticize apologetics and evangelism.
Jesus told His disciples other things as well like "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" Mark 16:15 He also said in Matthew 10:27 "What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops."
So how do we make sense of the command to not cast our pearls before swine? Are we really not suppose to preach the Gospel to those that show no initial openness?
Everyone, once upon a time, is unclean and a rebel against God. Most people don't respond to God the first time. They struggle, they wrestle, they resist. It takes a lot of seeds and a lot of truth to tear down the sinful delusion that most every single soul lives under before salvation. If everyone only shared the Gospel with those that were open, a lot of people that are saved today probably wouldn't be saved today.
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Apologetics are often the means the Lord uses to dispel the lies of the devil that people are believing. When the Bible says to not cast your pearls before swine it is really meaning not to cast the things of God, and things that He has done in your life, for them to just be perpetually trampled on. Jesus sent out the 70 and told them to preach the Gospel and only to leave after they were rejected. Casting your pearls before swine is continuing to share about the Kingdom of God and the riches found in Christ with people that clearly and willfully told you to stop.
In street preaching and evangelism, we aren't chasing people down again and again after they tell us they are not interested. If someone is not interested, I let them go. If they come to interrupt, I continue to preach the Gospel. If they start yelling lies, I proclaim the truth to combat the lies for everyone hearing and listening.
Casting your pearls before swine and giving what is holy to the dogs is more akin to looking for a shared response of appreciation from the non-believer. In doing so, your emotions become vulnerable. When I preach, I don't expect the non-Christian to give God praise and glory while at the same time staying in sin and unbelief. If they respond to the Gospel, they are no longer under the category of "dogs and swine" that this verse references. The pearls of the Kingdom of God are not "repent and believe." That's the prerequisites to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Another component of this passage is not endlessly pursuing people that have made it clear that they are not interested. For example, I am not going to start following someone and reasoning with them to please give their lives to Christ after they publicly make it clear while I am preaching that they hate God or are not interested. However, if I preach the Gospel, and someone engages me, this is not casting pearls before swine. If either the Lord is planting a seed, or even if the devil has the person there to try to stop me or deflect me, if I continue preaching, and even working with what they bring up, God will be moving.
To conclude, be aware that the devil, if you allow him, will use scripture to hinder your obedience to God and other clear commands in scripture. When God makes it clear, and He will, to move on and to not keep telling someone Gospel truths or the deep things of God(which really shouldn't be shared with a person that is unregenerate because it can't even begin to be understood) make sure you obey the Lord. But conversely, don't let the devil proof text one verse to get you to never be bold and preach the Gospel in a world and culture that is opposed to the message.