by Tony Nester

Be Careful With Your Pearls
Tony Nester
Matthew 7:6

(Matthew 7:6 NRSV) ""Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you."

Today we've come to perhaps the most difficult verse in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. It's a hard saying because it makes Jesus sound so harsh. Referring to people as "dogs" and "swine" just doesn't seem in character with the loving and compassionate Jesus we are used to hear

Yet here it is. Jesus tells us that holy things aren't to be thrown to the dogs and precious things aren't to be wasted on swine.

There are times, are there not, when we offer people the most precious things we have to give them only to find that they trample them under foot and even turn against us? You offer faith in God, or hard truths you've had to learn for yourself, or even your love and affection, and people reject it.

Jesus says, "Watch out! You can't force people to receive what you have to give. They have to want it for themselves. Keep forcing yourself on unreceptive people, and they will trample on what you offer them."

I've heard people who refuse to attend a church explain that they grew sick and tired of religion being forced down their throat by their parents. As soon as they were able to decide matters for themselves, they stopped having anything to do with church. It did not matter that holy and precious jewels of faith, truth, and life were being offered to them. They didn't want it. They didn't listen to it. They didn't receive it.

Parents have to decide when the time has come to let children make up their own mind about attending worship. There's a time for making church part of your family life even when your children complain about coming. Parents are supposed to set the standards and practices for their family. Children need that kind of structure and example. But there comes a time when parents have to let their childre ...

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