Wrestling with Pigs
Wrestling with Pigs
"He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself." (Proverbs 9:7)
It is the nature of Christians to want to help people. Our world is filled with those who are in Satan's grasp and we want to do our best to free them. After all, their soul is at stake.
Sometimes our efforts are successful. Paul talks about "correcting those who are in opposition." This is done in hope that "God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil" (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
Yet sometimes we are wasting our time. After another fruitless encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus told the disciples "Let them alone" (Matthew 15:14). When discussing wicked men, Paul cautioned Timothy "to avoid such men as these" (2 Timothy 3:5). The Thessalonians were commanded "to keep aloof from every so-called brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us" (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Titus was told "reject a factious man after a first and second warning" (Titus 3:10).
In the book of Nehemiah, some enemies of God's people named Sanballat and Geshem wanted Nehemiah to come meet with them (it was not a sincere request). Nehemiah responded "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3).
This does not mean we do not make an effort to save everyone, but we do have to have the wisdom to determine whether or not our efforts are being wasted. We do not want to be guilty of giving up too quickly, but we do not want to be guilty of throwing our pearls before swine, when then are others who are seeking. There are times when we have to redirect our efforts, until a more opportune time, and other times we have to wash our hands and move on completely. There are too many biblical examples of disciples “shaking off the dust” and moving on for us to invest everything in a hopeless cause to the neglect of others. In Proverbs 9 wisdom teaches to stay away from the scoffer and the wicked man.
My mom used to say "Don't wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty and the pig likes it." In light of our new study “IN this world but not OF this world,” it is a balance. We cannot keep wrestling with the same pig (ministry), if we are the only ones getting dirty – remember, the pig is already dirty. We cannot lose our distinction (holiness) to minister to a pig that does not want to be washed.