Fish in a Barrel

Fish in a Barrel

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. Matthew 7:6

I’ve written previously about my motivation for doing a jail Bible study after I got out of treatment. I wanted church, but church was so shiny, and I felt so flawed. It was comforting for me to go to jail, spending time with other Christians who knew how badly they had failed and how much they needed God’s grace. I found something else in jail too though. I found that if I needed to tell others of what God was doing in my life, there wasn’t anywhere easier to do it than jail, where everyone needs change.

In my medical career, I’ve met many addicts and alcoholics. I’ve not always been in great condition myself to provide the kind of help I should have, but I’ve learned that it’s futile to try and get through to an addict who is adamantly pursuing his addiction. This seems to be the tone of Jesus’ words in today’s passage.

As Christians, we often expend our time and energy debating those who have no interest in God. You’re a sinner and you need change! Jesus though, spent little time pursuing the self-sufficient and he didn’t chase after those who rejected him. Instead, he ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners. Jesus spent his time with those who knew they needed transformation.

Maybe I’m lazy, or maybe I just stumbled on Jesus’ method, but I prefer to spend my time with those who know they need help. Trying to convince an alcoholic to get sober, while he’s in the liquor store, is a tough sell. The same message is much more effective while he’s in jail, after his 5thDUI.

I’ve never argued anyone into the kingdom of heaven. I’m not saying we should simply write certain people off, but Christ warned against offering treasure to those who are incapable of appreciating it. At best, they will continually dismiss the gospel and spurn recovery. At worst, they’ll turn vicious. Those who don’t want to change don’t enjoy being told they need to do so.

So, I’ll continue to go to treatment and jail. I’ll continue to be lazy, taking Christ’s message of freedom and transformation to those who know exactly how badly they need it.


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  1. Mike McCain says:

    Thanks Scott
    Meaningful and powerful perspective for all of us who have “fallen short”. We all have.

    Grace to you

    • Scott says:

      It helps my perspective if I can remember that I need God everyday, just as much as I’ve needed him in my disasters. Thanks Mike!

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