I saw a Facebook post of a dear big sister and friend, generally about cutting off people who bring you down and reduce you to tears- constantly. Someone commented and asked- 'What happens to the biblical injunction that we should love our enemies and do good to them that hate us?' I immediately jumped into the discussion, and I would like to share my thoughts. Jesus tells us not to give what is holy unto the dogs, and not to cast our pearls before swine, so that they will not trample upon our precious pearls, and then turn around to attack us. A real genuine pearl is something of great value- genuine pearls are not readily found, they are very rare and precious. It takes time to culture pearls and get the real one from the oyster. And Jesus said not to cast- throw, or display our precious pearls before swine and dogs.
Just because we treat swine and dogs like human beings does not make them one: A pig (swine) will always be a swine, and a dog, no matter how well you treat it, still has the tendency to attack. Pigs will always roll in the mud because that is just what pigs do. They cannot do otherwise, and they don’t want to. I have a friend who had a dog for years, since the dog was a puppy. The dog one day attacked him and almost mauled him to death. He had to take several stitches from the doctor from the attack. He and the members of his family used to really treat the dog well and considered it as a member of their family, but the nature of the dog erupted at one point, to the shock and surprise of many.
Learn to relate with people as they are, and not who you want them to be: I think we are better positioned to love people realistically when we know and accept them for who they are, and not who we think or imagine them to be. Swine and dogs in this context are people you worry about, give your best and yet they cannot place a value on your love and your effort, because they just can't. I can love a swine or a dog better when I know that they cannot be more than that- a swine or a dog. But if I keep on loving them with the hopes that they will become human, and start having those expectations, it will get to a point where we will both be frustrated because what I am asking for, they just cannot give it, and we will become enemies of each other. The Bible said about Jesus, that when the crowd was celebrating Him, He did not give Himself to them, knowing that they were (fickle) men.
Recognize the boundaries, and respect them: I think we can love our swine and dogs- from afar. In fact many of us would love them better and be of more value to them if they were not in close proximity. Jesus says love your enemies, He did not say you must keep them very close to you as an evidence of your love. If, then, you have no other choice but to keep them close, I believe that God will give you the wisdom and the strength to develop healthy mental and emotional boundaries if you ask Him. Jesus also said do not cast your pearls before swine, and do not give what is holy to the dogs. Dogs will trample on your pearls, and the swine will not only trample, but they will attack you. Love them, but don't cast your pearls before them.
So what happens to someone when I have to forgive someone I have cast my pearls to, and had them trampled? Do I keep on loving them? I believe that like physical wounds, emotional wounds will also take time to heal. It is also a process, and God will help in whatever process that is needed to bring people together. Many of us try to reconcile and bring our enemies close by our own effort and outside divine timing. Like wounds, damaged relationships take time and an enabling environment to heal. I have learnt to allow God to put the proper timing in place if we have to come back in close proximity. Joyce Meyer is an example that comes to mind. There was a time she could not stand her Dad for all he did to her, but after sometime, when God knew she was healed and ready, she got them a house close to hers, and took care of her parents till they died. She was able to do because she trusted the timing and process, and she was emotionally strong to handle the situation, not necessarily because the man changed.
As you progress in life, you will discover that no matter what you do or how much, some people will not place a value on what you have to offer- repeatedly. Learn to recognize and accept these kind of people for who they are, and relate with them accordingly. In doing that, you will learn to love them better, and hopefully, one, if not the two of you, will be happier.