I originally wrote these as two Daily Toasts (remember those?) quite a while ago. But many members responded to them so I wanted to redraft them into a single Weekly Letter for you guys and for any new members that didn’t see them. Here it is:
You’ve heard the saying of Jesus, “Do not cast your pearls before swine.”
The basic meaning of that is don’t share yourself… your truth… your life… anything of yourself that is of value to you, important to you… with those who won’t appreciate it.
They’ll trample it underfoot. Not necessarily out of anger. Pigs just trample pearls underfoot because pearls mean nothing to them.
You have the right to not share what is valuable about yourself with others who won’t get it, won’t understand it, won’t appreciate it. You do not need to give yourself away to those for whom it means nothing. You don’t have to reveal all of the real you, the true you, to people who won’t care, or will care but in the wrong way, or who will hurt you for it. Not even superheroes do that!
Jesus was an expert at this. It infuriated the religious leaders because they always wanted to trap him. That was the main motivation of their questions. Not curiosity or a desire to know.
Now, I cast my pearls out into the world every day. Some people are sweet and some are swine. But that’s how I roll. However, when it comes to more immediate relationships, I apply this principle:
When you train your mind, heart and ear to discern, you can tell when someone’s asking you out of a malicious desire to catch you OR out of a sincere desire to know.
- Withhold your pearls from the first. No explanation needed. That’s just another pearl that means nothing to them.
- Give your pearls to the second. They will appreciate their value and treasure them as gifts.
One of our members, Starfielder, asked: How can we tell the difference between a swine and a sweetie? Good question! Sometimes we don’t know until it’s too late. So I have no test-proven method of telling the difference. In fact, sometimes people can be both and switch from sweetie to swine in a flash! But, when it comes to sharing yourself with others, here are a few pointers to apply to keep yourself from being trodden underfoot.
- Never share publicly online or anywhere! Unless you’re into that game like I am. Just don’t! There are too many swine out there just waiting to trample over anything and everything good. It seems one of my roles in life is to expose myself. Hence “nakedpastor”. But I’m doing it for a reason. And I have built up a pretty good immunity to stomping swine. It still hurts but I’m on a mission. Just don’t do it unless you must, like me.
- Don’t trust swine. This could be family or friends or acquaintances or whomever. If you know someone that you just know would not appreciate your pearls, then don’t fantasize that they will. Face facts! Reach an agreement with reality. If you share your pearl with this someone and they stomp on it, it doesn’t do any good to say, “I was hoping you would care!” No… you were hoping your fantasy of who you wish they were would care. Don’t go there until people prove themselves trustworthy with your pearls.
- Test the trust levels. If people ask about your pearls or you’re feeling like you’d like to share them with someone, start with the least valuable of all your pearls. Don’t start with the most precious. Here’s an example: if you’re gay and wonder if you should come out to a person, you could say something like this: “If a friend came out to me, I wouldn’t judge them but would do everything to help that person feel accepted, appreciated and loved!” Notice their reaction. If it is positive, perhaps they’ve passed the test. Share a pearl. If they react negatively to your feeler, don’t share your truth with them.
- Trust the trustworthy. If someone over the course of time proves trustworthy to you personally, if they are a good listener and don’t judge you, then venture into this territory. Go as far as you feel safe to go. Don’t dive right into the deep end. Wade in. I emphasize “over the course of time” because too many people trust too many people too soon too many times. Suddenly, something goes wrong and all the trust and safeguards are disposed of and your pearls spill out everywhere and end up on the black market. Take your time. Please, for your own sake, take your time. It is wise to treasure your pearls. Which means it is wise to love yourself and take care of your self. Just like you would any other person you love and care for, do the same for you. This isn’t selfish, but compassionate.
With much love from this sweetie,
(Invite some people to TLS you know need it. Thanks!)