What Up, Dog?

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7:6

As a teacher, I hate it when I see students call one another “Dog.” I really hate it when they greet me that way! I know they are trying to show endearment in their weird, “middle-school” kind of way, but it just grates on me. We should never use terms that degrade anyone created in the image of God.

The same goes for Matthew 7:6,. When we read this passage, we need to remember to not yank it out of context. Jesus is not telling us to compare impenitent sinners to “dogs” and thus treat them as less-than-human or condemn them. Jesus taught us in the first five verses to have the exact opposite attitude when helping others we see in sin.

Jesus is using a metaphor.

This means that we may find some who absolutely reject our help. They see grace and mercy as useless.

When we properly confront someone in sin, we are not judging ourselves better than they are. Nor are we condemning them to eternal condemnation if they don’t repent. However, some will view it that way regardless of how merciful we are to them.

What are we to do when this happens?

Jesus says, “Stop helping.”

The mercy and grace of God are precious pearls to those who see their need of them. For some reason or another, some people do not view it that way. We are not to try to figure out why they reject our hand of mercy. We are just to stop trying to help, and move on.

If we continue to try to help, Jesus tells us plainly what will happen. They we trample our act of mercy with cruel and vicious attacks against us. They will compound their sin with hatred for us. At that point, we are not helping, we are only allowing them to get worse.

Our tender heart may want to help them but direct confrontation is obviously not what is needed.

So what do we do?!?

Pray.

Pray just like Stephen prayed when Saul of Tarsus was having him stoned to death. If Stephen had judged Saul to condemnation, he would have been completely wrong. Saul is the Apostle Paul! Saul and the others could no longer be reasoned with, so Stephen prayed for them. He left it in God’s hands.

And that is what we must do sometimes as well.

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