Jesus warned us, “... do not throw your pearls to pigs.” A short lesson on pearls explains why Jesus used such an analogy. A pearl is a lustrous concretion produced by certain bivalve mollusks and is treasured as a gem. These cannot be strictly classed among precious stones, yet they have always been associated with gems in connection with jewelry. Pearls consist almost entirely of nacre, which is the substance forming the inner layers of the mollusk shells. Nacre, known as ‘mother-of-pearl,’ is composed primarily of aragonite crystals. This material is partly mineral matter (carbonate of lime) and partly organic matter.
Pearls are formed by secretion in the bodies of many kinds of molluscan shellfish and consist of the same material and possess the same color as the interior layers of the shell in which they occur. The pearl is an abnormal growth resulting from the invasion of the body of the mollusk by a minute particle of foreign matter, such as a fine grain of sand. The particle acts as an irritant in the mollusk and becomes coated with layer upon layer of nacreous material.
Mollusks typify the Christian; what you see on the outer man is not regarded as spiritually beautiful, but what is on the inside. However, the interior layers symbolize individual growth in Christ. Like the mollusk, irritants are introduced into the believer’s life, and these signify times of testing. The longer the irritant remains, or the more prolonged the fiery ordeal, the potential for a more costly and developed pearl. God mingles organic matter (humanity) with mineral (divine influence), and forms something precious within, to be revealed at the right time.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is progressively decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being progressively renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease! Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. AMP
Both marine and freshwater mollusks produce pearls, but the most valuable varieties originate in the pearl oyster of the Persian Gulf. The ancient pearl fisheries were chiefly in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf; the latter still retain great importance, but the former have ceased to be worked for a long time. Ceylon and the north Australian coast now furnish large quantities.
The most highly prized pearls are spherical. When a pearl that has been cut from the shell presents a hemispherical surface, it is sometimes called a bouton pearl. If a solid pearl has an irregular shape, having grown over a rough object, it is known as a baroque pearl. In the jewelry trade, pearls are commonly known as pear, bell, or drop, according to the shape. Pearl coloration varies widely, the most prized shades being white, black, rose, and cream.
The references to pearls in the Scriptures are curiously few, and in the OT uncertain, although we know from ancient jewelry that pearls were familiar from very early times. Those in Egypt are presumably from the Red Sea, where they were sought and found as late as the Roman period. In the Red Sea occurs also the large delicate pinna, or "wing shell," which occasionally yields translucent pink pearls, greatly prized for their beauty and rarity.
The Hebrew word “peninim” is always plural and variously rendered by OT translators. In the NASB it is translated as, "jewels," in Proverbs 3:15; 8:11; 20:15; 31:10; "corals," in Lamentations 4:7 (more accurately precious pink pearls yielded by the Red Sea pinnas; pinna is Greek meaning, “within” for the inner part of the mollusk); "pearls," in Job 28:18; and in the KJV it appears once in Job 28:18, and then as the translation of Hebrew “gabish.” The NIV renders this word as “ruby” but it is actually pearls in the original Hebrew.
Matthew 13:45-46 Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it. AMP
Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a merchant in pursuit of precious pearls. He is a man who understands gems, and is qualified to appraise them. He knows the most valuable pearls are spherical, and looks for those that are perfectly formed. Jesus is that man; he is God’s appointed merchant, seeking the cherished and valuable gem of a broken and contrite heart that trembles at God’s word.
Proverbs 20:15 There is gold, and a multitude of pearls, but the lips of knowledge are a vase of preciousness the most precious of all. [Job 28:12,16-19; Proverbs 3:15; 8:11.] AMP
Proverbs 8:10-11 Receive my instruction in preference to striving for silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for skillful and godly wisdom is better than rubies or pearls, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. [Job 28:15; Psalm 19:10; 119:127.] AMP
The “single pearl of great price” can be viewed as the individual believer, or as the church as a whole. Revelation 21:21 unveils Christ’s glorified church as one solid pearl, “And the Twelve gates were Twelve pearls, each separate gate being built of one solid pearl…”
Job 28:12-28 says the one who possesses the wisdom and understanding of the LORD is of greater value than pearls, “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; for the possession of wisdom is even above rubies or pearls… Man knows not the price of it… God understands the way to wisdom and He knows the place of it; wisdom is with God alone. For He looks to the ends of the earth… He established it, yes, and searched it out for His own use, and He alone possesses it. But to man He said, “Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord--that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Pearls take a long time to produce, sometimes several years. Our hearts are develop over a long period of time through a lifetime of choices and circumstances. Pearls are made on the INSIDE of the hard and impenetrable shell of the unclean mollusk. The precious and beautiful part of us is formed deep within the soul, mind and spirit, even though the outer man seems to be tough and ugly looking, and tainted with the uncleanness of sin.
Pearls consist almost entirely of nacre, which is the substance forming the inner layers of the mollusk shells. This material is partly mineral matter and partly organic matter and is symbolic of what God uses to make the inner man in the image of His dear son Jesus. The nacre has a luster unseen to the eye when the mollusk shell is closed tightly and forming the pearl within. At a certain point the mollusk is harvested, and opened to reveal the contents of beauty within. God works inside our hearts for years to form the beauty of Jesus, then, at a certain point in our lives, breaks open the hard shell, and reveals the inner exquisiteness to the world; so all might see and glorify Him.
Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you. AMP
The Father uses the spiritual nacre that lines our hearts within; that is, His love, grace and mercy, then introduces a grain of sand as an irritant, symbolic of the trials and suffering we encounter, and forms a beautiful pearl we call “Christ” in us, the hope of glory. Jesus is that man, who, upon finding the great worth of his Father’s kingdom (i.e. – the souls of those who would become the church), and as the merchant in the parable, sold all he had by giving his life and blood to purchase this pearl of great price.
Certainly Jesus would have seen and been exposed to precious gems in the market places, particularly in Jerusalem and other larger towns or cities. Palestine is not far from the Persian Gulf, where the most costly and valuable pearls in the entire world are harvested. Some of his disciples were fishermen by trade, and would be well acquainted with mollusks and pearls, and there would be a personal affinity for this gem.
Pearls reveal their luster and beauty best when exposed to sunlight, and white pearls are considered to best most exquisite. As such, pearls signify what is most treasured within us… our character and attitude toward others. What we have become in Jesus Christ is most visible in the light of God’s spirit and truth.
The lips of knowledge for skillful and godly wisdom are said to be of more value than pearls, and Jesus, knowing the Law and having read the Proverbs uses this as the platform for his instruction regarding pearls cast before swine. The gleam of the nacre is called “mother-of-pearl” but perhaps it should be renamed as “Father of a Pearl” because God is the One who creates the beauty of His son Jesus in us.
Pigs, swine, hogs…whatever name we call them by, these animals are considered unclean according to the law spelled out in Deuteronomy. Any God-fearing Jew would shun at the thought of consuming pig meat, and even Peter reeled in confusion when Jesus gave him a vision of pigs and other unclean animals, and told him, “Eat!” (Acts 10:9-19)
Peter refused the Lord, saying, “No, by no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unhallowed or ceremonially unclean.” Of course this vision given to Peter was the Lord’s way of telling him the door had been opened to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, whom the Jews had associated with uncleanness, and with whom they would not eat or fellowship. The point is, to the Hebrew mind, pigs were NOT kosher (clean) and for Jesus to use them as an illustration is graphic indeed.
Jesus uses pigs for an analogy to exemplify the attitude whereby hypocrites wrongly judge others. Wild swine are well known as inhabitants of the thickets of the Chuleh, the Jordan valley, the Dead Sea, and some of the mountains in or around Palestine. The species is Sus scrofa, the wild pig of Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. Perhaps this is the origin of our English word, “scruffy” originating from “scruff” meaning, and “the hairy back of the neck.” What to us is scruffy, ugly and nasty smelling on the outside is descriptive of what God sees on the inside of certain persons.
In the Old Testament swine is mentioned in Leviticus 11:7 and Deuteronomy 14:8 as an unclean animal: "The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses." Israel could not eat the meat of a pig, and we are not to partake of the teaching or opinions of those whose’ character is swinish. God likens these self-serving and insensitive human beings to the worm-infested carcasses of the hog. Uncooked pork can infect a person with trichinosis, a potentially deadly toxin latent in the meat of this unclean animal. Those who abuse the tenderhearted children of the Lord infect them with their own brand of emotional, psychological and spiritual trichinosis.
In Isaiah 65:4 and 66:3,17 the eating of swine's flesh and the offering of oblations of swine's blood are referred to as abominations. Lest the reader misunderstand, it is not the meat of the pig that God is concerned with here, but the fact His people offered the most costly sacrifice (a bull), the most sanctified offering (a lamb), and the gift offering (grain) with an attitude of contempt and hatred toward those who are humble and contrite in spirit and tremble at God’s word. Isaiah 66:3-5 is the OT passage Jesus is making reference to when he instructs the disciples not to cast their pearls before pigs:
66:1 THUS SAYS the Lord: Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house would you build for Me? And what kind can be My resting-place? [Acts 17:24.]
66:2 For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being by and for Me, says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands. [John 4:24.]
66:3 The acts of the hypocrite's worship are as abominable to God as if they were offered to idols. He who kills an ox then will be as guilty as if he slew and sacrificed a man; he who sacrifices a lamb or a kid, as if he broke a dog's neck and sacrificed him; he who offers a cereal offering, as if he offered swine's blood; he who burns incense to God, as if he blessed an idol. Such people have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations;
66:4 So I also will choose their delusions and mockings, their calamities and afflictions, and I will bring their fears upon them--because when I called, no one answered; when I spoke, they did not listen or obey. But they did what was evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight.
66:5 Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word: Your brethren who hate you, who cast you out for My name's sake, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ But it is they who shall be put to shame. AMPLIFIED BIBLE
Comparing the text of scripture from Isaiah 66 with the context of Matthew 7:6 we can deduce hatred and an exclusionary attitude likened to casting pearls before swine. Isaiah 66:5 says these piggish attitudes are coming from those who are a part of the covenant, not from the Gentiles, “Your brethren who hate you, who cast you out for My name's sake, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ They are like so-called Christians, “hypocrite” who worship God in vain (66:3) and who refuse to “listen” or “obey” the voice of the Lord.
There are two primary warnings in the Matthew 7:6; don’t give what is morally blameless (“holy”) to dogs and don’t throw what is valuable (pearls) before pigs. These are the words GOD chose to inspire in His written word to describe certain men and women who have a “form of piety” but deny the power of God’s love.
3:1 BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble hard to deal with and hard to bear.
3:2 For people will be lovers of self and utterly self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate greedy desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
3:3 They will be without natural human affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); they will be slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
3:4 They will be treacherous betrayers, rash, and inflated with self-conceit. They will be lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
3:5 For although they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession. Avoid all such people turn away from them. AMPLIFIED BIBLE
In the days of Jesus, dogs referred to wild animals that roamed in packs. Domestic dogs have probably been derived from various species of wolves and jackals. In this connection, dogs of certain regions greatly resemble the wolves of the same territory. For example, the pariah dogs of Syria and Palestine resemble the jackals, especially in color and in the tail, differing in their greater size and in the shape of muzzle and ears and are perhaps similar to the same as existed in Bible times. Domesticated dogs are described by the Syrophoenician woman in the phrase, "the household (kunaria, 'little' or 'pet') dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." (Matthew 15:26-27; Mark 7:27-28)
In general dogs were fairly harmless creatures, and helpful mainly as scavengers, but they often disturbed the night with their barking. Their dismal howlings are alluded to in Psalm 59:6,14-15, "And at evening let them return; let them howl and snarl like dogs, and go prowling about the city.” This psalm alludes to Saul's agents feeling thirst for David's blood by coming to Michal's house at evening, and also to the retribution on Saul in kind, when he who had made David a wanderer himself roamed about seeking unsuccessfully for a rally round against the Philistines, and went at last by nighttime to the witch of Endor.
Each quarter of the city has its own pack of dogs, which vigorously resents any invasion of its territory by other packs or individual canines. A dog which, for any reason, finds itself in foreign territory gets home as quickly as possible, and is lucky if it does not have to run the gauntlet of a pack of vicious foes. This is quite possibly what Jesus referred to when he spoke of dogs rending and tearing (more on this later!).
Commonly ownerless, half-wild dogs roved the fields and banded in troops which segregate cities into so many quarters; each skin-and-bone, ravenous troop keeps to its own quarter, and drives off any intruder; feeding on blood, dead bodies, and other refuse; therefore regarded as "unclean" (1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:19,23; 22:38; 2 Kings 9:10,35-36; Jeremiah 15:3).
The dog being an unclean animal, the terms "dog," "dead dog," "dog's head" were used as terms of reproach, scorn or else self-abasement and humiliation if speaking of one's person (1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 9:8; 2 Kings 8:13).
In the East "dog" is used for impure and profane persons and was used by the Jews respecting the Gentiles (Matthew 15:26). The Jews regarded the Gentiles as "dogs," but by unbelief they ceased to be the true Israel and themselves became dogs (Isaiah 56:10-11). Fierce and cruel enemies were sometimes referred to as dogs (Psalm 22:16,20; Jeremiah 15:3).
A wanton, self-prostituting man is called a "dog" (Deuteronomy 23:18). One Egyptian god had a dog form and dogs are a description of being pagan in spirit (Titus 1:15-16). King David describes the evil men surrounding him as dogs in filthiness, snarling, and ferocity against the Lord and His people (Psalm 22:16,20).
False apostles are called "dogs" on account of impurity and love of gain (Philippians 3:2,18-19), "Beware of the (Greek) dogs," those impure persons of whom I told you often." Backsliding into former carnality, as the dog "is turned to his own vomit again" (2 Peter 2:22) is another indicator of the ruined character of mankind.
Other passages express by inference the low esteem in which dogs are held. Nothing worse could happen to a person than to have his body devoured by dogs (1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:19,23). Job 30:1 says of the youth who mocked him that he disparaged to set their fathers with the dogs of his flock. Job 30:1 refers to the use of dogs to guard flocks; and the comparison of inefficient watchmen with dumb dogs (Isaiah 56:10) implies that at least some dogs are useful.
Have you ever made yourself vulnerable to someone else, only to have that person violate your trust, and turn on you? Have you ever been exploited by another believer, who used the private and sensitive information shared to judge and manipulate you? Have you ever confessed a fault or a hidden area of sin to a fellow Christian, only to have them give you a good tongue-lashing? What if you give your trust to a person you believe is a friend, and then they use personal information to use you, or betray you, and exalt their position or status in life?
At one time or another, just about everybody has exposed the intimate side of his or her nature with to someone else, only to be deeply hurt and left torn and bleeding inside. The careless indifference with which some people treat others can permanently wound and scar, leaving those whom they abused unwilling to open up and be transparent again.
References to the dog, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, are usually of a contemptuous character. A dog, and especially a dead dog, is used as a figure of insignificance. Goliath says to David (1 Samuel 17:43), "Am I a dog, that you should come to me with sticks?” David says to Saul (1 Samuel 24:14), "After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog? After a flea?" Mephibosheth says to David (2 Samuel 9:8), "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?" The same figure is found in the words of Hazael to Elisha (2 Kings 8:13).
In the context of Matthew chapter seven Jesus admonishes his disciples and his church not to contemptuously judge and criticize one another. As is so often the case, this belligerent, careless, and arrogant manifestation is reflected in the mannerisms and speech of church leadership. The misguided role played by the leaders in church who wear the “pastor” cap has given them, in their own eyes, the right to disregard the tender and sensitive hearts of God’s flock.
A brother in Christ goes to his local church, and in a moment of contrition, bares his heart to an associate pastor, and confesses a dark secret. He tells this pastor how he had taken something that did not belong to him, and stolen it. Feeling convicted for this act, he rectified the situation, but still feels the need to bring things into the light, and confess his faults to his brother, as the scripture instructs in James:
James 5:16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray also for one another, that you may be healed and restored to a spiritual tone of mind and heart. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available dynamic in its working. AMP
So how does the associate pastor handle the situation? Does he come along side the broken and humbled man? Does he gird him up? Does he identify with him, and admit that he too, in one way or several has also stolen? Is his response one of restoration?
Sadly, this self-righteous, overweight gasbag of a man throws his “pastoral” weight around, and looks REALLY hard to see if he can find the tiny speck of sin in the man’s life. Instead of acknowledging and commending the man for his honesty and openness, the hypocrite decides he must take his contempt to the “next level” by conceiving and convening a tribunal with the senior pastor and another associate pastor. That way the three of them can sit in alliance as an unholy trinity and grill the poor guy that was just trying to keep his heart right with God! No wonder we don’t see much transparency or intimacy in the Christian churches.
Instead of building a friendship and developing transparency, this mini-despot of a man has belittled his brother, and treated him like a swine would treat a pearl. He has taken what is precious, and of great value, and squished it down into the pig poop of his own pride and smugness. Like the wild dogs, he has taken this man, who wandered into his religious territory, and left him torn and bleeding.
Swine attitudes and dog behavior is not limited to church leaders. It is true these men will have a greater impact on a wounded sheep because of their position, and God will hold them to a higher standard of accountability and judgment. Women can often be the most vile of swine in the church, taking what is morally blameless and pure in heart, and with the gossip laden tongues, destroy the bleeding heart faster and more thoroughly than any minister. The scripture refers to such as “busybodies” and “silly women” and “gossips and slanderers.”
2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. NASU
Gossip is not gender selective, and plenty of men have the same fetish with intruding in the personal lives of others. These are the ones who love to critique their brothers and sisters, especially those who are on equal par with them socially. They feign being “concerned” for others, and learn to be experts at digging up the latest dirt on someone else. They boost their low self-esteem higher, in their own mind, by weaving a string of half-truths and downright deception regarding the name or character of another. The rationalize their atrocious behavior by excuses like, “You know, I really shouldn’t share this, because it was told to me in confidence, but I KNOW I can trust YOU.”
This excuse is carefully worded, and transmitted to a listening ear that is every bit as guilty as the pig-mouth that passed on the information. Hearing something “sacred” like gossip about another person’s personal business or weakness makes the listener feel VERY important… gag.
1 Timothy 5:13 Moreover, as they go about from house to house, they learn to be idlers, and not only idlers, but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say and talking of things they should not mention. AMP
Those who are shut out of the kingdom of heaven are also called "dogs" (Revelation 22:15) on account of their vileness and are associated with falsehood, untruth, error, deception, and cheating.
Revelation 22:15 But without are the dogs and those who practice sorceries (magic arts) and impurity the lewd, adulterers and the murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and deals in falsehood (untruth, error, deception, cheating). AMP
Beware. If you are a gossip, or you take what is pure, undefiled, and morally blameless, and destroy it with the flame of your tongue, the fire you create will not only destroy the trust and potential transparency of another, but it will almost certainly cause you to lose your own soul!
In the Hebrew mind, nothing was worse than to have one’s own body eaten by dogs instead of receiving proper burial. In the church, nothing is worse than to take the humble and contrite and disregard their value before the Almighty. It is the same as if you decided to feed them to a pack of wild dogs. Your actions and words will wound them, and crush the bruised reed of the spirit.
7:1 DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.
7:2 For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you use to deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
7:3 Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother's eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?
7:4 Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye,” when there is the beam of timber in your own eye?
7:5 You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother's eye.
7:6 Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.
One is able to see how destructive it is to judge and criticize a fellow believer, but how does this fit with the command Jesus makes? Who is he speaking to? Who are the dogs and pigs? We have already seen and concluded both dog and pig to be unclean. Each animal represents a certain type of attitude, character, and unfortunately, a certain kind of human being.
First, Jesus is talking to hypocrites who judge, criticize and condemn others without regard to their own faults. He makes it abundantly clear a disciple is not fit to critique another disciple until he or she has taken time to examine what areas of weakness and sin they have, particularly akin to the one they are so eager to judge.
This interpretation dovetails nicely with what we see as the overall teaching with respect to restoring a brother who is caught in sin or trespass.
6:1 BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.
6:2 Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].
6:3 For if any person thinks himself to be somebody too important to condescend to shoulder another's load when he is nobody of superiority except in his own estimation, he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.
6:4 But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable in itself alone without resorting to boastful comparison with his neighbor
As indicated in the Introduction, the “pearls” are people too; they are those followers of Jesus Christ who possess lips of knowledge and have skillful and godly wisdom. This makes Matthew 7:6 interpreted as follows:
Do not give that which is holy (the morally blameless lips of knowledge of the one who is humble & of a broken or wounded spirit, & who trembles at God’s word) to the dogs (to profane persons who offer hypocrite's worship & make God’s people run the gauntlet of a pack of vicious, territorial religious foes), and do not throw your pearls (skillful & godly wisdom) before hogs (your brethren who hate you & cast you out in the name of Christ, who are a people that have chosen their own ways, & delight in their abominations & who do not listen when God speaks from His word;), lest they trample upon them with their feet (with the hog’s feet that have no regard for what is precious in the sight of God) and turn and tear you in pieces (like a pack of roving, wild, ownerless dogs seeking to lick up the precious blood of any poor victim that happens to wander into their belligerent turf by judging, criticizing & condemning according to their own standard of righteousness).
These are strong words, and speak directly to the heart of the issue. Each of us holds the power of either life or death in our tongue. We can heal and restore, or we can tear down and criticize; we can mend and empathize with compassion, or we can scrutinize, judge and condemn. The choice is in our hands, in our hearts, and in our minds to do what is right.
18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city, and their contentions separate them like the bars of a castle.
18:20 A man's moral self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied whether good or evil.
18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it for death or life. [Matthew 12:37.]
God says don’t make yourself vulnerable to the type of people described as and associated with dogs and pigs. These types of people can never appreciate the beauty of Jesus inside you, and will use your words and vulnerability to rend and destroy you.
The only way to insure you will not become like the ones befitting of God’s holy judgment is to show love, and always err on the side of mercy, because mercy triumphs over judgment… SELAH
2:12 So speak and so act as people should who are to be judged under the law of liberty the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love.
2:13 For to him who has shown no mercy the judgment will be merciless, but mercy full of glad confidence exults victoriously over judgment.