Sometimes You Must Move On

6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 7:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Relationship building is something many in the church have forgotten about. We spend time building relationships inside the church, but we get comfortable and forget relationships outside the church. We must “go forth” into society.

Some people take the admonistion about pearls before swine to mean there are places and people to whom we should not carry the Gospel. Pastor Jonathan Akin gets it right when he says this is wrong. “Matthew 7:6 can’t mean that there are certain groups with whom we shouldn’t share the gospel because Jesus says it will be shared with all peoples,” he writes.

Christians must be fearless and go into Muslim areas and communist areas and heavily secularized areas in the West that have become hostile to Christ. We must go to all corners of the world, even our own backyard.

But, and this is the key, there are times we must not stay. There are places and people who show such hostility to the Gospel that we need not spend our time with them at the expense of others. The cultural struggles in the West are a prime example. There are those who are deeply and maliciously hostile who have no interest in understanding our faith except to turn it against us.

But there are many others who can be persuaded, who can be drawn to Christ, and who can turn their lives over to Jesus. We must pray for discernment. We must pray for guidance. We must pray for the help of the Holy Spirit and let it be God, not us.

Most importantly, the church and those within the church must build relationships at an individual level. Instead of tossing Jesus on people, the church needs to throw itself into the lives of others and show we want a complete relationship with those who we also want God to save.

We must remember God’s words in Genesis 2:18. “It is not good that man should be alone.” We are relational creatures. We want a relationship with each other and we want others to have a relationship with God. Do not give what is holy to those who, when you try, show you they are hostile to it. But the only way to find that out is to first try to build a relationship. Friendship shows the Gospel.

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Erick Erickson

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