Are you careless in the way you approach others with the gospel message of restoration?
We often see careless words played out this way. A believing woman is married to an unbelieving husband. Over time, their marriage gets dinged and corroded, resulting from two people with totally different hearts being united in matrimony. The believing woman begins to seek counsel from her believing friends and their husbands. That group begins to go carelessly one after another, loosely handling the gospel pearls of wisdom with her unbelieving husband. Not once do they attempt to discern the wisdom appropriate for the level of hard-heartedness in the unbelieving spouse. Going carelessly with a heart of sand often confuses the person we want to bring to Christ and leaves a disconnect with them.
A heart of sand tells carelessly because a sand heart is loose. A heart of sand often pretends to connect with others, while disconnecting with God. A heart of sand requires a storm to be malleable.
Jesus taught that we are not to approach others carelessly with a loose heart of sand: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6). The Master Teacher warned of a kind of pride that is careless and loose with the gospel message, naively scattering it to cynics who would automatically reject what they hear. Jesus painted the image of wild, ravenous dogs and pigs who would not give any consideration to a pearl of wisdom.
This is why Jesus taught in parables. Jesus was careful with his words. He discerned the wisdom appropriate for the level of hardheartedness among his listeners. Jesus pointed out that cynical hearts were already hard, so if He merely presented truth, it would automatically be rejected. However, He knew that if He would share a story, then people would leave thinking about the details of the story, and from that could perhaps discover the truth of the story in an unthreatening fashion. The truth concealed could be the truth revealed by sharing a story. Two thousand years ago, a Rabbi would teach a parable and then explain it more fully to those who would call themselves his disciples.
This week, discern the level of hard heartedness of your audience and carefully place the pearls of restoration in front of them. Rather than merely presenting facts, seek to understand, then wisely lead others to the Restorer.