October 25, 2013

Keeping Pearls Away From Pigs

Proverbs 9:7-9

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.”
—Matthew 7:6


Scooter was our family dog, and during most of our dinner times, Scooter was confined to her doghouse. There was one exception each year. My dad’s birthday dinner was an occasion deemed special enough that even Scooter was allowed to socialize with us at the table. In fact, my dad even fed Scooter a piece of the prime-cut roast beef specially prepared for the occasion! Though she eagerly scarfed the roast, I’m sure Scooter failed to appreciate the fine delicacy she had been graciously given.

That is what it’s like when we offer godly counsel to people who are not ready or willing to hear it. Wisdom, correction, counsel, and rebuke are as precious as pearls. Proverbs 9 tells us that godly people welcome such input. But foolish people want nothing to do with wise correction. Instead, they will tear you to pieces with arguments, resistance, or mocking.

Even though we have a responsibility to humbly correct people who are struggling with sin, Jesus urges us to discern whether a person is open to correction or counsel. If the person who needs correction is resistant to you, it is often better to step back, prayerfully ask God to soften their hearts, and wait until they are open to listening to godly wisdom. We must handle the precious gospel of Jesus with care, both giving and receiving counsel with careful discernment.

Father, you have entrusted us with the precious truth of your Word. May we receive its guidance as precious treasure, and may we share your wisdom wisely. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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