2021_01_27 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Matthew 7 & 8
In the beginning of Matthew chapter 7, verses 1-5, Jesus lays out a key warning for us not to fall into the self-righteous judgment of others. There is nothing wrong with healthy awareness of other’s faults and weaknesses, but in order to see them clearly, we need to first see our own. It is easier (and much more fun) to point out the flaws in others while missing or ignoring our own. So why does Jesus make a big deal of this? Because there is a clarity and gentleness that comes when we are first honest about our own sin. As we become more aware of our own unworthiness, we are much less apt to condemn others and actually in a position to really help. This is how we learn to administer truth and grace together.
Then in verse 6, He adds, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” (NLT) At first glance, this seems to be a contradiction. Still, in verses 1-5, Jesus wants us to be humble as we evaluate other’s actions and attitudes, then in verse 6, He specifies that He wants us to be discerning as to who we trust and pursue. At the time He spoke this, dogs and pigs weren’t the “emotional support” animals we see today. Dogs were feral scavengers (more Cujo than Fido), and pigs were considered unsanitary and nasty. What Jesus is saying is, be careful who you entrust with what God says is special and valuable. We are to love all people, of course, but we are to be wise and discerning about who we trust. Some clear applications of this would be to carefully vet those who will be working with children, finances, or leading Small Groups in the church. Make sure they agree with the mission, values, and behaviors that are consistent with the Bible, and support the cause. Don’t just recruit people based on availability or skills, but investigate to make sure their hearts and the way they live their lives are aligned as well.
There is a big difference in being judgmental and discerning, and a lot rides on us learning it.