Pearls Before Swine

Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.
—Matthew 7:6, NRSV

Forgive us, O Lord, for our sometimes judgmental attitude that causes us to be overly critical of others and for our sometimes hypocrisy that causes us to hold others to a higher standard than that to which we hold ourselves.

Help us, O Lord, to be so filled with integrity and perspective that we can see our own faults clearly and deal with them appropriately. Help us to be so filled with grace and love that when we see a fault in a sister or brother, our desire for their good compels us to act with compassion and grace.

But there are people—and guard us from concluding this too quickly or too reflexively about any individual or group—who are evil, cruel, abusive, or manipulative, and we need discernment to recognize them and not pretend that they are other than they are. Give us such discernment.

If we must reach such a conclusion about someone, O Lord, remind and motivate us to pray for them. Help us to love them—even if we must do so from a great distance.

Amen.

This post originally appeared as the Day 110 entry in Praying with Matthew: 365 Days of Gospel-Shaped Devotions by Michael L. Ruffin.

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