Been Thinking About Swine

There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about not putting your pearls before swine, because the pearls will get trampled.

I never thought about that verse much, until this last winter when I met a lady who talked to me about keeping secrets.

She talked about how there are some things in life that are so sacred and special, and dear to our hearts, that we need to learn to keep them close. If we recklessly share those precious things with everyone, there will be people who don’t understand, and will end up trampling our “pearls”. She felt that the swine verse was teaching us to be discerning in what we share with others.

And I think she’s right about the discernment part…but it kind of seems like that verse is referring to using discernment when we share the gospel, and the things of Christ with people who don’t believe in Him.

But still, it’s an interesting point – when you share your deepest thoughts and feelings with other people, how much do you share? How do you protect yourself from getting trampled by all the “swine” out there?!

Using discernment when deciding what is private, and what to share with the masses, is an interesting thought in this day and age, when absolutely everything is considered acceptable material to share on Facebook, Twitter, or blogs.

I am thinking about balance and discernment every time I sit down at my computer to post something on my blog – not because I view any of my readers as swine! I just want to be careful about what I write, and how much I share with the general public. And I realize that everyone has very different standards, and ideas of what is private or public.

I listened with interest to my family talking about this very thing the other day. My dad and brother-in-law are very thankful for the privacy they enjoy in their lives. My sister loves Facebook, but she’s not the type who wants to hear about every time someone bakes muffins. And as for myself, I’m not the hugest fan of Facebook that’s out there. (Gasp!) I use it in limited amounts, but I always feel like I’m eavesdropping when I read stuff on Facebook. I know that everyone is fine with me reading what they’ve written in a public place, but it kind of reminds me of those conversations where you say everything REALLY loudly so that the people beside you can hear what you’re saying – it can be kind of like indirect communication.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to say that Facebook is bad. There are great things about it, and many different ways to use it. I just feel happier when I use it in small amounts, and I happen to enjoy having a blog a lot more.

But blogs can be really public, too. I’m not telling you every time I bake muffins, and I’m not posting all of my conversations with my friends, but I’m sharing a lot of details of my life and thoughts, and I’m posting a lot of pictures of my family.

Some people would not be okay with that. Some people would think that’s a lot more public than Facebook.

I think it all comes down to personal preference, balance, and an appropriate time for things.

There are times when things are just not meant to be shared. I’ve had moments between me and God that were like pearls, and trying to put those experiences into words would take away from the wonder, mystery and intimacy of those moments. Times like those are sometimes just meant to change you and cause you to grow, but don’t need to be shared with the world, even if the people around you would appreciate them for the pearls that they are.

But there are times when it is good and right to share stuff. God often works in the hidden places of our lives, and when we are willing to open up and become vulnerable to other people, it can be a blessing and an encouragement to others. If we are too closed and private, we can miss out on a deep and real connection with other people. We need to be able to trust others with some of the good stuff that’s buried a bit deeper.

I know that can be really hard for some people. Personally, not so much! I tend to be on the side of way too much information. And there are times when my pearls have gotten trampled. And then I’ve needed to forgive those who trampled, and learn some discernment for next time!

There’s a time for everything, right? A time to share about baking muffins, and a time to share about something a little deeper.

A time to speak, and a time to be quiet.

A time to enjoy personal moments privately, and a time to be a little more vulnerable to others.

A time to hold pearls close to treasure them, and a time to stop assuming that all people will trample them like swine….Or something like that!