Have you ever told someone about your faith and you get a rejection? It’s a tough call. Should I be a pest and keep telling them about the faith? Matthew 7.6 has the answer … not!
Matthew 7.6 has often been quoted to discuss evangelism. Some would say, “If they reject, leave them be.” Well, that’s a nice Christian attitude! Others would say, “Keep on doing it because the apostles were relentless in their mission.” Which side is right?
I propose that both sides are misguided. Popular evangelism strategy usually vacillate between the two extremes. Some say, “Let’s just live our lives and never say anything about faith.” Others say, “Let’s always speak because tonight Jesus could come back and you can’t live your lives.” The fact is, truth is almost always something in the middle. If you’re a bad evangelist, no strategy will save you. From my observation, people react stronger to lifestyle and attitude than talk but people do need to know WHAT exactly we believe in order for them to know whether what we believe is what they need. Good evangelism is a combination of good timing, words and deeds. Some lousy witnesses are just jerks! Some even deserve their media notoriety because of their strategies.
The above is a discussion about evangelism. Before you get all up in arms about which side is right, did you know that none of Matthew 7 has anything to do with evangelism. The passage has nothing to do with evangelism simply because Jesus was not giving an evangelism 101 class (should we even have those formulaic classes in church?). There isn’t anything in the passage that talks about evangelism. Instead, the passage talks about judging and not judging. Applying a text to topics Jesus was not addressing is one sure way to shipwreck one’s faith. Here’s a little interpretive hint for you. The sure way to find the answer is to look to see how the verse relates to the overall theme Jesus was trying to talk about, and in this case, he talked about judging. Stay on topic! Stay with the idea of judging and nothing else, least of all evangelism.
As I always say, the texts are not at fault. The interpreter is!
How then do we know who’s a pig or a dog or is that even helpful? Someone needs to answer that question. One of the keys to understanding the meaning is the connection between between this harsh judgment and the prohibition to judge. IF you find the connection, you’ll most likely not far from the answer. For more information on the better solution to this verse, purchase and read my book here.