Pearls and Pigs
I grew up hearing Matthew 7:6 as, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” It never seemed like a verse that was applicable to me personally, so I never referenced it in my own life.
All these years later, this verse finally came alive to me as I read it with new life-experienced eyes:
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6 NIV
You see, I only ever heard the first part of the verse, about throwing your pearls to pigs; I never heard the latter part of the verse where it discusses what happens when you actually cast your pearls before pigs: “they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” This verse is a game changer for me, in recent months, as I navigate healing from the wounds caused by others, and focus on guarding my heart. (another verse I’ve wrestled with my entire life, but that’s for a different post! Ha Ha!)
With the betrayal from friends and family alike, I’ve wrestled with understanding what forgiveness looks like, in action. How do I forgive and avoid bitterness, while guarding my heart and setting healthy boundaries? It’s a balancing act I’m certain, and one I’m terribly unfamiliar with, so have been seeking clarity from Scripture and time alone with God. In years past, I falsely understood forgiveness as “forgiving and forgetting”; that in order to truly forgive the person who wronged me, I was required to allow them to remain in my life. However, Matthew 7:6 changed my entire perspective on “forgiving and forgetting”.
As a very giving person, I have always given freely of the gifts God has given me: love, support, encouragement, prayers, time and when needed, even monetary resources. However, this verse really opened my eyes to how I’ve been “throwing my pearls to pigs” by sharing those God-given gifts with people who don’t want or appreciate them, when there are people in my life who actually need and appreciate those gifts! By wasting my gifts on people who don’t truly need or want the gifts I have to offer, not only am I wasting the gifts, but the recipients truly have done what the scripture says they will do: “trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” All the people who betrayed me and my husband, were all recipients of our God-given gifts and because they didn’t treasure those gifts, they trampled them and then used them to tear us to pieces with false accusations and betrayal!
After being accused of being inauthentic, and selfish, as well as realizing people were just using me and my husband for what we could give them or do for them, I decided that I needed to make some big changes in my life.
- The first change was to get before God and really seek Him as to how He views me, and then accepting His view of me, above all else. The newest devotional by my very dear friend Holley Gerth’s titled Strong, Brave, Loved is actively helping me understand God’s view of me, versus the enemy’s view of me.
- This new view of myself required a second change and that was to accept that the various people in my life, who have continued to tear me to pieces, need to be forgiven “for they know not what they do”. (Luke 23:34 NIV)
- After forgiving the people who tore me to pieces time and time again, the next step has been to let go of them. Not angrily pushing them out of my life, rather lovingly (showing love for myself!), letting go of the hope of them ever changing. After all, it has been said, that the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different outcome! I can no longer hold onto the hope of them changing, when their behavior reflects no desire for such a change.
- After letting go of the people who have been tearing me to pieces, the final step I am currently walking, is to pray for them and entrusting them to the only One who truly can change them: Jesus Christ! By doing this, I am finally FREE TO BE ME: the Strong, Brave, Loved and gifted woman God has called me to be, to those who love, appreciate and need me, “For such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)
Hoping my journey can serve as a source of encouragement to you, should you be walking a similar path. Praying the truths God has revealed to me and used to set me free in this area of my life, will become alive in your own life, freeing you as well.
Let’s take our pearls back, embracing that we are Strong, Brave and Loved, and send those pigs to the pigpen where they belong!
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