Swine and Pearls, But Mostly Swine

A long time ago I wrote a post called “Why I’d Rather Not Blog.”  It was actually an exercise in self-persuasion.  I talked myself into thinking I had a few things to say that, in their own small way, might be of value in the scheme of things.

I haven’t lost faith in my expressive capabilities or the worth of my observations but I have learned a thing or two.  The first is never doubt Jesus.  Nobody knows what they’re talking about like Jesus.  Sometimes it’s downright shocking how a look at a passage I’ve been reading for over fifty years can deliver fresh, slap-in-the-face clarity and put the world back in order.

The second thing I’ve learned is that I shouldn’t be surprised at surprising things, especially when they’re the very things Jesus tells us to expect.  Hence the title of this piece and its reference to this often quoted, rarely comprehended gem from the creator of all things:

“…neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

The trampling part is pretty simple.  We’ve all had our beautiful, well-intended words ignored or even maligned without due consideration by ignorers and maligners.  Chances are we’ve all done a little of that ourselves.

That “rending” part, though…  That never made sense to me.  What would incense pigs so much that they’d want to rip a guy to shreds just for dropping a few pearls on the ground?  Why would they bother?

Jesus doesn’t tell us why.  He just says they do it so be wise and don’t waste your time and His Word.  Don’t risk the damage when the intentions of the pigs are clear.  Obeying the great commission, bearing witness, inviting people to “come, let us reason together” doesn’t necessarily mean throwing God’s word around indiscriminately.  We’re not obligated to dangle red flags in front of bulls, especially when they declare their hatred of our Lord over and over again.  Not misunderstanding.  Not correctable misconceptions or sincerely held divergent beliefs.  Hatred, blind, stupid and vicious.

I’m convinced the internet is built with highly sophisticated distortion filters that take the simplest, most easily comprehended pieces of logic and convert them into zombie-arousing dog whistles to anyone whose views aren’t absolutely indistinguishable from my own.  I mean, it must be so.  How else can you explain the many times I have stated that the sky is blue and been savaged for being a flame-throwing, Bible-thumping flat Earther who insists the sky is orange?  What reason could there be for taking thoroughly innocuous words as cues to assassinate my character while trumpeting your moral and intellectual superiority, a self-assessment based solely on hating the right people?

I’ve been reading Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget.”  Must reading in our digitally benighted age.  One thing that comes through loud and clear is the hope that early net visionaries had for a world-wide architecture that would give everyone a voice, opportunity for free expression and access to all the best qualities of human kind.  There are a lot of reasons why it hasn’t worked out that way but the wisdom of Jesus can’t be left out of the equation.  There are those among us who will not be reasoned with no matter how graciously or persuasively we speak or how advanced and shiny the media through which we express ourselves.  We are powerless to do anything but give them targets.  Our words mean nothing to them.

The spoken word has no power.  None.  The only words that matter are the ones that are heard and swine aren’t known for listening.

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12 Responses to Swine and Pearls, But Mostly Swine

  1. Wally Fry says:

    That pretty much says it all. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this. Of course, then then very people you spoke of will come out from under their rocks and swarm. But, I’d like to anyway


  2. Pingback: Swine and Pearls, But Mostly Swine – Truth in Palmyra

  3. madblog says:

    Reblogged this on Messages from the Mythical and commented:
    Well said from Glass Planet.


  4. Tricia says:

    This is a very well done and important post. I can so relate and agree that there must be such things as distortion filters that twist our clear and purposeful words in to targets for others to denigrate and mock.

    It is a very though thing though to determine when or when not it is worth it to make the effort. For every swine out there that leaves obnoxious comments meant solely o disrupt, there may be 10 others reading silently in agreement or at least with an open mind.

    Don’t give up on the truth, it never gives up on us.


  5. ColorStorm says:

    I don’t know lang, mixed bag here. You raise a common struggle. Speak to a fool, don’t speak to a fool. Feed the swine, don’t feed the swine. (but we all were such as it were) I suppose though, that since grace is the great ‘game changer,’ I honestly do not know how/if/when/where others are in their quest, but I do know that faith comes by hearing……..and hearing by the word of God, and that God’s word will never return to Him void.

    It is true that the pearls before swine is scripture, but I also take note that even when Pilate asked ‘what is truth?’ in nonchalance, after a brief silence, the Lord spoke to him, that OTHERS perhaps would hear. We have the written record that His kingdom is not of this world, tkx to Pilate’s question.

    We never know who is in the bleachers I guess, but you do raise a good point, and tks for putting it to ink.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lang3063 says:

      The Bible highlights these distinctions for a reason. I think it also boils down to common sense. When the only response you get over a period of time is “willful ignorance,” knee-jerk hostility and an absolute unwillingness to comprehend your simplest points, chances are you’re dealing with “swine.” This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak up in the first place but, to tell you the truth, I don’t know how long those in “the bleachers” stick with the kind of exchanges we get with the proud Visigoths catapulting flaming manure over our walls. The real point of the post, though, is the last line. We think there is power in what we say. That’s nonsense. That’s like saying light has power to illuminate the world for the blind. Words only work when they find open ears, minds and hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ColorStorm says:

        It’s true lang that our words in their own strength have no power. But….God’s words, well, I think of a seemingly impossible situation where Lazarus lay dead……until he ‘heard’ the word ‘arise,’ so I suppose there is hope for all who are dead in spirit.

        Trouble is, you and I do not know which of the dead will come forth, so we speak as we are able. I do agree though, that it can appear to be a complete waste of time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lang3063 says:

        I have yet to speak a world into existence or raise anybody from the dead. Only God’s words are God’s words. Human words do not contain power of any kind. They transmit information. If God’s Spirit so decrees, the words I speak fall upon open ears and fertile ground. Obviously, nobody knows who will hear and receive but our mission is to bear witness, not give tit for tat in the hope that somewhere in the mess of a flame war somebody will find that thing we say and get saved. Jesus told his disciples to shake the dust off their feet as an indictment against towns that refused to receive them. When were they supposed to do that? After an hour of witnessing? After one or two days of disputing with recalcitrant unbelievers? After they got beaten up once? Or twice? Should they have disobeyed and remained, witnessing and preaching in the hope that some bystander would hear the truth?
        In “God’s Smuggler” Brother Andrew tells the story of an antagonistic coworker. All his attempts at witnessing were met with the same kind of stuff we get from our favorite online atheists. One day God told him to stop witnessing to her. He was confused and concerned but he did what he was told. After a few days the coworker came to him in tears; she was afraid she had gone too far in her antagonism and now Andrew thought she wasn’t worth trying to save. It was his silence that God used to open her heart. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, but he who refrains his lips is wise.” Again, such admonitions are given for a reason. Sometimes I think we’re like the heathens who “think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”


      • ColorStorm says:

        Hi lang-

        –Human words do not contain power of any kind?’– sez you, and surely you would reconsider.

        In the context of your raising the dead, of course our words have no power, but the gospel in its essence, does have that power, for yes, God raises the dead; we who were dead in tresspasses and sins, those of us who were delivered from darkness to light, and how?

        By words, words spoken by people. We evangelize because we know God’s words have power.

        But even in the rawest form of non spiritual things, words have power. Marriages are ruined because a spouses words had power to destroy.

        An employee quits because the bosses words had power to crush a spirit. And of course there is that simple power in those words: ‘I’m sorry. or Forgive me.

        And I think that the basis of arguments against the God of scripture, are because for example, the heathen knows God’s words have power.

        Even if spoken by fools, God’s words have power. In the narrower context of whether heathen will hear, that’s a fair point, but one thing is certain: they are hearing all right, but to each his own.


  6. Pingback: On Pigs, Pearls, and Words | See, there's this thing called biology...

  7. Elihu says:

    I sympathize with you. I haven’t come under much fire, but I have largely been ignored, particularly by friends and acquaintances to whom I thought these things would be of greatest interest. It causes one to wonder if all the effort invested in blogging about non-DIY topics is worth it. And yet, I have to ask myself, ‘why did I start blogging in the first place?’ For me, it started with a desire to write in order to focus my thoughts on God coupled with a frustration over all the nonsensical conceptions of God floating around.

    Focusing my own thoughts has wrought significant spiritual growth in my personal life. I can only pray that what I write also draws others near to the Lord and perhaps creates some small change in the lives of the few who read. Ultimately, it is not my words I want people to hear, but the Lord’s. I’m just another instrument for his words to go out. Like Jeremiah, I must proclaim what the Lord has revealed even if it is not well-received.


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