Summary: Dogs and hogs. Is Jesus showing some signs of ADHD? A difficult passage like this needs the context to help us understand it.
Our passage today is a tough one. Probably one of the toughest ones in the Sermon. Jesus has just finished a little ditty about not judging people especially judging them religiously that includes are rather harsh judgment about hypocrites. Then he starts spouting off about hogs and dogs. What does this have to do with anything? It’s almost like Jesus is showing us a little bit of ADHD. After this he talks about asking and receiving, so what does this have to do with anything.
By the way is a lot of debate in scholars and preachers about the meaning of this passage. Most of it begins as least with the idea of whether or not this verse should be read and interpreted within the context of the surrounding verses or was this just a thought that Jesus threw in as he began to wind the sermon down. If you can read without the verses then there are a whole lot interpretations that can be determined including things like not allowing unsaved people to take communion.
As you probably might have figured, I believe that must read this in context. But even then, this verse is very problematic. Let’s take a closer look.
As you find your place, I want to relay some information to you. There was a recent study done to determine who invented the toothbrush. A lot of research was done and it seems that they have reached a deadend. They have been unable to find out who invented it. However, they have narrowed down the place where it was invented: West Virginia. That’s right, West Virginia, was where the toothbrush was invented. If it had been invented anywhere else, they would have named it the teethbrush.
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ’Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
The basic premise is tied to the previous verses and that is we are use discernment when offering the sacred to people.
Remember the judging and discerning are two related but different things. And the related virtue of discernment was what? Anybody remember? Wisdom. Godly Wisdom. I believe this idea to be very much related to the previous verses about judging others.
When it comes to offer insight especially divine insight into others we need to be careful and discerning.
• In offering insight
Not everyone wants our help. Not everyone wants our opinion even when we have been through it or struggled with what they are struggling with.
As a recovered alcoholic, I have a God-given opportunity to share with other alcoholics so that they also may recover. But the very first question is, “Do you want to get better?” If the answer is “no” or “I don’t have a problem” then the response is, “Sorry to bother you.” Pursuing the issue will only harden their resolve that they are right. It becomes a contest of wills where no one wins and both parties lose. Don’t offer a pearl of great price to someone who doesn’t really want it. Use discernment.
This is supported tremendously in scripture especially in Proverbs. I wander if Jesus had some of the Proverbs in mind when he offered this proverb about the hogs and the dogs. Here are a few:
Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.
The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold (or could we insert a pearl and even a pearl of great price) is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.