“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 turn and tear you to pieces.”
– Matthew 7:6 New International Version
In this famous quote from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned his followers about wasting time with those who continually refuse to accept the truth of the gospel. Since the “swine” in question are hopelessly blinded by their own greed, selfishness and pride, spending an inordinate amount of time trying to change them is an exercise in futility. Lacking in spiritual discernment, these folks are best left alone to the work of the Holy Spirit.
While timeless in a spiritual sense, this admonition also rings true in other aspects of life. And sometimes the “swine” involved is so cunning and manipulative, he or she figures out quite easily how to effectively entice otherwise intelligent, discerning and talented people into casting more than a few pearls their way — sometimes at a very high cost to their own well-being.
And even after the hard-working, diligent, dedicated, loyal and meticulous pearl-thrower spends the better part of a year helping the swine with his or her lofty goals and ambitions in exchange for promises that never materialize, even after the pearl thrower is forced out of necessity to make a few changes while still working hard for the swine, putting in well over 40 hours a week, the ungrateful swine will not only cut the pearl-thrower off (presumably because he or she has successfully located another eager pearl-thrower), he or she will perpetuate outright lies about them.
What happens when the pearl-thrower — in deference to the many esteemed friends and contacts in his or her network who, on his or her recommendation, also put their reputations at stake for the sake of the swine and his objectives — issues a warning to them about the swine’s nefarious practices and lies?
The pearl-thrower receives a dire warning via email that telling the truth about him or her will not be tolerated!
Further, those to whom the swine refuses to issues refunds for services no longer desired or to properly compensate for referrals given as per the swine’s own written policy also receive hostile — if empty — threats. All because of their loyalty to the original pearl-thrower whom they know to be a person of integrity who nevertheless made a misguided decision to trust a swine. Perhaps out of idealism for the swine’s product, much was overlooked including shoddy execution, lack of capital and shady practices which also involved stretching the truth in order to manipulate the system at the local level.
The pearl-thrower, on a gut instinct, made a phone call to an agency which was also duped by the swine to discover — not really surprisingly — that the swine flat-out lied about the pearl-thrower’s tenure and underlying motive for the pearl-thrower’s relocation falsely claiming the pearl-thrower had accepted a paying position with someone else — and not just anyone, but a very specific, prominent someone whose name up until very recently headlined just about every newscast, blog and talk radio program.
Funny, the swine who claims to have no money to compensate hard-working pearl-throwers or affiliates has no problem issuing idle threats of legal action — the same legal action he or she once claimed was unaffordable just about a month ago when, according to the swine, some individuals had breached a contract involving a significant amount of money. Money that would have allegedly been used to compensate pearl-throwers.
The moral of the story?
Eager pearl-throwers must take heed that some lessons are more expensive than others; therefore in order to avoid casting pearls on swine ever again, due diligence is required. It’s nice to buy into another’s dream but unless that dream has a solid foundation to financially compensate the talented individuals needed to make that dream a successful reality, it’s best to let it go and seek out other opportunities. Even one of the swine’s most ardent admirers — a successful entrepreneur with a large following — understood the value of his own endorsement and refused to promote anything for free. And as soon as the swine was unable to continue paying for services rendered, all promotion came to a grinding halt.
Which is only right. Charity is charity. Business is business. And even the savviest pearl-thrower cannot give away something he or she does not possess, no matter how worthy the charity. Which reminds me of another lesson: know the difference between the two.