Are there people in your life who are not worth the time of day? Some who just don't deserve to be loved, prayed for, given a helping hand?
If you can imagine, that is how Christ Jesus' words about not casting one's pearls "before swine" are sometimes interpreted.
His exact words according to the King James translation are: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." Matthew 7:6
So who or what are the swine?
In the Bible, context means a lot. Jesus' remarks appear in Matthew's rendering of the Sermon on the Mount and is part of a discussion of not judging others. His basic message is: "Don't judge. Work on your own perspective." And he finishes the judgment remarks with the swine reference. Is Jesus switching gears here? Maybe not.
Mary Baker Eddy made reference to this passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. "Jesus' parable of "the sower" shows the care our Master took not to impart to dull ears and gross hearts the spiritual teachings which dulness and grossness could not accept. Reading the thoughts of the people, he said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine." (p. 272)
But is "dull ears and gross hearts" a reference to our neighbors, our colleagues, our family members or other people? Or is it possible the dull ears, gross hearts and swine all refer to symptoms of mortal thought and material conditions?
When Jesus met a certain man from Gadera, the guy had been subject to a lot of "pearls before swine" treatment. His closest neighbors were swine-herders who had invested a lot in watching this poor man suffer. They were aware of up to 2000 symptoms (a legion) of his illness. How difficult it must have been for them to be so invested in the man's difficulties, so drawn into the horror. Ultimately, they were vulnerable to suffering as well. They paid a high price for their proximity to his case. (For a full look at that story and its meaning, see the post "What we can learn from that crazy pig story".
On the other hand, Jesus didn't suffer at all for helping. He had a different approach. He didn't ask about the problem. He asked the man his name. Jesus saw his patient as a man with a name, a spiritual nature to be discerned and expressed. Whatever the patient may have said, no matter what tale of suffering may have poured out, Christ Jesus' didn't carry on a lengthy discussion with the devils - the symptoms of disease. He cast them out.
Seeing him as the son of God, Jesus helped the man find himself to be God's child, clothed and in his right mind.
Perspective is everything when it comes to healing. This is why Jesus gave the essential teaching to his disciples: "How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
Overwhelmed by symptoms and fear, many who need help don't know much more than that they are suffering. For those who know of a way out, there is always something we can do to help. If we don't do it, we have a beam in our eye - a mistaken view of the case - and are mesmerized by the swine (symptoms). Whether we can offer direct assistance or whether we simply pray to have the pure perspective of the spiritual nature of man - the Christ perspective - we always have precious pearls to cast.
There is no Christian way around it. We must cast our pearls. The questions are: Do we cast them before swine and risk their being trampled under a torrent of fear and frenzy? Or shall we cast them before Christ and see the real man as he is?
Remember: Every pearl counts.
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no